In those winter months when you look out the window and the wind is blowing the bin down the road, or rain is lashing against the window, the last thing any of us want to do is grab our trainers and go for a run. How do you drag yourself out the door once you’ve returned from work, braced yourself to get changed, and then get back out the door in the freezing cold? The trouble is, Spring is on its way and there will just be more excuses, it’s not only the weather that can put us off leaving the house. I can assure you there are many times when I would rather enjoy a glass of wine than 45 mins on a spin bike. So what is the best way to motivate ourselves to get our freak on, as the Sport England campaign so eloquently puts it?
Our New Year’s resolutions have been and long gone, most of them didn't make it to the end of January and Summer still seems a little too far off to be worrying about that beach body. It doesn't matter who we are, we all need to be motivated in order to wiggle into our costume and make it to the pool, without being distracted with something that is much more important. But what really is the secret to finding this motivation that we all need?
The problem is that everyone is different. All of our fitness goals vary from person to person. Very few of us have the same needs when it comes to our fitness regime. And what works for one person isn't going to work for everyone. I have always believed that if you don’t like sports it’s because you haven’t found the right sport for you. From Zumba and Pilate’s, right through to Weight Lifting and Netball, the classes and training are so vastly spread that there must be one thing you enjoy. I always noticed at school that the girls who ‘hated’ PE, seemed to thoroughly enjoy trampolining and dance. It’s just about our personal tastes.
The second problem I feel comes from the way we advertise and discuss fitness. We make it seem like a chore and that everyone who chooses to visit the gym or join a club, does so based on guilt. Such a negative view on the fitness industry is not the most justifiable basis for a fitness plan. I'm sure most of us have said it at one stage or another ‘I have to go the gym tonight because of the rubbish I ate at the weekend’ or ‘It’s OK I can eat those crisps because I went spinning at lunch time’. By using exercise to make us feel less guilty we are using our HIIT class as a punishment for our junk food crimes. It’s an endless cycle that just creates negativity causing us to give in and stay home with the box of chocolates and think about how terrible you will feel when eventually Summer arrives and you have to dig out the bikini again.
So I have decided to take it upon myself to enjoy my sport and to visit the gym for the thrill and the buzz I receive from it. When I first took up netball at the age of 13 it was for the pure love of sport, the desperation to win and the sense of achievement I felt after I had work my butt off, regardless of the result. This is still true; I still experience this buzz, and funnily enough netball has never felt like a chore. Why? Because I choose to go for the love I first felt as a teenager. But I decided this isn't enough. It’s time I felt like this about all exercise. I've chosen to stop using the gym as punishment. So instead of sitting in my spin class and counting calories, I now get up on that beat and think about how good it feels to actually be able to take part. At the end of the class I love the sense of achievement and the thought that yes ‘this girl can' but more importantly 'this girl does'. I leave the gym with a smile on my face itching to get back. I even enjoy it so much that tonight I'm off to my third spin class of the week, something I never thought I would be doing.
So I challenge all of you to stop thinking about how cold and painful your next run is going to be and instead find a reason that will help you fall back in love with your exercise - no matter what it is, just make it genuine and make sure it has nothing to do with that tiny bikini at the back of your drawer!
Jennifer Schooling - The Leisure Database Company