Author: fitwithpaige

Reader Question: How do I get my head motivated?!!?

Dear Paige –   I’ve been reading your articles for years and using your workouts and advice….here’s my question….I pretty much know HOW to exercise….BUT how do you get your head motivated??!  I’ve worked out all my life in some form or fashion, even taught aerobics back in the day, but in the last 3 years, I can’t get it in gear.  I read articles, buy tapes/DVD, have the clothes, think I’m going to do it and I don’t.  My health is beginning to suffer. How do I get over this hurdle and make fitness a part of my life? how do I figure out what I’m afraid of?  I’m open to any and all suggestions, please??  Help, please!

I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about and you might be surprised to know you aren’t alone.

It sounds like you’ve got a little insight into your situation…you’re afraid of something.

I know that, when I avoid something, it’s usually because I’m afraid of failing at it.  Let me give you my take, just with the little info you’ve given me.  You used to workout regularly and, life changed and threw you off your workouts and you’ve been struggling ever since.  Did you ever figure out why you stopped exercise?  Was it just there a lot of stress?  What’s happened in your life that exercise dropped off your priority list?  Maybe you could go back to that and just think about what happened there. Our lives don’t stand still, they just don’t.

Next, I would think about what’s stopping you from exercise NOW.  What are you afraid of?  Are you afraid you’ll fail?  Afraid to face a different body, a different fitness level than what you had before?  There’s a fear in there and I think if you can name it, you can probably overcome it.  Your body is different and you won’t be able to do what you did before – And that’s okay. You just have to work up to it and give yourself permission to be where you are.

Here’s an idea…why not give yourself permission to just TRY something…anything!  Forget complicated workouts or DVDs – maybe those workouts are just too intimidating for you right now.  Maybe you need to start with something simple – something you KNOW you can do.   I’m talking the simplest thing – like one of my really quick core workouts.  What if you said, “This is my workout today and I’m going to do it.”  You don’t even have to change clothes for it!  Once you do it, you can say, “I did it!  I started working out again.”

Really, I think if you can just start somewhere, you’ll find some momentum and that’s a big part of exercise.  You’ve gotten into the habit of not exercising – now you have to get back to it.

fear of failure article image paige worn out

Feel Like an Exercise Failure? Here’s How to Turn it Around

You know you’re supposed to exercise. How do you know? Because you’re constantly reminded. You probably couldn’t throw a rock in any direction without hitting something or someone nagging you about working out. Just think of the magazines alone - every single store you go into has them.

You know what I’m talking about - The magazine with the zero body fat model in a bathing suit with a headline that screams “FLAT ABS IN 3 EASY MOVES.”

Yeah, now pull the other leg.

Read more


My Stress Ate My Workouts!

Have you ever made some decisions in your life that you almost instantly regret?  For example, maybe you just had back surgery a few weeks ago and then you agree to get a new puppy.  A puppy that has to be carried down stairs every time he has to poo (and he has to poo a LOT).  While you’re caring for this puppy, you also have to go back to work and guess what?  Mom’s coming for a visit next week!

All of this leads to one thing:  Stress.  And not just the “Oh, I’m so stressed out, I think I’m going to have to have a glass of wine.”  No, it’s more like, “Hand me the tequila and no one gets hurt.”

I’ve written about stress and exercise and I’ve even put together a list of stress-busting workouts, and that’s all well and good for normal stress.  But for Tequila Stress, it isn’t so simple to say, “Oh, just go for a quick run or something.”  No, Tequila Stress is the kind where you’re happy just to get through the day without murdering someone or scratching out your own eyes.  Tequila Stress is the kind where even the thought of doing a planned, structured workout is utterly laughable.  A workout?  Who has time for that?  And, really, who gives a rusty fart when your life is falling apart around you?

What I’ve figured out about Tequila Stress is that exercise actually becomes a necessity.  The lifeline you need to keep a handle on your sanity as the puppy chews and pees and poos and your mother starts rearranging your kitchen cabinets and your doctor takes away your pain meds because you’re all mended from surgery now, aren’t you?  Exercise is the one thing you must keep doing.  Otherwise, your body will rebel against you.  You will be sleep deprived and exhausted.  You’ll gain weight, even if you’re not eating more food, simply because the body hoards extra abdominal fat when there are too many stress hormones running around in your body for a long period of time.  You’ll feel like utter crap.

