3 Tips to Help You Start Exercising
Do you need motivation? Nowadays, who doesn’t? Thanks to deadlines, soccer games, obligations it’s pretty easy to assume that our will power tank is running on fumes. We’ve all gone through the usual routine: pack a gym bag, organize all your food, train 30 minutes everyday, drink plenty of water, and don’t forget that fish oil. Heck, while you’re at it, make sure you win the Nobel Peace Prize and run for state senate.
I’m often asked by people at seminars that they appreciate all the information, but where do they begin? “How to start exercising” is always checked off as something that people want to learn about; however, I tend to differ from a lot of my colleagues in regards to people and their lack of activity. Sadly, most trainers I know just assume that their clients are lazy and don’t really want to succeed on the training floor. I tend to disagree – I think most people mean really well but they tend to get overwhelmed by the zillion other things we have to do in our daily lives.
With that being said, I thought I’d share with you some of the things I use with clients to help get them started with an exercise program.
- Shrink the Change
In the excellent book Switch, authors Dan and Chip Heath discuss this concept called shrinking the change. The example they use is cleaning a filthy house. Trying to book a day to get the entire house cleaned usually means bumping that date around your calendar because deep down you simply just don’t want to spend all day inside scrubbing and dusting. But by shrinking the change, you could set a timer for 10 minutes and do as much cleaning as possible. When that buzzer goes off, you call it a day. The philosophy behind this is the concept of getting your foot in the door instead of overwhelming yourself.
Try it with exercise. Set a timer for 15 minutes and knock out a full body circuit (chin ups, push ups, drop lunges, squats, etc) and call it a day after 15 minutes. As you get more comfortable and you feel like you’re accomplishing your exercise demons you can add more time. Who knows – you might even dig this exercise thing us trainers are ranting and raving about.
- Less is More
Leo Babauta, author of The Power of Less, gives a great way to trim off the extra fat in your life. Not the fat that you’re thinking of, but all that extra stuff we feel compelled to do. Babauta basically comes clean and tells us like it is: we’re not as busy as we think we are. Okay, maybe we are busy, but busy and productive are two different things. He argues that in any given day, we only have about 3 critical things that we need to do. Saying “no” to excessive social commitments is the first step towards getting a chance to breathe and maybe even start taking care of yourself.
I always have clients fill out a log of how busy they are. Even surgeons, when given the chance to look at their schedule, realize just how much time they waste on social media, the internet, and watching television. Do you need to give up your favorite activities to get in shape? Not necessarily, but giving a definitive no to some people who are clamoring for your time is very eye opening…..and even empowering.
- Find a Pack
In some cases, humans still have instincts similar to animals. We’re not as intelligent as we think we are, and we tend to do what others around us are doing. Hang around people who smoke and drink? You’re more likely to spend time in bars smoking and drinking. Hang out with people who love a good workout and try to stick with whole foods? Then you’ve got a better chance of getting that beach body.
If you don’t believe me, try this experiment: next time you have a discussion with someone, do various things and see if the other person mirrors. Sit down if they’re standing – they’ll probably sit down. We want to stick with the herd, so do your best to hang out with a herd that’s trying to work on self-improvement.
Authors Chip and Dan Heath stated that big movements always come from small changes. Sticking with an exercise program isn’t as difficult as you think as long as you pay attention to the little things.