KEY TO KEEP ON TRACK
HABITS REIGN SUPREME, SO FIND WHAT YOU LOVE AND YOU WON’T HAVE TO RELY ON WILLPOWER ALONE TO GET YOU OUT OF BED FOR THAT WORKOUT
The morning alarm sounds, you’re all psyched and ready to tackle your fresh fitness goal. You have the program, the knowledge (to an extent), hot new outfit and nothing is going to stop you. The first few weeks of the “new you” are fine, after this things begin to feel a little monotonous. Perhaps you don’t see results as fast as you would like or sleeping in seems a more attractive proposition. Your willpower has faded ... or completely left the building. The main issue most of us face is hoping we follow through with a fitness regimen by doing what we believe we should be doing. The biggest clincher here is finding and doing something you like/love/can’t get enough of. Your friends may be seeing results with a certain style of exercise, but if it’s something that doesn’t get you at least a little bit excited then it just ain’t going to happen. The key to lasting change and lifelong behaviours is doing something you enjoy enough to want to continue doing it. Willpower is great to get you out of bed when the sun is shining for a lovely walk, but once it hits winter and it’s chilly and dark then our habits and routines reign supreme. This is where a well thought out, individualised, movement-based program that you’ve created (or had input with) shines through. Perhaps you didn’t really gel with the original program. Don’t give up, just go back to the drawing board and ask yourself what activities you enjoy doing, and what potential roadblocks you will face. What makes you feel good? What does exercise mean to you? By allowing space for new beliefs and expectations you are shifting working out to a more immediate reward. From a chore to a gift. I don’t love every aspect of fitness. Well, I lie, there are certain types of workouts I prefer over others that get me excited about making the time. Being the endurance junkie that I am, running a marathon doesn’t rock my boat, but stick me out in the middle of a Hawaiian channel and I would happily paddle the same distance. The same can be said for the gym, but leave me to my own devices at home and I can easily and happily punch out a creative circuit workout. Can you see it’s more about finding a unique angle you love doing? The next step is to not get too caught up in the process of the smaller details. The most important factor of your fitness equation is just creating the habit of making the time and committing to starting the process. The rest will come later. We often overanalyse stuff that doesn’t matter. The number of reps, the gear we are going to wear, the correct techniques (which is important at some stage), but the biggest drawcard for you in embracing fitness as part of your lifestyle is by simply just doing it. Being consistent with making the time and allowing yourself to build momentum. This is what is going to get you through when there is no willpower to draw upon. Perhaps all you can fit in is 25-30 minutes out of your 10-hour day — that is perfectly fine and all you need for an effective workout. Look at it this way: You’re devoting less than 2-3 per cent of your day to exercise, and it might be this 3 per cent that shifts your mindset to a more positive direction for the remainder. If you are pressed for time, it’s best to limit the time you spend travelling. Make it convenient with less decisions. Have you ever reconsidered that workout you did as you watched a beautiful sun rise or set? Hardly, and this is what you should be focusing on rather than the small details that are irrelevant if you don’t even make it out of bed. Look at the positive trade-offs and worry about the rest when you begin. Habit formation is the pot of gold you’re looking for and it begins here.
Champion ironwoman and ocean athlete Karla Gilbert is an accredited Nutrition and Health Coach and certified Level III and IV Fitness Trainer, with certificates in Child Nutrition and Nutrition.