Have you laid out in black and white your purposes for working out recently? Perhaps you have never really considered stating a purpose for your trips to the gym; you just know that it is good for you.
Hypertension, a history of heart disease in your family, general longevity, or simply to look smoldering in that little black dress for the company party– whatever inspires you to workout can be an incredibly powerful motivator when identified and made personal.
I grew up running track and participating on a gymnastics team. As a child, I never lacked energy and, thankfully, I was fortunate enough to have parents who knew how to channel that surplus into positive athletic outlets. My fitness story is not exceptionally riveting, as I have never really taken a hiatus from exercise (minus a few weeks of bed rest with problematic pregnancies). For as long as I can remember, exercise has simply been on the forefront of anything I have pursued. School sports, club sports, neighborhood sports, and noncompetitive sports were a way a life for me, into high school, college and beyond.
Through the years, of course, my workouts have evolved and matured. I outgrew team sports and tried on new fitness fads that hit the scene, from days of step aerobics to pilates, spinning, triathlon, boxing, Cross Fit, and more. My purpose for working out has changed, as well. I am not nearly as obsessed with body image as I once was, and I have a heightened awareness of the greater picture of health as directly related to exercise.
My father died of heart disease without warning when he was only fifty-four years old. His untimely death was shocking, ripped from life in what seemed to be his prime. I never considered that—never imagined—people could actually die of heart disease relatively young. Despite my unwavering love affair with exercise and consistent healthful eating, I was startled into having my cholesterol monitored periodically, as well. Exercise took on a different meaning; it became less about fitting into skinny jeans and more about remaining heart healthy for a lifetime.
Having children altered the definition of exercise for me, too. Now “scarred” with body “imperfections” from incubating two children, I have learned to appreciate how working out strengthens not just my body but my sanity, too. So my abs may never be as flat and tight as they were in my former life before kids, but they’re not bad, and the more core work I do, the better I feel overall (including emotionally) as I take inventory of growing [older] pains. I have more patience for my children when I have visited the gym, and I feel like a more competent mother, as a result.
If you can define a specific purpose for your workouts and make them meaningful, they will become more personal for you. Invest yourself in what truly matters to you about your fitness routine and feel empowered. Write down what motivates you to achieve the next level of your fitness goals, and post them on your fridge. Leave yourself love notes or inspirational words on your running shoes for the many miles you have already run. Revel in a compliment someone paid you about your toned arms. Desire exercise for a greater purpose and that purpose will increase your desire to exercise. We would love to hear from you on what you do to help you stay motivated in your own workouts?