By Evonne Mudzingwa of Eves’s Fitness Studios, a Lesmills Group Fitness Coach in Bodypump, BodyCombat, Bodystep and Studio Cycle, and an ultra marathon runner
1. Change your perspective
Shift your thinking from couch potato mentality to thinking like an athlete. This may sound like a big challenge, but it’s not as big a leap as you think. Don’t use your busyness as an excuse not to exercise. Start thinking about workouts at odd hours as a blessing rather than a sacrifice. Start thinking of exercising for short periods, 15 minutes is better than no exercise at all. Find inspiration in others and looking outward for extra motivation. Take inspiration from everyone you meet, even people who can’t be physically active as this reinforces why you are lucky. You have a choice – committing to a fitness routine begins in your head.
2. Set a goal
Nothing is more motivating than to set a goal and commit. Want to run your first 5K, 10K, or half marathon? Register early and commit to an exercise program that will get you in shape by race day. Set realistic goals that include clear milestones, and as you progress toward your goal, you’ll find a ripple effect occurs and things fall into place in your work, home life, and health. The goal doesn’t even have to be anything major. It can be a mission to fit into that old pair of jeans buried in your closet. Whatever it is, define it, write it down and revisit it daily. Make sure it’s realistic and you can actually adapt your life to meeting the goal, otherwise you’re setting yourself up for failure.
3. Schedule a regular workout time
Some of the most committed exercisers do it every day before the sun comes up or after work. Sit down with your weekly schedule and try to build in an hour each day to be good to your body. The greatest motivation to exercise regularly is the energy boost that it brings after. It’s easy to stay in bed. But if you have to set an alarm and take the extra initiative, then you’ll find you have more energy and can be more efficient throughout the day. If you nonchalantly convince yourself you’ll fit in a workout some time during the day, chances are a something else will come along and take its place. Write your workout on your calendar and rearrange things around this one hour as if it were any other important appointment you have to keep.
4. Fun and variety
By nature, humans need change and variety to stay motivated. We also need to have fun – even while we’re working hard. Do both! Whether it’s a toning and sculpting class that changes choreography every week or a trail run that changes scenery every season, design your exercise routine around a variety of exercise methods. Make sure you include activities you truly enjoy and look forward to doing, and can even make you forget you’re working out – like dancing, swimming, cycling, running, or playing sports with family and friends. Or try a workout DVD to help you shake up your routine.
5. Reach out to others
Sometimes people have trouble asking for help. Yet in order to stick to a fitness program, we need buy-in and encouragement from other people. It’s finding a friend with a shared zest for exercise, and planning scheduled workouts together. It’s easy to hit the snooze button when it’s just you, but much harder to leave a friend waiting. Consider joining a social networking site or online community with fitness trainers and nutrition experts – and support from other people trying to lose weight and maintain healthy eating and exercise routines. People who get this kind of online support are proven to lose up to three times more weight than people going it alone. Lobbying your workplace to offer on-site fitness classes will also support your mission for a healthy lifestyle. Most organizations in Harare have adopted this employee wellness programme.
So in 2018, start thinking of yourself as an athlete, and not a spectator. Set a goal, enlist a friend, mark it on your calendar, and have some fun. You’ll be setting yourself up for a lifetime of better health, more happiness, and more energy for everything else in your life.