The way to STAY motivated for exercise

staying motivated for exercise (1)

In the last blog we talked about how the excitement of working toward a goal can be motivating, but that it is likely temporary.  Using goal setting to get motivated just does not give you the skills to stay motivated, which leads to the common ‘all or nothing’ approach to exercise.  

The heating system in a home senses the temperature and adjusts what it’s doing to sustain a comfortable temperature inside, even as the  weather changes. It is set up to continually produce and maintain that, even as conditions change.  What makes it work is a built-in feedback loop designed to sense what is happening moment by moment.

Systems are designed for sustainability. Using a system, rather than goals to get motivated, means you will stay motivated,  even as conditions change in your life. Your feedback loop for an exercise system is mindfulness.  Present moment awareness gives you the power to sense what is happening in your mind and in your body, moment by moment. This gives you a feedback loop, so you know when you are getting off track. More importantly, the curiosity and kindness of mindfulness allow you to make the necessary adjustments so you keep getting what you really want from exercise, even when life starts to get in the way.  

Wouldn’t it be great for exercise to always leave you feeling and functioning better, now, instead of waiting until you reach your goal to feel better?  Wouldn’t it be great if you knew you were doing enough, instead of always feeling like you should be doing more?  A systems mindset lets you know how much is enough, moment by moment.   A systems mindset frees you from worrying about your ability to stick with changes, because you get the Real Results you want each time you exercise.

Even if you do have goals, things that you want to achieve with fixed endpoints, such as completing a 5K, a systems mindset will help to provide a foundation of motivation as you work toward those goals. Even more importantly, the system will be there when the goal is over, keeping you out of that all-or-noting approach to exercise.  

It is smart to wait to begin working toward a goal until the time is right. You don’t want to set yourself up for failure by working on a goal when you’re not ready.   But, when you want to feel and function better, now is a great time to start!  Remember, a system is built to adjust when outside conditions change, so you don’t have to wait until conditions are just right to start. 

You use systems all the time to keep your life functioning well.  Why not use one for  exercise, to keep you functioning well?



PS: Exercising WELL is is a coaching and membership program I designed to guide you through building your system for lasting exercise motivation.  Take advantage of the amazing introductory offer only available until January 31. For only $85 you get a coaching call with me, a 28 day online program, and personalized weekly email coaching for a month! Rates will never be this low again!  Click here for more information.

Valentine’s Day special offer!

happy-couple-cycling-in-canola-fields-picture-id178834556-2On February 14,  celebrate your “whole” heart with 10% off my new online course,  Cardio Confidence. This course is like having a consult with a clinical exercise physiologist. Some information you will already know, some will surprise you, either way you will come away with more confidence in your ability to enjoy the many benefits of cardio.

A lot of very good information, that nicely included that cardio does not have to be a sweat until you drop, go all out element of health.  ~ Cardio Confidence participant

Learn how to make cardio doable, even when you are low on time or motivation. You will learn how to work around physical limitations, maximize your weight loss benefits, and enjoy the brain boosting results from cardio. This fact-based approach to cardio means you are much more likely to get the results you want in a way that lasts.

This course makes getting into a routine of cardio less intimidating and overwhelming.  ~Cardio Confidence participant

Click here for more information and give your “whole” heart a Valentine’s Day gift!  Use the coupon code VALENTINE when checking out to receive your discount. Offer expires at midnight on February 14, 2018.

Cardio and Weight (Loss)


Let’s begin our guilt-free, “Whole” Heart Health blog series with the risk factor for heart disease that is responsible for the most worry and guilt: body weight.

Overwhelmingly, when I ask clients why they want to lose weight, the answer is “I want to be healthy.”  We connect being overweight with being unhealthy and thin with being healthy. Ready for a shocker? The research does not support this when it comes to heart heath.

The “obesity paradox” is the term used when research shows people with a higher body weight have a lower risk of heart disease and premature death than those at a recommended body weight. But, as with so many things, the beauty is in the details! When fitness level is included in the data, there is no paradox! In every weight category, people who are fit had a lower risk of a heart event and better survival, even if they already have heart disease!

