Fitness: 3 steps to keeping motivated

Update on the quest to lose the mummy tummy: this week was my second session with Susan from Streamline Personal Training. It kind of felt like I had only just recovered from the last one but then time just seems to be flying far too fast! This week we went through a series of circuits targeting key areas such as aerobic fitness, upper body strength and core muscles. At times, I did feel quite disheartened by the amount that I couldn’t do: at one point I was laying flat on my back trying to lift my feet off the floor. My brain kept saying lift but my feet just were NOT budging. I couldn’t do it and it was evident that the core strength wasn’t there. What I needed was to focus on my ‘fitness motivation!’

Aside from Susan encouraging me, I could hear in the back of my head my old cello teacher encouraging me. He always said that you must say that you can’t do it YET. Keeping the knowledge that you absolutely will be able to with practice and perseverance.

With that in mind, I thought that this week I would write about my three steps for keeping motivated:

fitness motivation Hire this guy… or not.

1. The WHY factor.

I think having a reason for doing something is almost more important than how you do it. With a good enough reason, anything is achievable. For example, I’m quite scared of frogs. I don’t mind looking at them but I wouldn’t want to pick one up in a million years. This in part is because my brother used to catch little baby ones and throw them in my direction (or might be something to do win me falling backwards into my Grandmother’s pond!) but also because to me, they just look slimy and gross. If someone offered me £10 to pick one up, or even £100, I still wouldn’t do it. But if something big was at stake, like my children’s safety then I’d be right there wading straight into find as many as possible. In short, why you do something is important. It has to really matter to you. Do you not think?

Many people have New Years resolutions – to lose a bit of weight, to drink less alcohol or eat more vegetables – but they often fizzle out because actually, they don’t care that much.

I have a few reasons why I’m trying to get fit. I want to lose weight and fit back into my pre-pregnancy clothes. I really would like to be able to run beat my Parkrun PB. However are those really powerful enough motivators? Are they the most important thing to me? No.

I was reminded that the whole reason I began to do parkrun with Katie was so set an example to my children. It’s obvious that children learn a huge amount from their parents and will model the behaviours they see. With that in mind, I wanted them to view exercise as normality. Something that there is always time for and is as habitual as brushing your teeth.

Over the years I’ve seen so many diets advertised such as Aitkens or the more recent 5:2, and I think they’re great if they get you to place where you are happy. But would I want my children to follow them? Not really.

I want them to eat real food, in healthy amounts and enjoy being active out in the fresh air. In my mind, the best way I can achieve that is by doing it myself. So when I feel tired and would rather just sit on the couch, I really need to keep in mind my WHY.

2. How

I am quite a goals orientated person and have mentioned before that I enjoy competitive events. I like statistics and to be able to see a measured improvement. When I’m training for a running event, I use the Nike app in which I can compete with friends to run the farthest in a month or see how I’m doing in comparison to previous weeks, months or even years now. However this isn’t so great with where I am at now. I don’t have time to cover a set distance in one go walking and I’m not ready to start running yet. So with that in mind, I bought a Fitbit charge.

This really is a vamped up pedometer that you wear on your wrist which also measures sleep, active minutes, calories burned and stairs climbed. It also has an accompanying app in which you can log water, calories and weight. It then produces pretty graphs than you can view to monitor progress alongside the ability to challenge friends. It also had cute little rewards once you hit various targets for example, ‘Penguin March’ for walking 112 lifetime kilometres.

fitbit motivationI found soon after getting it that I was failing to meet the recommended 10,000 steps a day. I knew in theory that the Fitbit would vibrate to let me know I had managed it but it took at least a week until I managed to reach the target and then didn’t manage it again. The target was just unrealistic. This was easy to deal with because I could change the target to something more achievable like 5000 steps. Once I hit that everyday for a week, I then put it up to 6000.

I am keeping myself going by having clear daily targets but I can also see marked improvement. It may be that it takes a few weeks for me to get to 6000 everyday but I think that’s OK. I can still see measured success and it means that I am consistently working towards my goal.

If anyone is reading and wants to be added on Fitbit, let me know, the more competition the better!

3. Rewards

Obviously the best reward is meeting the initial reason for doing it to begin with – eventually I hope to see my children being active and taking part in regular sport. But clearly, I won’t be able to see this outcome for a number of years so I think it is also good to have other things along the way that are more concrete.

