Exercise is enormously good for you, and science is still discovering new benefits for both the body and mind. Even so, that doesn't mean you'll always get excited about it. Below, Buffalo, NY fitness authority Christopher Lee outlines some tips to get pumped about your next workout—and all the ones to follow.
Learn to change how you see yourself
If you haven't tried this technique yet, you may be surprised to learn that it works quite well. If you start to think of yourself as an athlete, you will find that, more and more, you feel like an athlete. Athletes work out, so doing so will come naturally and be something you look forward to in the days ahead.
Choosing your self-image can be a powerful tool in many areas of your life. Imagine the characteristics, i.e., healthy, active, self-assured, competent, that you wish to adopt. Purposefully work them into how you see and talk about yourself. Soon you will find them to be more real than you first imagined.
Create incremental goals
When we achieve something we set out to do—a task, finish a book, or reach an exercise goal—our brain releases dopamine. This substance is often known as the "feel-good" neurotransmitter because it makes us feel great.
Use dopamine to your advantage. Set small achievable goals that lead to your larger, say, run your first marathon type goals. As you realize small successes, your body will reward itself with dopamine. You'll feel fantastic about what you have accomplished and want to keep pushing for that next goal.
Make exercise a regular part of your routine
Even with the most useful life hacks and tips for making exercise fun, there will be days when you just don't want to put in the effort. If you have to decide whether you will or won't exercise each day, you may choose not to more than you should. Make it a given, not a choice.
Once you have committed to a regular workout schedule, don't let yourself see it as a choice anymore. The choice has been made, now is the time to execute, not reevaluate, the plan. After it becomes a habit, it will feel wrong to miss a workout. You'll notice the sluggishness of body and mind when you do and want to avoid those feelings.
Find or focus on the social aspects
For the most part, we are social creatures. We crave a certain level of human interaction. It keeps life interesting. Largely, exercise is a solo sport, but you can do things to focus on the social aspects of working out.
If you love to run, run with a group. That's an easy fix. If strength training is more your thing, take a buddy to the gym with you. You will keep each other motivated on those down days, and the trips back and forth will provide some social interaction. If you work out at home, try joining an online group to share your goals and achievements.
Rewards can be a great motivator. In addition to the dopamine you receive by achieving your exercise goals, add other rewards for yourself. Maybe dinner at a nice restaurant will help you stretch enough to reach that next goal, or perhaps it is a day off for good behavior that will do it for you.
Don't beat yourself up or be a mean overlord to yourself. It is one thing to push yourself to stick with your routine, but don't overdo it. Sometimes your body is trying to tell you what it needs. Learn to listen to your body. If it needs a day off, give it one. Be kind to yourself; you will enjoy working out more if you know you can be flexible if required.
About Christopher Lee
Christopher Lee, a Buffalo, New York native, is a certified fitness trainer and coach. Mr. Lee helps clients build and sculpt muscle to help improve their overall fitness and physique. He supports his clients as they revitalize their health and fitness routines, increase their metabolism, and increase strength.