During these times of social distancing, motivation is hard to come by. Motivation can also vary day to day, as you may have experienced. Pulling ourselves away from social media and Netflix to complete a training session, can sometimes seem impossible.
Our minds will try to convince us that we deserve to relax or we already did enough this week. This is true, we do deserve this time to relax and recharge, but it is extremely important to stay realistic to keep your body healthy.
Although the world has slowed for this period of time, it does not mean that our bodies can go on vacation. Sitting around all day every day eating whatever you want because you need to relax, will only lead to muscle loss and weight gain. Sticking with those healthy habits of exercising daily and consuming nutritious foods will be most beneficial-BUT HOW DO WE STAY MOTIVATED?
First let’s talk about how we can stay healthy during this time...
Getting up and moving will not only promote good physical health, but it is also important for your mental health as we are all going through a stressful time. The time will come when this is all over, and we will be back at the gym. Staying consistent with your training while at home, will help to avoid that feeling of starting over when the time comes to get back to the gym.
Think back to your first week at FitGuana- Do you really want to feel that degree of soreness? Or struggle because of muscle loss? You don’t have to struggle this way if you keep up with your training while at home. FitGuana offers tons of different training options, plus we offer four LIVE classes per week for our current members. Take advantage of these options now, so you don’t regret it later.
Choosing the more nutritious foods can also be difficult right now, especially if all that is available at your grocery store is a frozen pizza and boxed pasta. Or you are just trying to avoid the grocery store. We are all struggling with these same issues, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t struggling too. If you are stuck on what meals you can make with the ingredients you have at home or you just need some inspiration- check out the recipe page under the members only section on FitGuana.com. You are sure to find recipes that you and your family will love. We even have some “desserts” for those times you need chocolate.
Avoiding snacking, especially at night, when all I want is a bowl of ice cream, has become increasingly challenging to avoid. So how do I avoid this? Truth is, I don’t. (But, you just said stick with healthy habits? How is that possible?) Let me explain...
Every day I wake up, and make a plan for myself. I am the type of person who enjoys an afternoon or evening workout, but knowing this, I plan for it. I find a daily schedule to be essential during this time to keep myself on track and accountable. I also plan what I will make for lunch and dinner so I know well in advance that I will be consuming nutritious meals instead of ordering pizza because I didn’t have anything prepared.
Now life is not always sunshine and rainbows. There are days when I wake up with a million excuses in my head. “Well I kind of feel a headache coming on” or “I did a really tough workout yesterday so”... It is not easy to shut this down especially when my head comes up with some pretty great excuses.
There are even some days where I feel absolutely miserable during a warmup and want to quit before the workout gets started. Yes, I am being brutally honest with you guys right now- just stick with me. On these days, I force myself to get through it and usually after a few minutes, I feel great. Using MyZone has also been extremely motivating because I enjoy pushing myself to different heart rate zones, and keeping up with the FitGuana family. It’s another great way to stay connected while social distancing.
I always love to see the feedback after each workout and motivate others to do the same within the app.
Now, there are some days where I can’t wait for the workout to be over, but I continue and have never regretted doing so. The days where I struggle and push through even when my brain is telling me not to, are the days when rewards pull me through. And I am not just talking about the reward of a great workout (that’s just cheesy). I am talking real rewards, like you would reward a dog with a treat or a kid child with a toy. Are you comparing me to a dog and child? No, but rewards really do make everyone feel better (human or not) no matter your age. This is especially important during this time because motivation is not coming from your coaches and friends working out next to you. Finding other ways, like rewards to motivate yourself, can make a difference.
SO WHAT SHOULD MY REWARDS BE?
This can be challenging because I can almost say with certain your idea (like mine) of a reward is a big brownie sundae. Right? Food has become a popular reward for everyone because delicious foods make us feel good. I will avoid getting scientific, but basically the chemicals which are released in the brain when eating these foods are the reason for the feel good feelings, cravings, etc.
Think about it, food has become your typical reward starting from a young age. After winning a little league baseball game, the whole team celebrates with ice cream. As a kid, falling off your bike, a lollipop would make the boo-boo better. Receiving a great report card means you get to pick the restaurant for dinner. This idea of food as a reward has become so common that we think, even as adults, that we too deserve a reward in the form of cake because we had a tough workout today.
I am here to tell you FOOD DOES NOT HAVE TO BE YOUR REWARD!
So if I am not rewarding myself with a cookie, what can my reward be?
Here is a list of rewards that are NOT FOOD:
Buy yourself a new workout outfit
Buy yourself new sneakers
You get to pick the movie tonight
Buy yourself fresh flowers
Give yourself a facial
Take a bath
Buy one thing off of your Pinterest Board
Buy a new book
Give yourself a mani/pedi
Take a nap
Buy a new water bottle
Invest in a fitness tracker (MyZone is available through FItGuana and we LOVE it)
Try a new type of class (TONS of FREE classes are available online right now)
Buy a new kitchen gadget or cookbook
Buy yourself new workout equipment
The options for non-food rewards are as big as your amazon cart. It just takes thinking outside of the cake mix box. But weren’t you saying before how you reward yourself at night with a bowl of ice cream? You got me, I did say that.
Does this mean I’m not practicing what I preach? No, the fact is my go-to rewards are non-food related. Last week, my reward was trying a yoga class. (Yoga is not my thing but I tried it!). Continuing with honesty, there are some days where I do enjoy a food reward because I am human like the rest of you and love chocolate. Do I sit down at night with a giant brownie sundae? Rare, but it has happened.
One thing you can bet on is that I have my bowl of plain popcorn while watching Netflix, and on the reward days I get crazy and add dark chocolate chips (wild, I know). Another favorite food reward that I make is “Nice Cream”. It is a delicious alternative to ice cream that you can make with just a few ingredients within minutes. And the best part is- it tastes just like soft serve ice cream. There is a recipe for this in our recipe section on our website so be sure to check it out.
I have always been the type of person who loves food as a reward (learned habits) and I know there are so many people who will tell you that this is terrible. And yes, I would agree, if my idea of a food reward was pie ala mode every night. But as long as you are choosing healthy alternatives and watching your portion sizes there isn’t anything wrong with enjoying a sweet treat.
NEVER sit down with a bag of chips (or any packaged food that can be endless). Be sure to portion out your snack prior to sitting and enjoying. Be mindful of what you are consuming and how often you are doing so. If you can stick to these rules, then I encourage you to reward yourself.
Rewards are not meant to be every day or even every week. Save rewards for your toughest days and the days you truly feel you battled through. Pick rewards that will still benefit you and help you reach your goals. Remember, these rewards are there to motivate you so on those tough days, don’t skip your training- find what drives you and go for it. YOU CAN DO THIS!
By Deanna V., FitGuana trainer and certified ACE Health Coach