How Do You Stay Motivated To Workout?

Posted by: 
Aimee Lecointre

I want to address a question I get asked all the time by this wonderful community. This question has popped up in my social media messages and my inbox quite a bit lately as I’ve been sharing more about getting back into a more consistent workout routine.

For those who don’t follow me on social, here’s a quick recap of what I’ve been dealing with since last fall. Starting mid October 2017 I started having frequent and often debilitating flare-ups with my CF related arthritis. My first flare was 17 years ago at the age of 16, but until two years ago the flares have been mild (aside from the very first one) and few and far between. The biggest trigger seems to cold winter weather and we moved back to Utah two years after 8 years in Southern CA where the weather is much more mild.

These flares often left me stuck in bed for days at a time. I often needed my husbands help to get in and out of bed, to shower and wash my hair, to get dressed and undressed, to shuffle down the hall. Talk about a humbling experience. When I was feeling well I would try to stick with light workouts or slow and low impact movement, but even restorative yoga seemed to induce a flare. I became incredibly frustrated and it started getting me down. It got to the point where I didn’t workout for months, nearly six months, and then it was hit and miss after that. I tried to just focus on getting through each day and held out hope that once the weather got better I’d feel better.

In addition to the arthritis flares I’ve also been dealing with a lot side effects because of endometriosis. The past six months have been extra difficult. Nausea, fatigue, brain fog, horrible pain, etc.

In the past month or so I’ve started to finally get some relief and have been slowly working my way back into a more consistent workout routine and to move daily. So the question that keeps popping up is, “How do you get back into a workout routine and what motivates you to keep at it?” Or questions along those lines. So here are my top tips!

  1. Stop relying on motivation. It’s not about motivation. For me (and so many others) motivation might be the thing that initially gets you excited and take the first steps to start working out, but motivation doesn’t last forever. I found that once I stopped relying on motivation to keep me going and instead set other tangible goals, sticking to a routine became a lot easier.
     
  2. Set small goals. There is nothing wrong with setting bigger goals, just make sure you set small goals to help you get to that bigger goal. When I set small goals it helps keep me going as I am able to check each one off on the way to my bigger goals. It also helps things seem less overwhelming. When we set one huge goal with no smaller actionable steps to get there, it’s easy to get sidetracked, overwhelmed, and even feel defeated before we even get started! Those small goals help us get to the big goals.
     
  3. Share your goals. For a lot of people sharing goals  publicly (like on social media) or with a close group of family and friends can help keep them accountable. I recently shared that my June goal was to go on a walk outside every day. Not only has it helped me stick to that goal, but so many messaged me and they wanted to join in with me! I also find it helpful to write my goals out and post them somewhere I will see them daily. Right now that spot is right above my desk. A bathroom mirror is also a great place to display your goals!
     
  4. Which leads to, find a buddy. Find a reliable friend to workout with you so you can both keep each other accountable. Keyword here is reliable. If your workout buddy isn’t reliable and cancels on you all the time, you’re less likely to stick to your routine. Personally, this isn’t one that works for me, as I often like to workout alone, unless it’s something like going on a walk or hike.
     
  5. Create a workout space at home. Here’s the deal, if it requires me having to drive somewhere, like a gym or studio, I’m less likely to workout. Some people dig the gym and find it motivating, it’s just not my thing. I buy a gym or studio pass and it usually ends up getting wasted, oops! Over the last few years I have slowly collected various equipment to add to my little workout corner. It’s not a huge home gym, it takes up very little space, but it helps me get the job done! After a few years my gym space includes, dumbbells in a few different weights, a kettlebell, 3 yoga mats (only one is necessary, ha!), exercise bands, floor sliders, a balance board, a large stability ball, TRX style  bands (that are actually a cheaper knock-off brand, but still great quality), my Empack (my favorite backpack that turns into a weighted workout bag), and more recently a cycling bike. Like I said, this was all collected over the years, so it didn’t break the banks. Look for sales, for Groupons, and at local yard sales and in classified ads.
     
  6. Stop comparing! This is huge. We are all human and we all do it, myself included. In the days of social media so many out there are sharing their stories, and at times this can be incredibly motivating, but it can also be discouraging. Remember, CF affects each and everyone of differently, even if we have the same gene mutations. There is so much that plays into our health beyond our gene make-up. While some people may find it motivating and inspiring to follow someone with CF on social media who is running marathons, into bodybuilding, training for triathlons, competing in physique shows, etc. for some it can be hard to see others seemingly doing so well with their health and life with CF. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the comparison trap, so if you find yourself there, following someone on social media because you find them motivating and inspiring, but when you come across posts from them and it brings up feeling of self-doubt, comparison, or it justs gets you down, click unfollow. This isn’t an attack on the other person, it doesn’t mean you don’t find what they share helpful, it just means, that at this time, it’s better for you and your mental health to focus your energy elsewhere. And that’s okay! You can always try ‘following’ them again later after you’ve had time to work on your own goals and becoming more confident in all the things you are capable of. And trust me, you are capable of reaching your goals!
     
  7. Last but not least, find ways to move and stay active that you actually enjoy! This is big. I know it seems easy, but if you don’t enjoy running stop trying to force yourself to run. Years ago, when I started to get back to exercise and being active (after too many years of the couch potato life) I knew all these people with CF who loved running. They talked about the endorphins it gave them, how it cleared their heads, how it helped their PFTs improve, etc. So I decided to start running. I set out to run a 5k and guess what I found? I hate running. Like actually HATE it. It’s just  not for me, not to mention it’s way  to hard on my joints. My goal is to be more active and exercise on a consistent basis, but activity or exercise I choose to do each day varies. I get bored way too easily with structured workout programs. I like mixing things up. I include various workouts from some programs that I do have, I go on walks, I love hiking, the exercise bike is great for my lungs and easy on my joints, I enjoy taking my Empack out to get my workout on at the park or right outside on my patio, I love throwing in some yoga to help get my mind right and help with flexibility. So find ways to move that you enjoy and go for it!

I hope that some of these tips can help you in starting and maintaining a more consistent exercise/movement routine. Exercise it a vital part of our treatment regimen and can make a world of difference in our health, with or without CF. You’ve got this!

 

 

 

Aimee Lecointre is 32 years old with CF and lives in Salt Lake City, UT. She is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Certified 21 Day Sugar Detox Coach and Registered Yoga Teacher. She is passionate about helping the CF community through movement and nutrition. In her free time you can find her hiking, doing yoga, cooking, reading, writing, fishing, or eating! Follow her on Facebook at The Nourished Breath or on Instagram @thenourishedbreath.

 

 

 

                                 Help Others Live STRONGER and LONGER- 

   

 

***Views expressed in the CFLF Blog are those of the bloggers themselves and not necessarily of the Cystic Fibrosis Lifestyle Foundation*** 

***Please speak with your physician before making any changes to your CF management***

 

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