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Motivation: What's yours?

Since hitting a bit of a plateau in my workout regime, I’ve been putting together a new exercise program for myself. Harder, faster, and more blood, sweat, and tears. Ok not really with the blood and the tears, but definitely more sweat. 

Truthfully, I’ve been a bit lax on myself since starting my new business venture, but I figured that in order to get where I want to be in terms of endurance, and to make my body more efficient at burning fat as fuel (okay, it’s all gobbledy-gook to you, but just bear with me), I would need to... up my cardio – three horrible words strong enough to make any sane person sulk their way out of the gym (you there, guy who runs 45 minutes straight on the treadmill at an 8% incline. You aren’t invited to this party. I say that with both love and envy).

60 minute, long-distance, low-intensity cardio was the plan. But as I found myself approaching the 40 minute mark, I began fighting off excuses to quit (I used two different pieces of equipment justsoyouknow, for those of you who were about to throw the thirty-minute rule at me).  I dug deep for the motivation, because let’s be honest here. I am a circuit-training, bootcamp-loving, weight-lifting kind of girl, and sustained cardio at the gym is deathly boring. And I forgot my climbing magazine. So what motivation did I unearth while half-heartedly grasping the handles of the monotonous elliptical, my working heart-rate dropping by the second? The very question of motivation! I asked myself: what faith could my clients have in me if I couldn’t even stay true to my own program and my own set of goals. I believe in this industry you have to walk the walk. So I did. 60 minutes of sweating like a pig – no blood or tears, I promise. And I felt amazing afterward.
Health and fitness are both areas where we don’t get the immediate gratification we so love in this society (although diet pill and supplement ads would try to have us think otherwise).  Does it really make sense that we spent X amount of years digging ourselves into this hole, that we can just dig ourselves out without investing at least some effort and time?  And so the question of what motivates us comes up. What motivates us to get started, and to keep going? What is that light at the end of the tunnel? Let’s not kid ourselves here, exercise can be hard work. If there isn’t a goal, and there’s nothing driving us, we’re not going to drag our butts away from reality TV to go get our precious lululemons sweaty (god forbid).
There are three major things that motivate the heck out of me:
One: Taking the best care of myself now is sure going help me against the odds of developing any of those rampant diseases I see consuming our society. I want to grow old doing burpees up the mountains. I want to be able to whip my clothes off and do naked lunges in the parking lot of the health food store when I’m 80 years old, and feel and look great doing it. Too much? Ok, that part is a bit of an exaggeration anyway. But you get the idea.
Two: I want to keep up with my machine of a boyfriend while we run up mountains, rock-climb in distant lands, and build greenhouses for our garden. I also hope to one day out-pushup him. Hey, I didn’t say what motivates us has to be noble, or selfless.
Three: I want to motivate other people! I want the changes I make in myself to inspire those around me to make healthier decisions. I want people to realize they can make these changes too, that you aren’t so special and unique that putting in the time, effort, and energy, wont get you to the level of health and fitness that you desire to be at.
So what would or does motivate you? I’ve been asking people around me and to my surprise, the most common answer for what would motivate them to get on track with their health and fitness would be if they had an illness or injury. A painful reminder of how we live in a world where the treatment of a disease is the focus, rather than prevention.
So we have some options here. We can wait until we’re borderline diabetic, hypertensive, or without complete range of motion in our joints (remember, use it or lose it!), or we can take the steps we know we need to take right now. If we focus our attention away from the flashy lights of the television (come on people, focus!), and be exhaustingly honest with ourselves, I think we will all come up with the answer that we need some healthy changes in our lives.
So here’s the challenge this week: Figure out what it is that would motivate you to become healthier, to shed that excess weight, to reach for the apple instead of the slice of cheesecake (or whole cheesecake in some of our cases) and the ways you can try and trigger that motivation in your daily life! Remember, there are no rules in life, only choices!
Teralee Trommeshauser lives in Castlegar, BC, and is a health and fitness enthusiast, currently working on her Holistic Nutrition and Fitness Education certifications.