As we kick off another work week, I wanted to offer a shot of motivation for whatever workout you have planned for today and the days to come. It’s a simple concept: whatever you do, make it count!
I offer this bit of advice because it pains me to see people at the gym banging out push ups or lifting weights with poor form – back arched, head jutted forward, knees locked. While they may feel like they’re giving their bodies a great workout, I only see a picture of what the potential for injury looks like.
I’m a firm believer that it’s better to do 10 reps in good form than bang out 20 in a sloppy fashion. No one should start a fitness routine and say “I’m going to run 5 miles on the treadmill, then tackle 100 push ups and 100 crunches” on day one. You may actually get through all of it – but believe me – you’ll pay later. You’ll most likely be so sore from the extreme activity that you won’t be able to resume your new workout routine for a week – and that means you haven’t made any gains in feeling healthier or stronger.
The bottom line is you need to be safe and realistic. I say this a lot, but it’s worth repeating: Rome wasn’t built in a day, so you shouldn’t expect to see results overnight. Building fitness into your schedule means making it a part of your daily routine, and that’s what leads to a lifetime of health benefits.
Two other things to keep in mind:
- Make it manageable: If the idea of spending an entire hour exercising overwhelms you, scale it back. That doesn’t necessarily mean jumping into a 45-minute “boot-camp” style class probably either. Instead, start with 15 or 20 minutes on a treadmill, elliptical trainer or stationary bike. Make sure to stretch and if you want to add specific exercises, work on your core. Planks and bridges are a great place to start. Trust me, once you start feeling the positive effects from the activity, you’ll want to add more minutes to your workout. Start with 10 reps and remember: make them count! In most cases, that means keep that navel drawn in and those glutes squeezed!
- Don’t compare yourself to others: Until I win the lottery and can hire my own personal trainer to kick my butt five days a week and pay a chef to take the guesswork out of making healthy meals that actually taste good, I remind myself everyday that in my reality, I’m doing the best I can to take care of myself. So, while I may never have legs like Jennifer Anniston, I do have a strong heart, strong spirit and strong desire to fit my workouts into even the most hectic weeks so I can get that rush where I feel like I’m on top of the world – even for just a little while.
So, leave the “sins” of the weekend behind (e.g. one-too-many margaritas or that second slice of chocolate cake) and use this Monday as a fresh start to your fitness routine. Try a new class, make a workout date with a friend and simply seek out new opportunities to have fun, feel fit and be fabulous!