I remember a time when I did not work out for over two years. TWO years!
I just had my second baby and the reason I didn’t workout was, well, I was just not in the mood. I was busy with kids — like busy I had never known before.
Not busy like you are with one kid…busy like you just 10x’d the number of mouths you had to feed, laundry to clean, and little tushies you had to wipe. (So funny how your first kid’s butt-size increases when you have a newborn.. all of a sudden it’s like you’re wiping an adult-sized butt and you’re all “aw hell no we’re not doing this anymore!!”)
So I stopped working out and while my life didn’t fall apart and weight didn’t pile on — I knew I could only ride this train for so long until I had to pony up.
Getting back on track was the hardest thing I did because, after a baby, things don’t always go back the way they were. I had back pain, leg pain, and my abs had a divot down the center where my two big babies pulled the muscles clear a part… this was a hill to climb indeed.
It wasn’t easy and I’ve had a lot of stops and starts since then but I’ve also learned a lot along the way and I can finally say that without a doubt I’ve learned the absolute most effective way to get back into working out and making it count. (The key is “making it count!”)
I’ve learned to no longer let emotions run the show — and that whiny little voice that says “but I don’t feel like working out!” bears no weight in my decision-making process anymore. This is hands down the most effective method.
You can’t fake getting into shape. You can’t fake strong arms, a perky butt, or a solid core. You have to work for those things, and by work, I mean hard, sweaty, concentrated work. You have to become the professional and ditch the amateur mindset.
So how do you do that?
You go up against your fiercest competition.
Thanks to Peloton, I have a mom crew who’ll hop on the bike every now and then and we’ll ride together like the badass mamas we are — especially when we do the 90’s hip-hop or pop rides as they bring us back to our glorified youth.
When we ride together, those are particularly difficult rides as we’re all competing against each other, which brings on the “ugly sweatin’”.
(Now, this is not to be confused with the ugly sweat that appears on your yoga pants in unfortunate areas — which is exactly why I no longer wear plain gray yoga pants; there needs to be some distracting design.)
No, this is the act of ugly sweatin’ meaning your face is the color of beets (not the golden ones), sweat is dripping off your nose like a broken faucet and you can’t breathe with your mouth closed or you might suffocate. And when you catch a glimpse of yourself in the reflection of your screen, you say a quick prayer that you don’t accidentally hit “video” when you’re checking in on each of your friend’s cadences because you will legit frighten people.
And despite the ugliness, you push harder still. That’s your crew! Those are the people who are going to get you to push your hardest.
So when I need a good motivator, I do not rely on willpower, I do not try to find something I enjoy — because I do not enjoy “ugly sweatin” — and I do not use rational thinking (“I know exercise is good for me and I should be doing more of it at a more intense level this way I can wear my bathing suit this summer and not be all plump around the edges.”) No.
Instead, I lean on the crew of people who will kick my ass and I try to beat them! That’s my motivation. And even if you’re not the competitive sort, having a crew to workout alongside you is the most effective way to show up and do the hard work.
But that’s not all.
You have to make it interesting and more long-term than random one-off workouts. There has to be longevity. and the best way to do that is to lay a little juice on the line!
Laying a little juice on the line is what’s going to make it interesting and keep you showing up. So here’s how we set it up as a month-long challenge to the top.
Day 1 we did a ride together and we wrote down our output numbers (For those who don’t know Peloton — output is the force created when you combine your resistance with your cadence.)
During the month we’re left to our own devices, but we try to do at least 10 minutes of something a day. On day 30, we’ll do the same ride again, and whoever beats their output number from Day 1 by the most points, wins.
And the winner? They become the proud owner of a fancy bottle of their drinking preference.
Now, there’s a lot to pay attention to here.
First, you’ll notice that you’re competing against yourself — you’re trying to beat your numbers.
Next, that challenge gives you a purpose for each workout — you need to get a little better every workout if you’re going to beat your own number on day 30 — which is not a lot of time. It makes every workout count.
These are not “calling it in” workouts. You have to get better, stronger, and fitter because you want that special bottle of juice! (Or whatever it is.) You’re not running people over either because you’re the competition. You’re going after your numbers.
Do you see how that’s a huge motivating difference? That’s how you do a 20-minute core workout even though you’re not in the mood. That’s how you show up on days 5, 15, and 28 even if your kids have run you ragged and all you want to do is sleep in. You have something you’re working towards and a crew of people who are working alongside you.
That makes all the difference. That makes it a no-brainer.
No one will make you work harder than a buddy who’s along for the ride.
This has been proven in scientific research, written up in case studies, and repeated and reinforced throughout history. Great athletes have great coaches, or great teammates to keep them moving, pushing harder, giving it their all, even on those days when they’d rather not. (Especially on those days!)
Michael Jordan didn’t become Michael Jordan on his own. Nor did Tiger, Serena, Brady, or any big-time and not so big-time athlete. They achieved greatness with a crew.
And that’s how you can as well… now go phone a friend, put some juice on the line, and get ready for the ugly sweatin’!
AM Costanzo is a wellness coach, a motivational junkie, loves a-ha moments, and loves to help people feel strong, powerful, and downright fabulous in body and mind!
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