Since I’m an elite athlete, you might think I fly out of bed each morning, and with my first breath look to the heavens and give thanks for working out.
Well, that would be like saying I enjoy folding laundry and hanging out at the DMV. You can fall in love with chocolate, a human, or even a glorious location– but falling in love with fitness isn’t so simple.
Thing is, it is easy to fall deeply in love with how fitness makes you feel, and the positive effects it can have on your life. Over the past several years, I have fallen passionately in love with the way movement has improved my life. At first, exercise was simply a tool to help me play better volleyball.
But now, it’s a way for me to have more energy to win at everything else. Here’s how I learned to love fitness, and ways you can make it work for you, too:
Get Up and Go
One of the best ways to jumpstart your fitness life (you can fall in love with it later; think of it as an arranged marriage and “Mama knows best,” for now) is to exercise first thing in the morning, right when you wake up.
I have a friend who doesn’t even check his phone until after he has trained. hones can be a huge time-suck and, believe me, 99.9% of the stuff on them can wait. If you get caught up with work or family obligations, the first thing to take the hit will be your training time. Get it done early.
Tap Your Network
People typically have a 75% greater chance of meeting their fitness and health goals when held accountable for them– and one of the best ways to stay accountable? Create a fitness community to help stay on track.
A Fitness Community is especially useful, because you can add friends, share your goals and data, and motivate each other to keep going. You can also tap into a larger community through your Facebook friends and contacts.
Make a Habit
Creating and changing habits can take days, weeks, or even months. Whatever you do, DO N’T GIVE UP! Set a weekly exercise goal and try to stay on a regular movement regimen for at least 30 days. If you miss a day, don’t sweat it– simply get after it the next morning.
Lean on your tracker here, too: It will objectively show your improvement, which is especially helpful during the first few weeks of any fitness plan, when you might feel tired and not see or feel any earth-shaking results. Those will come. Trust me.
Rest and Recover
You will perform better– and be better able to love your workouts– if you give your muscles a chance to rest. Recovery can mean a day off from the gym or an easy walk the day after a tough strength session. One thing it always means is sleep– that’s when the body releases HGH, or Human Growth Hormone, which helps your muscles repair.
I struggle with sleeping soundly, so I rely on my Fitbit tracker to track my personal sleep trends. I can either give myself a mini pat on the back, or see why I’m dragging through my week. I can then match how I sleep to my activities, so I can figure out how to get better Z’s.
It might sound superficial, but the right clothing and gear can do wonders when it comes to motivation. I use new kicks or cute tights to perk me up, or at least make me “look good to feel good.” Colors can reflect your mood and when they’re bright or cheerful, also help create a good one. There are some days when you need do whatever it takes.
Pick Your Favorites
Part of falling in love with anything is to experience some level of enjoyment– and at least you need to like whatever you’re doing. Some people can’t stomach exercising in a gym for example, so their best bet might be running or cycling outside, or a boot camp.
Other folks love yoga. While it’s important to incorporate strength training and cardio in a fitness routine, it’s also key to do what you love. Why torture yourself with an activity you hate? It’s not realistic for everyday living.
It would be like coming home to your husband and having him immediately run into the other room on a daily basis. It just wouldn’t work for ‘love.’.