Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Running Running and Running Running

DISCLAIMER: I am by no means an expert when it comes to exercise or fitness. I certainly do not claim to be an authority on anything related to food or health. I am just someone who tries to be active and has spent a good deal of time inside a gym, sweating to the oldies. And over the years, I have learned some tricks of the trade that help me.

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My interest in fitness started, unbeknownst to me, as a kid. My parents signed me up for dance class at the ripe old age of 5 and from that day on, all I wanted to do was dance. I participated in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, pointe, modern...you name it, I loved it. Whenever I heard music playing, I couldn't help but move my body to the rhythm. Often when there was no music playing, I was still grooving to the tunes in my head. Growing up, I also dabbled in soccer, basketball, tennis, swimming, track, lacrosse, and many many more sports. None of them stuck for more than a year or two. I just wanted to dance.

In college, dancing was not as readily available as it once was, especially after I blew out my knee not once, but twice! I knew I needed to be active but didn't know how. A friend of mine in the dorms was obsessed with working out and had the body to prove it. With his encouragement, my love affair with the gym began in my junior year. It took some time to stick, but by the time I entered the workforce, the gym was a part of my daily/weekly routine.

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While at times they are, more often than not, my exercise goals are not related to weight loss. I find that might set a losing battle. What works for me is focusing on having a healthy life style, being heart-healthy, and keeping my mind clear and calm. I am also the kind of person who enjoys my time in the gym and married someone who loves a good workout too.

Usually I do not give workout advice, seeing as I am not a trained professional. However, in honor of Shape-Up Week, here are some tips that work for me, keep me motivated, and more importantly, keep me interested in going to the gym!
  1. It has to be easy. If getting to the gym is difficult or too far away, it will never happen. The more convenient the gym is, the more often I go.
  2. I need to be happy. I am a total gym snob. I need to like the staff, the clientele, and the equipment at a gym before I sign a membership. I am not afraid of gym shopping! In fact, my current gym is the 3rd I have belonged to in the Boston area in the last 5 years, and the 6th I have belonged to in my life. 
  3. Good Tunes. Music is my key to success. It keeps me going, energizes me, and helps me forget about time. Without my ipod, workouts would be much much harder.
  4. Have fun. The gym has to be a place I enjoy. If it feels like work or I dread going, then I can't be successful. I work hard to find activities that I like so that I stick with it!
  5. Switch it up. The only way I can keep up with my fitness routine is with variety. Many mornings Josh and I run, but also, in the afternoons, we take classes or go for a swim. It helps to keep things interesting and to keep our bodies from getting bored. 
  6. Be Creative. Sometimes the gym is not the place I want to be. On those days, I run outside, do a workout video in my house, or take a long walk...anything to stay active.
  7. Stay Active. The gym isn't the only place for a workout. You can exercise anywhere. I try to park as far away from the office as possible, forcing myself to walk up a HUGE flight of stairs. This weekend Josh and I were at a family bat mitzvah. Every chance we had we were dancing up a storm. Not only was it fun, but it was a great workout too!
  8. Have a buddy. Before I met Josh, I was totally opposed to a work out buddy. I thought I could do it all on my own and did not see the benefit of a gym partner. Now, I am hooked. We motivated each other, hold one another accountable, and encourage each other to reach our fitness goals.
  9. Hydrate. Without massive amounts of water, I can't make it through it a workout. I always drink a lot of water before, after, and during every workout. 
  10. Set goals. Goals are what keep me in the gym. They help me work harder and push me to achieve more. Sometimes they are as simple as going up in weight, other times they are long term, like looking my best in my wedding dress. Whatever the goal, I am so competitive that I know I will do everything I can to crush it.
Everyone is different. These are just 10 ways I try to keep myself going at the gym. What tricks do you have to stay motivated while working out?

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