Travis J. Zipper Provides Tips on How To Motivate Yourself to Be More Active
Do you find yourself spending a great deal of time brainstorming excuses to justify skipping your workout? You are not alone. We subconsciously waste a significant amount of energy attempting to rationalize our way out of exercising. However, moderate physical activity can render several immediate benefits including, reduced anxiety, lower blood pressure, better sleep, and improved cognitive function. Despite all of these great benefits, only 22% of adults engage in regular 30-minute exercise according to statistics by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We all know how difficult it is to find the motivation to be active, so Travis J. Zipper, the co-founder and lead instructor for the Nutritional Coaching Institute (NCI), shares six tips to encourage you to break a sweat.
1. Set a goal and write it down
Most individuals start exercising with some goal in mind. Perhaps you’d like to lose weight, boost your energy, sleep better, manage a health condition, or develop strong muscles. According to a goal-setting study completed by Dr. Gail Matthews at the Dominican University in California, people are 42% more likely to achieve their goals if they write them down. Consequently, Travis recommends committing your purpose to paper and re-visiting it often to help you stay on track. By doing so, you are forcing yourself to think about exactly where you want to be and devise strategies for how you’re going to get there. You might also find it helpful to carry a journal to record how you feel after workouts, what you did each session, and develop a timeline of your progress to motivate you to keep moving forward.
2. Set aside a specific time for workouts
According to Travis, if you pencil your workout into your calendar each week, it will be harder for you to avoid exercising. It’s no surprise that developing a step-by-step plan will make it significantly easier to reach your end goal. Some people find that running every morning or late at night after the kids have been tucked into bed is their ideal window for exercising. However, if you don’t have your workout schedule pre-planned, you will likely drum up a last-minute excuse or find yourself committing to unexpected invitations, spoiling your workout altogether. Travis recommends sending yourself daily reminders on your phone or downloading a fitness app to help keep you on task.
3. Put on your workout clothes
First things first, purchase workout clothes that make you feel good when you wear them. A study found in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology states that clothing influences our behavior and attitudes because it carries symbolic meaning. Thus, what you wear affects how you perform. Essentially, when you put on comfortable and attractive athletic wear, you develop near-instant confidence leading to increased focus and better gains. When you aren’t in the mood to workout, Travis suggests changing into your training clothes. There is a good chance that merely getting dressed for the occasion will help pull you out of that slump.
4. Make it fun
Exercising should not feel like a chore. The best way to truly commit to a workout program is by making it fun. Start by creating a motivational playlist to boost your energy level during training! If you aren’t sure how to do this, use an app like Spotify to help you find the best pump-up songs to keep you motivated throughout your entire workout. Mood and music are closely correlated. If you listen to a happy or sad song on the radio, it will directly affect how to you feel at the moment. As a result, Travis suggests turning on music before your workout begins to help promote excitement. Another way to make workouts fun is by breaking up your routine by infusing variety. For example, if you don’t feel like doing your regular sweat session at the gym, opt for bike riding outdoors or joining a Zumba class to mix things up.
5. Recruit a workout buddy
Everything is easier when you do it with a group. Consider increasing your motivation by joining a local health club, doing yoga in the park with friends, playing sports with your kids, or evening walks with your significant other. There is nothing better than having a workout buddy around to help push you through a tough gym session. Travis says spending time with people who share the same goals as you can be highly beneficial to your journey. Even if you prefer exercising alone, sharing your goals with others increases your accountability. We are all scared of failure and letting others down. If we tell family members we have joined a workout challenge, then we are more likely to stay loyal to it because we have announced it to the ones we love most.
6. Opt for healthier choices
Eating a healthy diet can help you source the energy you need to be active. Consuming a lot of processed or high-sugar foods can lead to a short-lived spurt of energy, followed by a sudden crash leaving you sluggish and tired. Travis asserts that eating healthier leads to higher productivity and better results. When you eat healthily, you instinctively look for ways to improve your overall health, including regular exercise. Travis recommends a healthy diet of fruit and vegetables, protein, carbs, and fat to help you achieve your fitness goals.
While it often takes plenty of determination to force yourself off the couch and into the gym, it’s probably true that you’ve never regretted a workout. More often than not, we make exercising disproportionately worse in our heads than it is in real life. Take small steps and commit yourself to 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days per week, before expanding your fitness program. If you find yourself devising regular excuses as to why you shouldn’t exercise, refer to Travis’ guidelines above to help get you back on track.