How I Motivate Myself To Exercise

   I was a very active child, climbing on everything and practically living outdoors. However as I grew older I was moving my body less and less. In the past years I sporadically joined some kind of fitness classes but never lasted long. In the summer I was still hoop-dancing and walking a lot (not owning a car does have its benefits), but in the winter I'd have months where I'd be getting almost no movement. I realised how negatively this was impacting my physical and mental health. I was embarrassed to be out of breath after climbing the stairs. After procrastinating for another year, I finally gifted myself a gym membership for my birthday. I also took up Aikido and Yoga. I am already seeing and feeling some results: everything feels firmer and more tones, I have more energy, I am stronger (I can do three push-ups! I could never ever do even one.)
  However sticking to a fitness routine is not always easy. I have heard that after a year it becomes as natural as brushing your teeth, but until then I am using all the tricks I know to stay motivated. It helps me to join classes and a gym, since I am really bad at motivating myself to work out at home (too many distractions). I had argued since a couple of years that it's much cheaper to work out at home, only I wasn't working out at home... However if your home doesn't distract you, there are plenty of amazing workouts on the internet that you can do in your living room, like the ones on Zuzka light or various bodyweight exercises. Anyway, on to my motivating tips, and don't forget to tell me yours!


How I motivate myself to work out:

I read fitness blogs. The ones I like best are written by regular women and not by people working in the fitness industry, since I can relate better to them. I like The Fitness Experiment, the other ones are all in Polish.

I focus on how I feel and what my body can do. It's really amazing to work with heavier weights than I could in the beginning. Also, I can run up the stairs now. My body feels stronger and firmer, and I love that!

After every workout I give myself a mental pat on the back. Taking a moment to reflect on the awesome work I did makes me feel rewarded.

After every workout I put one Euro into a little box. I will use the money to buy myself a fitness-related gift, when I do something that surprises me (like a push-up or when I have finally stretched out my hamstrings).

Friends can be really inspiring. A couple of mine have been very motivating for me. One of them was complimented on her nice figure by a mutual friend, and she responded by saying "thanks, I work out". This was a bit of an eye opener for me, basically she was saying 'I earned it, I didn't get it' and I could have it too if I worked for it. Another inspiration is a friend who is a sport teacher, the grace and ease of his every movement would make anyone want to be fitter. If none of your friends is interested in fitness, chances are you might meet someone like that in the gym or fitness class or even a local fitness-realated Facebook group or something like And of course there are online communities which can work in a similar way! Try the r/fitness and women-oriented r/ xxfitness, or the community of Fitocracy. 
If you like logging your workouts and earning points, you'll love Fitocracy. Or you can keep a log of your workouts in your diary, or simply mark days that you have worked out on the calendar.
I look at inspirational images on the days I work out, on tumblr, facebook or pinterest. Now, I know that fitspiration can often be body-image-negative and bordering on pro-anorexia, so if any of that triggers you, stay away. However I find quotes and pictures that are positive and inspire me. Here are some really good ones, featuring a perfectly fitted Panache Sports bra. Here are a couple more from other sources:



And finally, a reminder of why you should throw out your scale, because fat is lighter and occupies more space than muscle. Don't pay attention to what the weight says, concentrate on visual effects (photos are a great way to do this because you might not see the changes in the mirror). This lady demonstrates why "weight loss" is a meaningless goal:

  What are your ways of motivating yourself, whether to exercise or for other stuff like studying? 

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