If you want to get in shape, work out. How simple is that? Easy to say, but hard to do. You must find what motivates you. Most people respond very well to schedules and routines. That is why I recommend putting your workouts in a calendar before you work out. This works best if you write out a week or month in advance. If you have in your schedule spin class Saturday at 9:30AM you are much more likely to go then if just say I will go work out at some point over the weekend. Having a buddy also helps. Someone to push you when you are feeling lazy will give you the external motivation when it isn’t coming from yourself. Also, having someone you are pushing will motivate you to not quit.
I make going to the gym part of my daily routine every day except Thursdays. It is the way I start every day and it as much a part of my morning as breakfast and brushing my teeth. On the weekends I book a class at the gym and work out with a friend whenever possible. If I miss a day, I feel bad. The days where I don’t feel like going, I just push through and 100% of the time I feel better afterwards. I like to work out in the mornings, but whatever time works best for you is fine. Just make it a part of your day.
Another trick to motivate you is to document your progress. You can document your workouts and see how many times you have gone. You can also track results like weight loss or strength gains. Seeing progress is a reward. Some people like to post their results and see this as motivation, but I would hate to disappoint all of my followers.
For one of my sons when he was in high school, he wanted (needed?) to get in shape for soccer. He was relatively small (genetically my fault) and needed to make size and strength gains. We both committed to working out together in the basement 3 times/week for 3 months. There were days I had to fight with him to motivate him, but once he started actually seeing gains he was hooked. The first time we lifted, he benched 40 lbs. and curled 10lb dumbbells. He was tearful at how weak he was. He told me his friends could bench over 150 lbs. I knew he wanted to quit and give up, but he also knew he really wanted to be on the soccer team. He pushed through.
We documented every work out including what exercise, how much weight and how many reps he performed. The first 2 weeks he was in pain and was constantly whining and complaining. But then something happened. His form improved and he actually wanted to work out more. He wanted to increase the weight and was able to do so. He was dramatically improving. Six weeks into working out, I videotaped him curling shirtless and sent it to his big brother who never says anything positive to him. He simply replied, “WTF, is that Ty??” At the end of 3 months he was able to bench 120 lbs. for 6 reps and looked bigger and much more defined. It was noticeable and he was ecstatic with his results.
You know where you want to get and you already know how to get there. All you need is the push. Use a calendar and set a schedule in advance. Find a buddy or class that forces you to go. Use a trainer if you need one. Document your progress and hard work. All of these steps will keep you on the track to better health.
Rick Weinstein, MD, MBA
Director of Orthopedic Surgery
Westchester Sport & Spine of White Plains Hospital