Smutty Fitness: Staying focused and motivated
I receive a lot of emails from readers expressing their battles with staying motivated in their workouts and asking me how they can spice things up and prevent themselves from becoming bored with their exercise routine.
I just went through a period in December where I had lost complete focus, which is so unlike me as I have had a weekly exercise plan for the past 15 years. Thankfully I have reconnected with my love for exercise and I am back to my old self but I wanted to offer you advice if you are feeling like you have lost your exercise mojo.
The number one thing you need to do is listen to your body and figure out why you are feeling this way. For me it could have had a lot to do with the fact that for my entire life I have put immense pressure on myself to be the best. To be the fastest runner, the best volleyball player, the quickest triathlete and the strongest cyclist. I was tired and my body needed a break but feeling this way could be a result of many different things. You could be suffering from medical conditions like anemia, anxiety or depression. Maybe you are experiencing a higher level of stress in your life than normal or you are dehydrated or weary from overtraining. There are many reasons for why you may not feel like exercising and if you find yourself unusually unmotivated, take it seriously and go see your doctor.
But if you are just bored, which happens all too frequently, it is time to make some changes!
First, you need to set a short goal that will be easy for you to accomplish and by short I mean something that can be done in a week or two. Setting yourself up for success can help you feel accomplished, rewarded and ready to strive for something greater.
Challenge someone close to you to a mini competition. This will give you the little push you need as well as the support you require to stay focused.
Learn a new activity. I competed in triathlons, running and road cycling for 15 years and I was ready for something new, which lead me to purchasing a mountain bike. I have met the most amazing people because of this, I have handfuls of new training partners and I now have the ability to explore some of the most beautiful parts of the world. It does not have to be as extreme as this for you but commit to trying something different. Go to a new exercise class, train for a new event, work out with a new trainer, run a different route or hike a different mountain. Each season offers plenty of new activities to try, so research beginner classes in your neighbourhood and challenge yourself to something new.
Pick a destination adventure and make a vacation out of it. Getaways do not always have to be about lying on a beach. Picking something like a bike or walking tour will force you to get your butt into shape and the trip will give you a sense of accomplishment you have never experienced. Last year I chose to ride my mountain bike in Scotland and not only did I get to see an amazing part of the world but I had no choice but to learn how to ride my bike so when it came time for the trip I was confident I could ride anything.
The last piece of advice, and the most important piece, is you MUST have some form of activity in your life that you love to do. Exercise is hard work and if you push yourself every single day you are going to burn out. You need something that you look forward to doing and even though it is exercise it does not feel that way. Perhaps it is the morning dog walk, or your Saturday morning hike with your friends. Maybe it is skiing, or snowshoeing, or playing tennis or squash. Maybe it is a weekly dance class (Lainey: Sasha and I do hip-hop dancing!) or your evening yoga class after your long day, but whatever it is you need to love it.
Keep looking for new challenges and new activities to keep yourself motivated but also listen to what your body is telling you.
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Attached – Olivia Wilde after pilates.