There is considerable evidence that high levels of cardio fitness eliminates or significantly lowers the risk of cardiac death in people who are overweight and obese, even in those with heart disease, high cholesterol and diabetes. Therefore, cardiac fitness is more important than obesity in long term prognosis.*

Here are some more key findings:

  • People who are unfit had double the risk of dying, regardless of body weight.
  • Year to year changes in fitness were better at predicting future risk of developing hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and high cholesterol than changes in body weight.
  • When people remained fit, even when body weight increased, their risk of  heart disease and risk of dying from any cause did not increase.
  • People with heart disease and heart failure but with preserved fitness had good survival regardless of body weight.

If you are looking to lose weight to be healthy, and are exercising regularly, be confident! You ARE healthy already. Let go of the worry, because it only drains health.  Certainly, there are other benefits of getting to your healthy weight. Based on the overwhelming evidence,  we can define a healthy weight as the weight that allows you to stay fit.

Later in this series we will look at how you can tell if you are fit enough to get these benefits.  In the meantime, check out this blog that explains the definition of fitness.

Do you struggle with being able to do cardio at your current weight? Check out my new online course called Cardio Confidence.  You will learn the fact-based information and helpful tips I give clients for doing cardio when carrying extra weight.  

* Source: Exercise and the Cardiovascular System. Lavie, C, et. al.  Circulation Research (American Heart Association Journal) July 2, 2015

“That’s what I’ve always heard”


The other day I was talking with a dietitian about how we help patients make a plan for exercise. When I mentioned that sweating was not a reliable way to tell if you were getting a “good workout”, she was shocked.  She said “I tell patients that all the time—that’s what I’ve always heard.”  

I have had this same reaction from medical students I have in class. Despite the fact that we are advised to “check with your doctor before starting an exercise program”,   a study in 2015 found that only 21.2% of medical schools had one course available to medical students about exercise and only 12.2% had a required course.

We have pharmacists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, dietitians, and many other specialties in health care.  Each has a scope of practice, a body of knowledge they work hard to keep up-to-date on. There is some overlap, but when providers do not know that sweating is not a helpful guide for choosing a level of exercise, it’s not really their fault.  Most of them find information about exercise the same way you do, and can just as easily fall prey to the consistent, myth-based messages about  fitness.

Part of the problem is the fitness field is vastly under-regulated. Anyone can say they are a fitness expert. Other fields have licensing and certification requirements, along with required training and education. Not so in the fitness field. You as the consumer, as well as the professionals that recommend you exercise, need to ignore a lot of myth-based information to be guided by the facts.

Some of the myths uncovered in Fueled by Facts may surprise you because they are so commonly used, we just take them as truth.  This is the reason I created Fueled by Facts.  I’ve sorted out the myths from the facts, and turned them into user-friendly information you can use. For example, day #3 of Fueled by Facts helps you find a true fitness expert, and, if you still think sweating is helpful,  day #18 reveals the myths about that too.

A new session of Fueled by Facts, my FREE online course starts February 1, 2018.

Click here to enroll—the rest is easy! Enrollment closes at midnight on January 28.

Enrollment Closes Today!

FbF Image Final

Today is the last day to join the people who are starting their new year with a different kind of cleanse. Fueled by Facts is my FREE online course that clears away the myths about exercise so you can discover the energy and motivation of fact-based fitness. Enrollment for the January 2018 session will closes today!

This course is designed to be doable. It takes little as five minutes a day to complete, with daily email reminders containing a link to the video of the day so you are sure to complete the course.

Plus …

  • resource links for further learning
  • powerful coaching questions to personalize the learning
  • an interactive comments section to share comments and ask questions
  • a 10% discount on Simply Strong*, my online course on how to strength train

The next enrollment date for a new session of Fueled by Facts will be announced at a later time.  Now is your chance! Click here to start your year Fueled by Facts!

*10% off coupon must be redeemed within 30 days of completing Fueled by Facts