So, how do you keep exercising when you’re experiencing Tequila Stress?  My general rule of thumb is this:  Just do anything…any activity for any length of time you can manage.  If that’s 10 pushups and a couple of halfhearted squats, then that’s a workout.  I have some more ideas in my latest article, Too Stressed to Exercise…let me know if you have any other ways to stay moving when you’re stressed.


It’s annoying, but Nike is right – Just do it

How much time do you spend arguing with yourself about whether to exercise?  I ask this because a client came one morning and said, “You know, I wouldn’t get up and workout if I didn’t have to come here for an appointment.  I would just lie in bed and argue with myself…or I argue with my warm, comfy bed and guess who wins?”

Bed vs. early morning workout…hmmm.

Most of us are so overwhelmed with too many tasks that, when faced with a scheduling decision and all that entails – “I could get up and workout but then I would have to get up an hour early and are my workout clothes clean?  Where are my shoes?  What workout will I do and how much time will I need to get ready for work?  And…this is too hard.  Never mind.” – we often just give up and promise ourselves we’ll do it later.

When does later actually happen?  For me?  It’s usually never once I’ve gotten that far in the argument.

What’s interesting about exercise is that you can do it anytime, anywhere without special equipment or a lot of time or a ton of sweat or even a lot of pain.  For example, if you were to stand up and sit down 15 times, that would be an ‘exercise.’  If you were to get up and walk across the room and then march up and down a staircase for 5 minutes, that, too, is ‘exercise.’  We convince ourselves we need an hour, we need sweat, we need pain and, yes, you do need to work hard if you want to change your body. But, sometimes?  It’s just about doing something.

So, if you’ve been putting it off, now’s the time to just do it.  Try one or more of these seated yoga exercises or pick 2-4 moves from this list of body weight exercises and do 15 reps of each of them. Or, just take a walk. Sometimes it really is that simple.

Yes, you should listen to your body…except when it’s a big fat liar

I can’t count how many times I’ve said or heard the phrase, “You should really listen to your body.”  When I say it, I’m usually talking to a personal training client in an attempt to help them avoid an injury.  As in, “If any kind of sharp, terrible pain rips through any part of your body at any time during your workout, that’s a very good sign you should stop what you’re doing.”

Here’s the thing about exercise, though.  It offers a wide variety of comforts and discomforts, ranging from that gleeful and rare runner’s high to the awful pain of pulled muscles, ripped tendons or broken bones.  There are so many shades of gray when it comes to the human body during exercise, that it’s sometimes hard to translate the signals our bodies send us.

Let’s look at exercise in general.  If you’re an experienced exerciser, you know what it feels like when you, say, start a cardio workout.  You know that your heart rate will increase, you’ll get a little breathless and you’ll start sweating.  You may even feel some burning in your legs as your body warms up, but you’re cool with that.  It’s something you’ve experienced before.  But what if it’s been months, years or forever since you’ve gotten your heart rate even close to where it should be when you exercise?  All of those feelings – The increased heart rate, the breathlessness, the burning in your legs and lungs may be accompanied by giant red flags shouting ABORT ABORT ABORT…and call 911!  I think you’re having a heart attack!

There’s a period of time when you first start exercising when everything sort of feels like pain and you may think it’s bad pain because, well, pain is bad, right?  But it may not be the ‘bad’ pain – The sharp, terrible ripping, tearing or breaking that indicates something has come loose in your body and it needs to be put back immediately.  No, this is what we call ‘good’ pain – The normal discomfort you go through when you move your body in a new way.  So, how do you know the difference?

The truth is, if exercise is new to your body, you may not know up from down for a week or two as your body adapts to what you’re doing.  Obviously, if you feel any of the sharp, terrible pain I’ve mentioned, then you know things are bad.  If there’s blood or fluid gushing out of your body, that’s also bad.  If you have an intermittent pain in one of your joints that’s more of a nagging, tugging sort of pain, that’s a little different.  It may just go away as your body gets used to the activity you’re doing and, if it doesn’t, that’s a sign you should probably stop that activity and try something else, eventually making a trip to the doctor’s office if it doesn’t get better.

What about you?  Have you ever misinterpreted your body’s signals and kept going when you should’ve stopped – or stopped when you should’ve kept going?  How easy, or hard, is it to really ‘listen’ to your body?  Leave a comment and share your thoughts.