28 February 2023
My Muscle Chef
Contributor - The Chef
Life can often get in the way of exercising. Things get on top of you and it seems like the last thing you want to do. Luckily, we’ve got some easy solutions to give you the motivation to get it done no matter the circumstances.
Motivation isn’t always easy to come by, if we’re honest. Especially when it comes to exercise; something that is famously meant to exhaust you. An activity that makes me tired, sweaty and maybe even in pain later? Sounds super appealing, right?
In the face of adversity, exercise can seem even less appealing. When things are hard, why add another difficult element to the mix?
Little things you do can make what seem like insurmountable odds actually quite minuscule and easily overcome. Taking a second to step back, take a breath and put plans in place will make motivation much more easy to come by than you may think.
Being sick is just about the least motivating feeling in the world. You’re weak, feeling sorry for yourself and likely laid up in bed. Particularly in the COVID-19 era, if you were previously someone who’d soldier on through it, directives are (sensibly) to do quite the opposite these days.
Illness can interrupt your routine, slightly or drastically and it can then be hard to want to come back to the thing you were doing right before you got sick. While your routine often isn’t the cause of your illness, it sometimes feels like it is. But what’s important to remember is this was just a temporary interruption.
Progress gone a bit backwards in your time off? No worries, because you know what got you to that point in the first place, try it again. No longer feeling sick is some of the greatest motivation to get out and be active you can find.
But what if your reason for time away is injury? Returning to activity post-injury can be a lengthy, painful and frustrating process. You may feel worried of re-injuring something, particularly if exercising is how you injured yourself in the first place. Tentative behaviour isn’t exactly going to whip you into a frenzy.
Physiotherapy is a good way to start, as there is a professional there to not only heal you, but motivate you as well. They’ll give you exercises and track your progress but in a slow, educated way to ensure there is no risk of re-injury and in fact, you wind up stronger than before.
But even without the assistance of a physio, there was a key word in there: goals. Set yourself goals. Daily goals, weekly goals, monthly goals, overall goals; these are all worth keeping track of and are sensationally motivating as things to work towards. Try using our guide for setting SMART goals here.
In the extreme heat, sometimes everything can feel like exercise. You’ve heard of bikram yoga, but once the thermometer jumps over 30 degrees Celsius, welcome to bikram life. You’re hot, sweaty, bothered and probably running errands instead of enjoying the tranquil benefits of a yoga class.
As long as you come correct, heat can be negated relatively easily…
Bring cool, damp towels for your neck.
Make sure you slop on the sunscreen (and get full, even coverage!).
This may sound a little saucy, but wear less clothes. If you wear lighter clothes that cover less of your skin, it will allow your body to cool more effectively.
As always, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. The more hydrated you are, the more fluid is being fed around your body, also cooling it down.
Speaking of water, why not exercise near the beach? That way you can jump in the water right after. It will cool you off and is a great reward to work towards while exercising.
If you still don’t feel like getting out in the sun and heat, another solution lies in High Intensity Interval Training. This type of training involves short bursts of different types of exercise performed at full tilt with short breaks in between.
These exercises can include anything from…
Crab walks and any number of similar movements
Sound tough? It can be, but it can also be done indoors, near air conditioning or a fan and out of the sun. Due to the high intensity nature of the exercises as well, it means you’ll be exercising in the heat for much less time. Sorted!
Don’t know where to start? Check out some of our minimalist HIIT workouts to get your heart rate up indoors or outdoors in our Move with MYMC program.
Hats off to parents; it’s a full-time job in and of itself, and one of the hardest ones you could do at that. Whether you’ve got a newborn, kid, teenager or any combination of these, your responsibilities as a parent are virtually endless. If you’re working a job on top of that, how could you find the time or energy to exercise?
That’s where our good friend HIIT comes in again. An exercise regime that can be completed in your home, quickly and efficiently? That’s perfect for anyone needing to keep an eye on a baby while it sleeps, or squeezing in a quick workout while waiting for kids to finish school or sports training or a whole host of other things.
