Yes, it is true - Even I have a hard time getting myself to roll out of bed to go hit the gym on a Monday morning. I work hard, I do a lot of things, I deserve to rest and relax (and also I love bed). Most people who know me know that fitness is very important to me, so I am often asked how I stay motivated.
Motivation does take some thought, so grab a pencil.
1. Step one is putting on active clothing.
Usually if I can muster enough gusto to put on a bunch of bright spandex, I will then be motivated to travel to the gym. Acquire some workout clothes that you like and that are fun for you to wear. It is true that the uniform can make the man (or human if you will).
2. I work out before I know who I am in the morning.
Like I said, my workout is the first thing that I do for the day. I finally fully wake up about half way through the warm up. (Thank heavens I walk and do not drive to the gym).
There are so many things that can come up throughout the day that can make your workout seem less important. (i.e. dinner, happy hour, laundry, running to the store, last minute meeting, children). Plus, when you have your workout done first thing, whatever else you accomplish that day is a bonus.
3. Think of yourself as a skilled participant in your sport.
If you think of yourself as an athlete or a yoga goddess, you will start to treat yourself like you are. Visualizing the person that you want to be is a good start to help with the other habits that come with exercise such as diet, sleep and hydration.
4. It has to be something you actually enjoy.
This can change. I danced ballet for 20 years and did dance team in grad school. Soon I found myself lifting heavier and heavier in the gym between practices, so I naturally started doing crossfit. After a bout of whiplash left me having a difficult time getting out of bed, suddenly snatches didn’t look so fun. I became a hot yoga devotee for the next year and half. Then, I gained enough stability and I am back to PR-ing my lifts. My fitness has changed so much throughout my life and it will always continue to. You never know when I will get an inkling to get back in the pool and swim some laps, or pretend that I love trail running during the fall months. Your fitness can change just as you do.
5. You gain a community.
Fitness can be performed alone, however if you choose to perform fitness with other people, in my experience, the effect multiplies. (This has even held true for my group meditation experiences). I love group classes. I go harder because I know people around me are going hard too. I am held accountable. If you go to a regular class, people will notice when you are not there and may give you some light digging (only because they want you to succeed). Plus, If you weave fitness and being active into your social fabric, it becomes your way of life.
6. Anchor to something larger than this week.
If I am super failing to release my clutches from my nicely blanketed bed, I force myself to take a look at future Krystal. Future Krystal is 80 years old and kickin butt. She is active daily, travels, reads, and goes on plenty of social outings. 80 year old Krystal lives this way because she gets her butt out of bed in the morning.
Your anchor is going to be something that is personal to you. To create a habit, you have to have reasoning that goes beyond your day to day and perhaps even beyond yourself. Many people want to stay in shape so they can be active with their children or grandchildren. Whatever it is, think of something that you value above all else that goes beyond looking good naked (which doesn’t hurt).
7. Success in fitness parallel success in life.
The mental acuity that is necessary to become disciplined to be active regularly and to refine your body movement will drive you in all areas of your life. When you workout when you don’t want to, when you press on through a workout even though your muscles are depleted, when you take a deep breathe and master a new skill - you expand your drive and realm of experience. You will find that you do not let trivial things bug out your day. When it is Friday afternoon and you’d rather leave early after a long week, you will dig a little deeper and push out another idea.
This concept is better articulated by an exert from a book that comes required reading at Harvard and Columbia Business Schools, "Compelling People" by John Neffinger & Matthew Kohut.
“While we cannot rewire our natural responses completely, we can still create change when we need it through brute force of will. Focus on why the task is important and how it connects to your values and your sense of how you want to be in the world. Then resolve to do it, no matter how it feels. Finally, make yourself do what needs to be done, even if that is not at all what comes naturally to you in the situation.”
In other words, practicing strength, even physical strength and regular fitness, bleeds power and confidence into all areas of life. What better excuse for working out is better than that?
Stay iron willed my friends,
Functional fitness has made a huge impression on fitness culture in a seemingly short amount of time. However, unlike Jazzercise, functional fitness looks like it is here to stay. I believe this to be a good thing. Instead of just jumping around to dance music (which is one of my favorite activities), or lifting weights to bulk out our beauty muscles, professionals everywhere are attempting to be more mindful of how movement affects our bodies and our minds. They are looking to movements that we do in everyday life, like lifting an object, getting out of bed, sitting on a chair, climbing over an object, and breaking them down to basic levels so that we can perform them optimally. These movements can even be broken down to movements that we acquire during childhood development and how these movements affect brain development.
But today we are asking..
“ Is the bicep curl is still cool?”.
In grad school, the bicep curl was the go to exercise, second only to the push-up. I would rise early on a Saturday morning to get to the gym and see men and boys getting a quick pump up in before hitting the pool in sunny Atlanta. A beauty exercise. Aside from bodybuilding, does this exercise have a place in functional fitness?
It depends who you ask.
If you are a lifetime athlete that has been training and performing upper body exercise for years on end, there is probably not much use for the bicep curl in your repertoire. However, with the trend of functional fitness and let’s just say it, CrossFit, there are new specimens of athletes. More and more people that may have not played upper body dominant sports are picking up barbells and kipping their way to pull up and muscle up victory. (The same trend is happening in rock climbing). People are valuing their health more and more and are realizing that movement (be it functional or what you have you) is essential if they want to continue doing the things that they love into old age. And we are living longer AND healthier.
Check this ninja out:
As a result more and more people are walking into my clinic with elbow tendonitis, shoulder injuries, neck strains, you name it - from their newly found and beloved sport. The focus here is an increasing amount of elbow tendonitis & elbow muscle strains. Think about it; You take an individual who uses their arms primarily to lift their cell phone and wipe their… face, and you start having them do pull ups, push ups, snatches, deadlifts - those tendons just aren’t ready.
So there is a place for the bicep curl?
The bicep curl can be a low stress, safe environment to wake up and condition the elbow and the muscles and nerves surrounding the elbow to begin to take on new stresses. However, as with anything the site of pain is rarely the problem. If people who begin these new sports aren’t using their elbows with proficiency, chances are that they are not using their shoulders well either. If you cannot execute proper shoulder movement, guess who gets punished - the middle guy - your elbow.
As with any new exercise regimen, perfect and calculated form always win the race. Oh, and finding a coach or clinical athlete that will support you in that approach. It is way worth your time and investment for your new found athletic endeavor.
In the meantime you can sell your tickets to the gun show,
Dr. Drwencke is a sports chiropractor, speaker, & clinical athlete in San Francisco. Her posts reflect some of the day to day interactions and questions from patients and clients. Dr. Drwencke strives to empower people through injury rehab and sports performance to lead healthy, productive lives.