And just like that, we're into the second month of the year. Your New Year's fitness momentum has probably started to ebb a bit. I know my motivation has taken a couple of hits this past month. Some mornings it's just too cold to get out of my cozy bed at 5AM for a run. Sometimes I just want a Coke with dinner. And cake. Possibly a few cookies. It's hard out here for an athlete. Ha! See what I did there? The song says "It's hard out here for a pimp..." but I changed it to athlete. See? Funny, right? Never mind... Cold weather, heavy foods, limited daylight--all these things make it a challenge to stay on track during the winter. There are times I do succumb to my bed and/or the television. But here are a few ways I've been able to keep myself from sloth and gluttony multiple days in a row...
- Cute Workout Clothes: Listen...I hate to be that girl, but yeah, the clothes matter. I enjoy my runs so much more when I'm not drowning in sweatpants or sporting a dingy T-shirt decked out in bleach stains and arm pit holes. So go ahead and get yourself a pair of fuchsia running shorts. Maybe a tangerine t-shirt. Spice up your calves with a pair of striped, neon leg warmers. People are gonna be so jealous.
- Workout Buddy: Sometimes having a friend to exercise with is the difference between sleeping-in three days in a row and getting up every morning and banging out a kick-ass workout. Runs with my cousin are harder and faster because she pushes me to do more than I think I can. Runs with my best friend sail by because, between gasping for air, we catch up on our lives. Runs with the beau are longer and sweatier because we're always competing to see who can run the longest and fastest. He wins. For now.
- Compete with yourself: Do more pushups this week than you did last week. Run faster today than you did yesterday. Workout five times next week instead of four. Perhaps get some kind of tracking device for your workouts so you can see where you're starting, how much you're progressing, and how much work you've got to do. Recently, I acquired a pair of Nike+ running shoes and wristband. I can keep a log of my mileage, mile times, and calories burned. It makes keeping a goal much easier. There are several other tracking devices besides Nike. Check out all of them and pick your favorite. Dailymile is a good tracking website if you don't want to buy any equipment. Start challenging yourself.
- Play Games: Sometimes when I run, I pretend that I'm training to be an assassin á la Angelina Jolie in Mr. and Mrs. Smith. I do this with yoga and pilates, too. When I'm in a dance class, I imagine I'm at a house party and being challenged to a dance-off. I never walk away from a dance-off. Swimming? I've made a prison break from Alcatraz and have to swim to shore. Occasionally there are sharks involved. Feel free to adopt any of these scenarios for yourself or just use them as a jumping off point for your own game. Before I move on to the next tip, I'd like us all to remember that I shared this info with you in the spirit of helping out. So return the favor and, after today, let's not ever bring this up again. Deal? Thanks.
- Train For Something Specific: I signed up to compete in a triathlon sprint this August. Some mornings this is the only reason I drag myself into the gym. Sign up for a 5K, 10K, marathon, whatever. Shift your focus from working out just for weight loss to working out for a competition.
- New Music: Listening to the same workout playlist for a month gets old. Get yourself some new tunes. Ke$ha's "Sleazy" is a good one. Also, Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass". Have yourself a dance party. I won't tell anyone.
- Quotes: Who doesn't love a good inspirational quote? Anyone who isn't dead inside, that's who. Look for a few to stick on your mirror so you can read them everyday, especially the days you don't feel like working out. I'll get you started with a few...
- "If you're sick of starting over, you have to stop quitting."
- "To exercise or not to exercise? What a stupid question."
- "I knew what I wanted, and I kept it in my head at all times."
And finally, let me leave you with one more quote on motivation that I think sums it all up nicely:
"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing. That's why we recommend it daily."
January is over; let's make February our bitch! We'll exercise more often, we'll exercise smarter, and we'll have more fun! In the meantime, let me know what keeps you motivated. What gets you out of bed and to the gym on a Chicago winter morning?