The way I think about exercise has changed so much throughout these past few years. I started working out when I was in high school for the sole purpose of losing weight and toning up. I was quite self-conscious of my body and wanted to become fitter and feel more comfortable in my clothes every day. After high school, I joined a gym and continued with this ‘weight loss’ goal, hence why I pushed myself to my limits and worked out really hard during my uni years.
Then life happened – I was no longer in the bubble of uni life where I had 4 months off each year and working a part-time job. I started working full-time and adjusting to a full-time schedule was exhausting. I tried my best to work out consistently and had moments where I was completely motivated, then moments where my routines just didn’t feel sustainable. Sometimes the more I forced myself, the less I wanted to exercise.
It’s taken me some time, but I certainly incorporate physical activity into my life for more holistic reasons now, rather than simply losing weight, and I’ve finally figured out how to make exercise ‘sustainable’, so I’d like to share these tips with you!
Mindset – exercise is self-love, not a chore
Can’t stress this enough – realise that your body needs physical activity in order for you to be happy and healthy, but try not to view exercise as a chore, instead see it as an act of self-love. Treat it as some much-needed me-time or time with a good friend. Trust me, afterwards, your body and mind will thank you!
Aim for 20 mins, 3 – 4 times a week
20 minutes is that sweet spot – not too long and not too short. Totally achievable! 3 – 4 times a week is also a good balance to allow your body to rest and recover between your work out days.
Schedule exercise in like a non-negotiable meeting
Remember, this is time for you to look after your body and exercise has flow-on effects to your overall health and wellbeing – better sleep, better appetite, clears your mind and improves your mood. In order to operate at your best potential, looking after your body is non-negotiable so set aside that time for yourself!
Pick activities that you enjoy
Be open to exploring different ways of exercising, there are so many options out there! I’ve had so much fun trying out different things including reformer pilates, vinyasa yoga, HIIT classes, boxing, toning exercises, dance and heaps more! The key is to not make it feel like a chore, instead, it should be something that you look forward. I also highly recommend the following YouTube channels for endless free exercise videos:
- POPSUGAR Fitness
- Tone It Up
- Yoga With Adriene
Understand your body and moods
What times of the day do you have more energy? When are you likely to feel motivated? This is like when I schedule in my work tasks – things that require creative/strategic thinking is done in the morning and auto-pilot tasks are done in the afternoon because I am exhausted by then. Understand what time of day suits you best and stick to it!
Make it a habit and don’t overthink it
Consistency is key. Don’t overthink it or else you will give yourself time to talk yourself out of it. Just organise your workout gear and everything you need in advance, and when the time comes, JUST DO IT! I used to dread walking to the gym after work, but just put on my music and went! Once I was at the gym I felt fine! Or in the morning when I take too long to get out of bed, I end up talking myself out of exercising. Don’t think, just do!
I really hope this helps and has given you some motivation to prioritise exercise in your routine – you won’t regret it!