Your Fitness Horoscope – What’s Your Sign?
There are many aspects of a successful fitness plan. We often talk about exercises, nutrition, fitness equipment, and even the best places to workout. Perhaps the most important things, however, are your willingness and desire to improve your health and the steps you’re willing to take to get there. There are certain things you should consider, no matter what mental fitness stage you’re in.
I’ve seen the extremes when it comes to fitness enthusiasm. Some people are self-motivated to work out (this is called intrinsic motivation), and some get motivation from another source – possibly a friend, co-worker, family member or trainer (extrinsic motivation). Neither is necessarily bad, but there are things you must take into account, depending on what motivates you. Below are the four mental stages of fitness I’ve seen…which stage describes you?
Mr. Gung-Ho: “I live in the gym…”
There are many people who simply don’t have any problems with motivation. If you fall into this category, you’re likely an intrinsically motivated person who makes time for fitness a priority. You may have been a regular gym-goer for a number of years now, and you likely have a good idea of how to perform just about every exercise. You have a pretty good idea of the value of different types of exercise, but may need help in reaching specific goals like improving muscle in a particular area or getting past a plateau.
The most common mistake I see in this group of individuals is not giving your body enough rest. I’m not just talking about a day or two off in between upper body exercises. You should vary your routine every couple of months and incorporate a few days of rest before hitting your next phased routine. Remember, muscle recovery is an important aspect of making progress. Try taking a break for a week or so. You’ll likely see and feel the benefits…and your body will thank you!
Ms. Seeks Direction: “I’m motivated but where do I start?”
Do you feel as though you have pretty good workout habits but need direction on what forms of fitness are best, which exercises to do, or how to do them? If so, you’re definitely not alone. These very questions prevent many people from working out altogether. Don’t let your questions prevent you from “getting your health on.”
Consider working with a quality trainer (no, it doesn’t have to be me). It’s important that you cash in on your motivation and get over the hurdles of questions. If you’re reading this, I hope you know you can always contact me with any questions you have. After all, the only thing better than having a trainer is having one that will give you free advice, right?
The Procrastinator: “I know I need to go, but I can’t find the time…”
Perhaps the largest obstacle for many of us to overcome is a lack of motivation. You probably know you need to exercise, but you may be somewhat lost in how to start incorporating fitness into your life. I’ve seen this prevent so many people from taking the first step toward a healthier life. Those I know, family and friends, overweight and apparently healthy…it troubles me that I can’t reach out to everyone and help them with this.
What I can do is offer a little perspective. This is a post I wrote a year and a half ago. It rings just as true today as it did then. My motivation to be healthier, live a fuller life, and stay fit is my family. Put simply, I want to be here for them…for as long as I can. Your motivation may be something different, but whatever it is, you must identify it. It could be a personal goal or a superficial one. The important thing is that you take the first step. It may not be easy, but there are people who can and will help you. If you don’t think so, try me.
The Couch Potato: “Gym? Yeah, right…”
Finally, you may know others who don’t even realize the importance of exercise. They may need your help in understanding the benefits of fitness and a healthy life. It’s been said that ignorance is bliss. I’d argue that when it comes to fitness, ignorance is deadly. Let’s all try to help those we love, our friends and co-workers start the journey toward a healthier life.
Trainer T: Wondering which category I fall in?…
My motivation definitely varies depending on my mood, the time of year, how busy I am, my “honey-do” list, and even what’s on TV! It’s normal to go through all of the different phases of motivation from time to time. After all, we’re human, right?
I like working out, the time it gives me to unwind, the reduced amount of stress I feel afterward, and the internal and external effect on my body. But sometimes it’s hard to find time for a workout and I must rely on external motivators to keep me going.
The point is you may find yourself having different levels of motivation at different times. Your goal should be to stay consistent and keep a long-term, bird’s eye view. There may be stumbles along the way, but when you look back on your journey, you’ll see just how far you’ve come.