Two post day!
First, a hooray moment – I’ve made it to 90 minutes of cardio (20 eliptical, 50 treadmill, 20 eliptical). I started at 60, worked up to 75, and now 90. And the runner’s high kicked in very nicely today.
Second, just a quick stat in case anyone is interested. I’m doing a 5K (~3.1 miles) in 44.04 doing the intervals (walk, 2 min run, walk, 2 min hills).
Okay, so now for the real topic, triggers and motivation. I thought a lot about this while on the treadmill today. When folks normally talk about triggers, usually it’s food related and a negative thing (sugar, caffeine, etc.). But triggers for me, or at least how I’ve started thinking about them, are things that trigger me to feel better – about myself, about exercising, about life in general. Today I was triggered by my runner’s high and completing 90 minutes of cardio. I felt fantastic and ended up happy, even though earlier in the day had been crummy. The Legally Blonde quote came to mind (slightly modified: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot [people], they just don’t.” Heehee. YAY for endorphins! So what triggers you?
And even if you give in to a negative trigger, so what? It’s not the end, just a road bump. Like today, I had a really crummy morning – 2 job rejections, to add to the growing list of rejections. To make myself feel better, I went to my fave Italian restaurant for lunch and had a calzone with sausage and a large mountain dew. Later, I started feeling guilty. But I stopped. I did nothing wrong to feel guilty for. Should I have choosen a salad over a calzon? Probably. But I thoroughly enjoyed the calzone. It was one meal on one day when the rest of the week I have eaten very healthy. So, what’s the big deal? NADA. So my advice is allow yourself to give in once in a while. It made me feel better, I’m less likely to binge later on (if I keep denying myself), and it was a one meal deal. So enjoy your calzone or whatever floats your boat (yum, floats).
I also use music as a trigger. My playlist is all music that typically makes me smile or start tapping my foot. So between that and the BPM are the main reasons I picked those songs. Think Pavlov’s bell – use the same songs over and over again for your cardio routine. Sooner or later, when you hear those songs outside the gym, you’ll instantly want to start moving.
As far as motivation, the sky’s the limit. Anything can be a motivation, as demonstrated by the 10001 books on motivation, dieting, working-out, etc. I think the key is to figure out what motivates you and then tap into when are you motivated. Many people view working out as a chore. It takes time out of your day, time that you could be doing something else. When I had my very first session, I had to rate on a scale of 1 (not) to 10 (very) how motivated I was. If you’re not motivated, you won’t do it. It’s just that simple. For some reason, this time around I was motivated. And for me, working out with a trainer helps that – I have a specific appointment 2x a week that I’m paying for, so I’m super motivated to show up. Then I’m not only showing up, I’m putting 110% effort into that work-out because I like getting my money’s worth. For some folks, weighing on the scale every day or every other day is motivation. For me, weighing does the exact opposite – I see the scale and it doesn’t tell me what I want, so I say forgedaboudit and then go back to bad habits. But when I’m working, I can see the changes even if the scale isn’t currently reflecting it. Then I love to strength train, so that helps my motivation. But if you don’t, then maybe look into other options.
So find out what motivates you and tap into it. Then get some good tunes and get off the couch and join me at Disney World January 2011 for the marathon weekend!