Many people neglect to emphasize their motivation behind a goal, specifically when it comes to exercise and wellness.End results are important but what the means to those ends symbolize offers much more insight into our true motivations and what drives us as individuals.
Goals are important but if you don’t pay attention to the real motives behind accomplishing them, you may find your motivation and consistency to fall short. While setting your goals try not to just think of the extrinsic rewards, but look inwards and evaluate your feelings attached to them. The best way to cross the finish line is to set goals that are SMART.
Even if we do set SMART goals staying motivated to exercise can be a struggle no matter where we are in our fitness journey. Some days, I’ll admit it, it would be much easier to roll right over and hit the snooze button on the alarm in the morning or to curl up on the sofa with a good movie. While these are all things to be done in moderation… here are some pointers on how to stay motivated, even on the toughest days.
1. Set a goal in mind: This could be a weight loss goal or a fitness goal. Aim high and get it in writing so you can remind yourself on those difficult days of the promise you made to yourself. Post your goal above your bed or somewhere you will see it when you need it most.
2. Lay out you workout clothes the night before: This might seem unnecessary but can serve as a good visual prompt to get you in the right mind set and out the door. Plus planning ahead always saves time!
3. Workout Buddy: Find someone who ALREADY has the same goals or interests as you to be your workout buddy. This way your good habits rub off on one-another. Make a pact to stick to a workout routine even if your workout buddy is unavailable.
4. Believe in yourself and the bigger picture: Self-motivation is important! If you look in the mirror and think “impossible”, or that you will never reach that fitness goal, you most likely won’t. Impossible is nothing. Baby steps and a positive frame of thought can do wonders.
5. Get Involved: If you aren’t a health nut the easiest way to stay motivated is to become part of a group or to sign up and commit to something. Tell your family your goals or sign up for a local race. Though training can be at times tedious and tiresome, that feeling of accomplishment when you cross the finish line makes it all worth it. Races and group exercise offer excitement, variety, push you to work harder than you might alone and offer a sense of community cohesion all centered on the camaraderie of wellness.
See the change you want to make in yourself and go after it… What do you have to lose?
By Leah Hantman
With the rise of the media, social standards and expectations dominant in America today it is quite apparent that beauty is not in the eye of the beholder but in the hands of the collective culture that we live in. Admittedly 8 out of 10 women are unhappy with their appearance but only 5% of women in the U.S will achieve the media’s ideal standard of being “thin”.
The media images of glamorized emaciation, sex appeal, and objectification smother the magazines, the billboards, the TV, the products we buy. They send the message that we need to look like these perfect, photo-shopped, airbrushed celebrities and models.
Over the years there has been a shift in the fitness industry. Strong is the new skinny! Women are no longer expected to be cardio queens and stick thin. Along with body building, the new awareness of women and sport, and new fitness trends the idea of being strong, fit, healthy, and lean is rapidly growing. Not only is this notion of being fit growing socially, but the research also demonstrates why building muscle and being strong is better.
Instead of this ideal state of skinny, provoking 11 million people in the US to have anorexia, building strength and independence is slowly but surely becoming a symbol of beauty and femininity. As a health and gym enthusiast I have noticed a trend in the males hitting the weights while the females stick to the cardio machines. I’ve even witnessed some girls spending hours on the elliptical, treadmill or bike in last-ditch efforts to burn calories and lose weight. Cardiovascular activity can certainly be useful in calorie burning, but does not result in a metabolic boost, nor does it build muscle or tone. In fact this excessive cardio training will overtime slow metabolism and even decrease lean muscle mass making us more susceptible to storing fat.
The calories burned during cardiovascular exercise are absolute. This means that once you stop there is relatively little after-burn. On the other hand, weight training has proven to be the best way to increase the amount of calories burned post-exercise. The metabolic effect earned through a single intense weight-training session has the potential to keep an individual burning fat and calories for up to 24 hours post-exercise! Following a weight-training workout, your body uses calories and fat to replace fuel stores lost during exercise.
Women who build muscle, stamina and strength not only build a curvy lean frame but also guard their own identity, safety and most importantly health. Furthermore, muscle tissue burns calories at rest because they are maintained by relying on calories as fuel. With a significant amount of muscle tissue, a woman’s metabolism can be significantly increased and therefore burn more fat and calories for fuel.
Most importantly, weight lifting prevents loss of bone mineral density. The act of lifting a weight forces the muscles to contract and pull on bones. It is this stress on the bones that actually activates new bone growth. Study after study shows weight-training’s ability to prevent bone loss and prevent osteoporosis llustratng that lean muscle mass is invaluable for women of all ages. Not only is it metabolically efficient, but it is a preventative means against disease, it builds bone and it looks good too! Weight training, along with sound moderate and wholesome nutrition set’s you up for a strong healthy self, inside and out.