I am not by nature, a person who loves to exercise. I enjoy doing active things, like hiking, playing sports and my occasional yoga class…. but getting several workouts in during a week is a challenge. I have a high-stress job, and when I’m tired (which I am 90% of the time), I’d rather just be on my couch with some ice cream. So what is it that motivates me? I’m very competitive. If I sign up for a race, I’ll get to the point where I can run it. This method has somehow gotten me to the point where I can at least run a 5K without a ton of effort. I do enjoy yoga. I currently take a hot Vinyasa class in my neighborhood, and they don’t mess around. And while yoga is a lifelong practice, it makes me want to work harder every time I go. These small things, combined with one small gadget is a big reason I’ve been successful.
Cue my fitness tracker. I know many people who use a fitbit… At the moment I’m using Jawbone’s UP24. I love this thing. It hones in on my competitive nature…. and exploits my love of food.
I filled out a bit of information about me on the iPhone app, and it created a plan. If i didn’t move a muscle all day… i could eat roughly 1,200 calories. (using my current plan. It will vary for everyone) But, every single step I take throughout the day counts. Your goal is 10,000 steps. I don’t reach it every day, but even if I walk 1,000 steps, it counts extra calories for the day. If I have a really intense yoga class, it could add hundreds of calories a day. It’s showing me a direct link between burning/consuming calories. And yes… I know this is common sense. Of course the more you exercise, the more calories you burn. This is Health 101. But seeing it visually made a big difference for me. I work in television, visual mediums work a lot better for me.
The tracker also appeals to my competitive nature through it’s “Today I Will” goals. “Try to get to bed at x time,” “take 1,000 extra steps today,” “you’ll beat your monthly average if you take a 9 minute walk.” All of these things, little motivations, and feeling like I’m exceeding someone’s expectations of me, (I realize its a little computer… but still) keep me going. And no, not every day is a win. Some days I go all out and watch movies and eat Ben & Jerry’s until I can’t move anymore. But every day feels like a new day.
This may not be the method that works for you. I’m not telling anyone to go out and buy anything. This is what’s kept me on track. But I have several friends that use Weight Watchers, or just count calories. Some people naturally like to exercise more, and they don’t need the same motivation. Hot sauce gives me endorphins… I’m just waiting for running to do the same.
Everyone always says it… but it took a long time for me to listen. Just go out and find something you like to do. Maybe it’s just walking to lunch with a friend instead of driving (if you can), or trying a new sport or activity. I really like hiking, and I’m going to try and do it more this summer. (If you’re in the Philadelphia area and want to go hiking let me know! I’m looking for people to go with haha.)
Just keep going. I’m not a fitness expert. I’m not a nutrition coach. I am a normal person who loves food too much and struggles with exercise. So I know, everyone can find something that works… even if it’s something small.