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13 Easy Tricks to Stay Motivated to Exercise

I usually write and blog about time management. I’m realizing more and more that my effectiveness is tied to my energy level (I must be getting older), so now I’m thinking more about health and energy issues.

Being healthy and strong gives you the energy you need to get things done. The following are 13 fitness inspiration tips that I use:

1 – Exercise with a friend. For me this serves 4 purposes. I seem to lack time to keep up with my friends; this helps. Break the boredom. You can push me. And above all I will be there if I commit, since I do not want to disappoint anyone.

2 – I keep an online log and set goals for myself. For me, I break my workouts into 2.5K or 5K or 10K equivalents (roughly 12, 24, and 45 minute segments). I also keep track of my weights and number of reps etc. My goal is 2 -2.5K, 3 -5K and one 10K per week and 3 upper body which gives me 1 day off per week (my walks are just a bonus). I make a game out of it. Games are fun.

3 – I am definitely a big believer in cross training or doing different things. EG – I take Karate. Each lesson is an equivalent of 2.5K. I run, work out, cycle, stair treadmill, squash, etc. Mixing it up also eliminates boredom and is healthier. it gives the muscles time to heal.

4 – Sometimes I listen to a CD or MP3 to get rid of boredom (although it may be wrong to think that it is boredom). I often listen to audiobooks and I guess watching TV might work for some too.

5 – Make a bet with someone. This was my son’s idea who uses it successfully.

6 – It’s all about momentum. Once you start, you will move on. It takes 21 days to make a habit. At the same time, it’s one day at a time: don’t beat yourself up if you miss a few days.

7 – I like to work by objectives. I run a few 5, 10, 15K races and the occasional half marathon a year. Last year I went a little overboard and ran 3 marathons. I make it a game to improve my times. Preparing for a 5K or 10K in the future can be a great motivation. Your first goal is to finish on your feet.

8- Develop 4-minute exercise routines. I find that I don’t sweat enough to have to shower after a 4 minute workout. I find that they wake me up and make me more alert. It’s the little things that add up.

9 – Consider personal trainer. I’ve done this a couple of times. At a minimum, the gym you join will help show you the equipment and set up a schedule for you. Having that date and paying good money for it can get you out. Coaches also tend to push themselves harder than you do.

10 – People think I have great discipline. I don’t, I use tricks. I put my clothes in the car the night before, so it’s the path of least resistance to just put on a sweat suit and go out and drive to the Y. Once I’m there, I work out. It is the unsuccessful clothes.

11 – I read continuously, I talk to people, I keep my spirits up. It always helps get me back on track.

12 – Do the smallest things. Park 4 spaces further from the door. Walk around while talking on the phone. Take the stairs 2 or 3 floors (in hotels I ask for a room on the 3rd floor and I always take the stairs – in a 3 day stay it can be 27 floors higher), etc. My office in Toronto is on the seventh floor. Why waste electricity for an elevator ride?

13 – I have a set of hand weights in the bedroom that I use to do a few reps every now and then before bed. I carry exercise bands (kind of like big elastic bands or tubes, available at any fitness store) to use when I travel.

This is your most important goal. Health trumps money any day. (IE – no health, who cares what you’re worth)

I often say that exercising doesn’t require extra time. If I exercise for 30 minutes, I am 15 minutes more productive and can easily sleep 15 minutes less. Just do it (and please don’t sue me Nike)

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