Last week, Bubbablue commented on a Style post that she was planning on buying a whole new wardrobe when she hit her target weight. I thought this was amazing motivator and got me thinking about what I could use to keep me focused.

I have a whole wardrobe I don’t fit into so don’t really need new clothes but I have a few other ideas bubbling round my head – particularly things I could go without until I’ve actually reached a goal! A prime example being not having a coffee from Starbucks until I’ve reached my 6000 steps a day target for a week.

This fits into my overall plan for November in which I’m planning on cutting a few things down with a hope to working out what I really want, but more to come on that tomorrow!

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12 Comments

  1. October 29, 2015 / 8:28 am

    Love this. You are absolutely right, it’s about setting yourself realistic goals, hitting them and then setting new goals. If something is too unachievable straight out, you’ll lose motivation very quickly. I love my fitbit, its made me more aware of how much I do in a day and I love the fact that I hit my steps goal nearly every day. I often march in front of the TV whilst my tea is cooling at the end of the day if I’m almost there. I have a link up called Life Loving Linkie which I’d love you to come along and join in. Posts like this are perfect for it. Good luck with your goals!

    Sally @ Life Loving

    • October 29, 2015 / 8:58 am

      Ha! Love the marching idea. I often walk the baby round to get him to sleep whilst wildly swinging my arm in case the step don’t register as I just pad about! It’s a tricky balance – moving enough to get numbers to go up but no so much that I disturb him!

      I’m still new to linkies and a bit worried I’ll get the rules wrong. But I’ll swing round and have a proper look when I’m home to my laptop. Currently on my iPad at my Mum’s house which isn’t easy when trying to alter the html in my posts!

  2. October 31, 2015 / 2:04 am

    Needing all the help I can get!!! Think I need more than a fitbit…perhaps a lock on the fridge…? Thanks for ideas #TheList

    • October 31, 2015 / 8:38 am

      Ha! The good thing about no spend November (see this weeks design post if that does make sense) is that I don’t have the budget to buy anything beyond main meals. So there isn’t much to eat in the fridge! And at least I’d get steps walking too the fridge 🙂

  3. Ellie @ Hand Me Down Baby
    November 2, 2015 / 9:23 pm

    Good post. I like all those reasons for keeping motivated.
    I find that, once I start making progress that keeps me motivated…but it’s hard getting there!
    I’m just starting my mission to get fit again after baby #2.
    #TheList

    • November 3, 2015 / 8:00 am

      I think it’s at the point progress stalls that it’s difficult. At the moment I seem to still be carrying so much weight, and even though I know I shouldn’t be losing too much anyway it’s tough to keep going and my just eat loads of cake!

  4. nikkifrankhamilton
    November 3, 2015 / 3:59 am

    Laura, this is really cool. I wish that I could do a bit of exercise, but alas that’s not gonna happen. Hopefully I will get back to walking a bit one day. But I love that you are doing this for you and to show your children how to live a healthy lifestyle by showing them what’s important. That is so important! I’m the same as you, I like measurable goals and you’ve really dug into that part and pushed yourself! That really inspires me. Good luck with hitting your goals, keep it up!!!

    • November 3, 2015 / 8:03 am

      My personal trainer is due to arrive in 2 hours and I’m exhausted from a long night with Thomas. Definitely appreciating the encouragement to keep going!

  5. nikkifrankhamilton
    November 3, 2015 / 4:00 am

    BTW, I so love the image you chose for your post! Each time I saw it I giggled a bit! Love it.

    • November 3, 2015 / 8:02 am

      I wondered how many people would recognise Mr Motovator! I remember him from daytime TV as a kid. I’m a little sad I don’t have any of his fitness videos lurking about in the garage.

  6. November 7, 2015 / 6:53 pm

    I love this post I am seriously lacking in exercise motivation. Last summer me and my daughter were regular runner in our local park but somehow we lost the motivation!

    • November 7, 2015 / 7:23 pm

      I know this feeling exactly! I have started and stopped running several times over the years but find it’s something I often go back to. I like to mix it up with different classes – like spin or a bit of body pump – then went I get bored with that I’m back to running!

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