How I Stay Motivated to Exercise

On this blog I talk a lot about fashion trends and what is in style and what isn’t, but one thing that is always guaranteed to be in style is being fit and healthy.

Unfortunately that’s easier said than done! It took me a long time to get to the place where I have a regular exercise routine that I stick to. I was never athletic when I was growing up. I was a bookworm with a penchant for soda and salty snacks. I was thin because of the metabolism I inherited from my parents, not because I was eating healthy or exercising with any regularity. In other words, if I can get in shape and stay in shape, anyone can.

Of course those poor eating habits caught up with me. I went away to college and started packing on the pounds, and that’s when I realized I had to make some serious lifestyle changes if I wanted to be healthy and fit as an adult.

As women age, we tend to store more fat and it gets harder to maintain our ideal weight. While what we eat is important, regular exercise — especially strength training — is key to maintaining a healthy body weight and staying fit.

I tried aerobics, running, and weight lifting at various times in my life, but I could never stay motivated, and every time I started a new routine, it eventually fizzled. It wasn’t until just a few years ago that I formed some consistent habits that have stuck.

Knowing that I needed some major accountability to make this new lifestyle work, I went to my local YMCA and signed up to work with one of their trainers. That was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Not that I’m saying everyone should hire a trainer, but having an accountability partner is key. It can be your husband, a good friend, or someone you hire, but we all are more likely to keep our commitments when someone is depending on us to show up.

I also decided that this was a decision for the long haul. Everyone gets derailed from their fitness routine from time to time, but rather than looking at a temporary derailment as a failure, I just look at it as a bump in the road, and I get back to it as soon as I can. I think it is this shift in mentality that made all the difference, to be honest. Even when I couldn’t run for a year, I got back out there as soon as I could because I still thought of myself as a runner.

Removing all possible excuses is another important component of making a fitness routine stick. If you don’t have proper workout gear for the activity or the weather, it’s too easy to put it off. I make sure to have work out gear for the coldest of days, the hottest of days, and even those rainy days.

For summertime, I love these salutation shorts by Athleta. They have a 5″ inseam, so they’re modest but still give you the benefit of shorts, plus they’re moisture-wicking for added comfort. I also love that they stay in place and don’t ride up.

The top I’m wearing here is old, but I have a variety of workout tops and change them up depending on my mood. I’ll link to a few below.

Keeping my activewear stylish and up to date also keeps me motivated to work out, but don’t forget that what we wear under our activewear is just as important as the workout gear itself. Not only does wearing undergarments with good shape and support make your activewear look better, but it keeps you comfortable and safe while you work out.

My favorite sport bra is this Chantelle High-Impact Multi-Way Padded Sports Bra (more sizes here.) It has great shape to it, it lifts and supports, and you can hook it in the back to make it a racer back style. This also gives it more support, so I always hook the back when I’m running, even if my shirt covers it.

Another one of my tips for staying motivated to exercise is have good music and keep your playlist fresh. I use the Shazaam app on my smartphone to keep a running list of new songs I want to add to my playlist. Anytime I start to get bored, I add some new tunes, and I’m eager to get out there and enjoy them.

Finally, remind yourself why you started in the first place. I know I’ll never be as thin as I was in my 20s, but no matter what the number on the scale says, I want to feel strong and look fit and healthy.

When I was injured and couldn’t run for almost a year, I realized how much I tend to take for granted my ability to exercise. Now when I feel like phoning it in, I try to remember how frustrated and depressed I felt when I couldn’t work out, and I remind myself that I don’t exercise because I have to, I exercise because I can.

It’s a privilege and a blessing to have a healthy body. It may not be perfect, but it’s mine, and I’m going to do my best to keep it strong and healthy.

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