Cesarean birth got you a little tentative to dive head first back into exercise? Why not contact a post-natal exercise trainer? A niche profession, sure, but a necessary one. They’ll create a personal program based on your birth, your recovery process and how you liked to exercise before pregnancy.
Ah, the summer holiday break. That wonderful time of year “Personal Life Us” so sorely needs can make “Work Us” really suffer; with the re-introduction of one routine, we can see the dissipation of another. Work is busy and it tires you out, especially when you’ve just seen the benefit of free time.
Why would you want to go from work to exercising when you could just collapse onto the couch or floor or pool? Don’t collapse into the pool: dive. And then start swimming laps! Swimming is great for stress, tones your muscles, does wonders for your lung capacity and builds endurance. Greater endurance is invaluable when it comes to having the energy stores in supply to help you exercise and willingly so.
Don’t have quick access to a pool or ocean? Try walking. It’s the simplest way to ease your body back into movement and activity. Walk to work, or home from work, or on your break at work. The fresh air will do you wonders, such is the therapeutic value of a lovely stroll. That should gear you up for more intense exercise and have you in the rhythm of moving freely.
Few things inspire less motivation than boredom, doubly so when it comes to exercise. Why would you want to do something difficult that you’re also sick of doing? But, like a vegetable crisper for your routine, it’s good to keep things fresh.
Change is as good as a holiday, so there are plenty of ways you can spice up your routine so you’re always discovering new things and breaking through to new frontiers.
Try new running routes. New surroundings will provide new challenges and also just exciting new scenery.
If HIIT is your thing, there are always plenty of new exercises you can include into this routine. You can also change up the order of exercises and the amount of reps of each one to push yourself to new limits.
The child in us always likes to play with new toys, so why not invest in some new equipment? It could be anything from an exercise ball, weights, treadmills, a rowing machine or any number of different machines you may find in your local gym.
On the topic of toys, investing in a smart watch or tracking app is a great idea. It’ll have so many functions to play with like heart rate monitoring and step counting and is also a way to track progress and set new goals, which is conveniently, another way to keep your routine interesting!
So, you’ve gained weight. It happens and it’s totally OK. But not everyone is always happy with this result. You might not be happy with your appearance and are feeling self conscious, especially in the context of getting out and showing it off in front of people while exercising. Perhaps weight gain is putting a strain on your body and making exercise or just everyday life a lot harder.
The good thing about unwanted weight gain though, is that it gives you an immediate goal to motivate you to work towards! If you feel self conscious, try HIIT workouts at home or go running with a supportive friend. Feeling responsible for them as well as yourself will help to pull you on through and a friendly face there with you never hurts.
Just remember that these things take time.
Track your progress and make necessary changes as they arise, but don’t be discouraged if you don’t drop the weight instantly or progress goes backwards one week.
Positive mantras are a good way to keep yourself on track to pursuing your goals. Write them down and recite them before and after a workout.
A routine can be like a house of cards. Change the structure even slightly and everything can come crumbling down. Readjusting to a new routine can be befuddling and exhausting and fitting exercise into that isn’t always going to be easy, even if you were a regular exerciser before.
Your routine could lose precedence for a number of reasons:
Holidays/time off work
You’ve started shift work
Your uni schedule has changed
If your exercise routine fell by the wayside as you sat by the poolside, it might not be so easy to return to when you come back and are daydreaming on hedonistic holidays gone past. Lots of things can play havoc with your free time each day and ability to fit exercise in.
This might seem obvious, but try planning and time management. Sit down at the start or end of each week and plan the week ahead. Fit in everything you need to get done as appropriate, including weekly or daily exercise. If you’re determined to stay fit and healthy, what better motivation to exercise than knowing if it’s not done then, it’s not done at all?
Exercise provides you with plenty of good endorphins and de-stresses you, meaning busy weeks won’t seem so daunting anymore. The prospect of feeling super on top of things with a fit and fighting body and sound mind? Sounds pretty motivating to us.
A Guide to Weights or Cardio for Weight Loss
HOME WORKOUTS: Strength + HIIT (Beginner-Intermediate)
How to Start Your New Year Running Routine