How I keep my fitness motivation going

I am not a fitness fanatic by an means though I used to be.  I would get into yearly cycles where I would work out like crazy (6 times/week with 3-4 of those being hard workouts) and then during my off-years I would do zero exercising.  When I was younger I ran a lot (highschool cross-country and track) and then after college I really got into spinning with my running. I dabbled in yoga then too.  But as I got older it was hard to keep running with my bad knees and with last year's skiing accident, I decided to call it quits on running (plus I was having a harder and harder time enjoying running).  So now I do yoga, swimming, and elliptical (my YES regimen, lol) after 2 years of not working out at all.

And here's the thing about consistent exercise, at a certain age you just gotta do it.  It's like flossing.  You have to build a habit of doing it (not to the point where you feel crazy if you don't exercise a day or two but to the point where you know you have to go if you haven't gone in a week or two).  So here are my tips on getting into an exercise habit:

1) Keep track of your workouts

This might be a no-brainer to some but this is key for me.  I have to know when was the last time I exercised and I like knowing my "progress".  So this is basically how I keep track:


I just put the day and in the parenthesis I put the type of workout (yoga, swimming, or elliptical).  I don't put any details like how long or how hard I worked out because I wanted to keep such judgements out of my records.  It was enough that I went.  And every month I'll try to see if I can best my record of number of days of exercise, but I don't get down on myself if it's less than the month before.  I keep track of this in my Google Keep app so it's always handy.

2) Have a set variety of workouts and always include an "ease-back-into-it" workout

Experts say your body gets easily acclimated to just one type of workout so the best workout regimen includes a variety of exercises.  Plus mixing it up keeps you from getting bored.  I also always include an easy enjoyable workout as part of my regimen so that it's easier for me to get back into the swing of things.  My "ease-back-into-it" workout are my elliptical workouts where I let myself read a magazine and listen to music while I workout. I never let myself read magazines while sitting around so in some ways the elliptical workout is my treat time to buy and read mags.

3) Also have a "I paid for this so I have to go" workout

For me that is yoga.  I found a studio really close to work (a 10 min or less drive away) and even though it's not the cheapest, I find that it's worth it 100%.  Some days I don't feel like working out but I signed up for the class and paid for it, so I'm going to show up.  And most of the time once I'm done with the yoga class I feel satisfied and glad I went.

4) Don't beat yourself up if your life gets in the way of your exercise habit

There are some months where I had zero workouts all month (October, when we were on our Airstream road trip).  I don't beat myself up about it.  It is what it is, and I just go back to working out as soon as my schedule permits.  In the end it's not really about how many workouts you've done but the fact that you have a habit of going back to it and you do some sort of exercise for years.  Your body is the only one you have so make sure you take the time and money to invest in it.  

P.S. I loved reading Ashley's post about her effort to squeeze her exercise time done in the mornings and what it takes to make it happen.  Read about it to get some inspiration if you're a tired full-time working adult.