S’mores are delicious. Campfire, friends, that crunchy graham cracker, melted chocolate and soft, squishy, gooey marshmallow. And then, naturally, we reach into the assorted bags for a little taster and decide to make a cold a la carte s’more and then maybe we reach for a metaphor deep in that desert night sky and think ‘Oh no, I’ve become that marshmallow.’ (Editor’s note: this happened last week)
If the January resolutions are fading and the February upkeep has led to so-so, uninspired workouts, you might be finding yourself in ‘Marchmallow’ territory. Oh, how we love our puns here at La Jolla Sports Club.
Your motivation might be low, you might have plateaued or you might have fallen off the workout-wagon altogether. We have a few simple tips that can help keep you on track, regardless of what time of year it is.
FIRST AND FOREMOST: Are you having fun? Maybe not right this second, but when you are exercising, are you enjoying it? Health psychologist, Kelly McGonigal, PhD had this to say in her book The Upside of Stress: ‘Exercise is almost always recommended in the context of starting from a place of shame, self-criticism, inadequacy… When someone enters into any activity from this point of view, it takes a lot of the intrinsic joy out of that activity and creates a context for people to experience negative emotions and to interpret sensations of exercise in a negative way.’
We all know by now that exercise is good for us, mind, body and soul (check out the ‘Go Love Yourself’ series for more details), so now the trick is to find something you enjoy. Some people love to crush themselves in our HIIT classes, but if that isn’t for you, try Zumba, where you can dance away stress and learn some fun moves in the company of like-minded individuals. Feel like breaking away from the gym for a bit? Go run at La Jolla shores, join a hiking club, learn the watermelon crawl at a line-dancing bar. Whatever it is, just enjoy the movement.
Tip: If you feel successful right off the bat, you’re more likely to stick with the activity.
It sucks. Or does it? A great article from the American Council on Exercise (ACE) explained the idea of beneficial plateaus in an incredibly simple way: hiking. The goal is the top. If, however, you’re always climbing, you’re never going to make it. You long for the plateau to recharge and regather mental and physical strength. Approaching your goals, whatever they might be, with that mindset will help relieve the pressure, self- or socially-induced. Make those difficult changes and sustain them until you are ready to ‘climb’ again.
Change your perspective
- Are you lucky enough to be able to exercise?
- Do your kids need a more active role model?
- Maybe exercise is your new You Time?
- Any number of ideas can shift the mundane to motivating.
- That bright red circle on the calendar? Pretty good visual reminder I need to keep moving for that obstacle course in May. I also need a cool costume.
- Pepper in smaller, achievable goals between now and your final goal–the small successes will help motivate you to keep pushing on.
Get a buddy
- Or a team (see: obstacle course race)!
- See: the Köhler Effect (no one wants to be the weakest link)
- Workout buddies have been proven to increase performance… and fun
Schedule a regular time
- Treat your workout like any other appointment
- Maybe impose a ‘cancellation fee’ to help keep you accountable
Keep a log
- Charting progress has been shown to increase accountability and sticktoitiveness
- Don’t go crazy with the scale or measurements, however–once a week will do just fine. Otherwise, you’ll drive yourself insane, because every single person reading this blog fluctuates daily.
What is your favorite way to break out of a slump? How do you keep motivated? Do you have a secret s’more recipe you’d like to share? Tell us in the comments below!
Check back next week, where we’ll throw a magazine in the air and randomly choose a topic based on the page that opens! #Marchmallowmadness
// Your La Jolla Sports Club team