Turning exercise information into motivation, part 5

Turning exercise information into motivation, part 3-8.pngHave you seen these “inspirational” fitness quotes in the popular media?

Better sore, than sorry

Sweat is just fat crying

Sore, the most satisfying pain

Wake up. Work out. Kick ass. Repeat.

Winners make goals, losers make excuses

Making excuses burns zero calories per hour

Three months from now, you will thank yourself

I will make sweat my best accessory, I will run harder than my mascara

Running is nothing more than a series of arguments between the part of your brain that wants to stop and the part that wants to keep going

Inspirational quotes are designed to motivate—to remind us of a “need or desire that causes us to act”. Thanks to social media, we constantly see and hear these waves of inspirational sayings designed to motivate us.

When do these powerful waves of “inspiration” lead to a drought of motivation to exercise? Take a look at those popular quotes again. What do you notice? The underlying messages  reflect what I hear from 95% of the patients and clients I see for the first time. It is the strong belief that to get “results” from exercise, you need to suffer and if you are tough enough to get through that suffering, you will “see results”. It might be expressed in their exercise history, or just a simple eye roll when I ask them about exercise.  But it is there for nearly everyone I talk to about exercise. It keeps them either exercising and feeling like they are just not working hard enough to get “results”, or not exercising and feeling like a “loser” for making excuses.

In this flood of information about how to get motivated, we have lost our way.  Research is SO clear about this; criticism, being tough on yourself drains motivation, and kindness  leads to lasting motivation.  Sure, a good kick in the butt or a wake-up call can get us motivated. Certainly, there are times we do need to handle suffering to get results. Certain medical treatments, like chemo, require putting your head down, doing what you have to do to be healthy again. Athletes need to push through grueling workouts to get that competitive edge.  It’s the only way through certain things in life.

The problem with this approach is it’s not built for sustainability. It is designed for getting from point A to point B. If, however, if your goal is to live as healthy and well as you possibly can for your whole life, point A and B are now, and each moment for the rest of your life.  The paradox is, this is the  “real results” most of us want from exercise.

Rest assured, kindness does not mean you will “let yourself off the hook”, quite the opposite. It means recognizing suffering is a red flag that what you are doing is not sustainable. It means  listening to, and trusting your body as your best guide. This is the real challenge, because it asks us to go against the tidal wave of misguided inspiration.  Get real inspiration, and real results, from what we know about motivation and movement science. Exercise is most sustaining when it is an act of self-care. That’s inspirational!

“We are not meant to be perfect.

We are meant to be whole.

It took me a long time to learn that.”

~Jane Fonda

Turning exercise information into motivation, part 3

Turning exercise information into motivation, part 3-3One of the “as sure as rain” ways to drain exercise motivation is to ignore the principles of exercise training. Principles are fundamental truths or a basis for understanding how something works. The principle properties of water tell us it freezes at 0°C and boils at 100°C.  It is a scientific fact upon which we can expect water to behave.

Exercise principles are the bases for understanding how our body changes with, and without, exercise. They are not, however, great selling points for fitness products.  Who wants to hear that your body will change slowly, or you have a very slim chance of having arms like Michelle Obama (unless you are Michelle Obama!), and that the grueling exercise program you did to get fit, you need to keep doing to stay fit?

Since these truths are usually not even in the fine print of fitness ads, here they are in big bold print.

  1. EXPECT results to vary. The principle of Individuality states every body responds differently to exercise; person to person, day to day. This principle is subconsciously forgotten when we see a body-perfect model in an advertisement and directly ignored when someone tries to sell you what worked for them.  When we expect linear results and try to outsmart a plateau, we have forgotten this fact as well. Pay attention to YOUR body.  Expect day-to-day fluctuations. Embrace your body’s uniqueness. 
  2. Enough IS truly enough. The principle of Progressive Overload states the body gradually adapts when it is challenged at the just-right level. If you give a plant just the right amount of water, light, and nutrients, it can’t help but grow stronger. Give it too much or too little of what it needs, and it withers. Our body grows the same way, gradually and only with the just-right amount of challenge. It can’t be jump started, out smarted, or over-challenged, and expected to give you quicker results. Ignoring this only means more pain and less progress. Science tells us the natural rate of growth of the body (at most) is 10% per week!  That’s it! Find YOUR enough.  Give it to your body regularly.  Trust the natural process. 
  3. What you practice gets stronger. The principle of Specificity basically means your body adapts to what you give it regularly. Walk regularly to get stronger for walking, squat regularly to get stronger for picking up and lifting. This may sound obvious, but it is ignored when we do a program that was specifically designed for improving athletic or military performance and expect to improve health and function for daily life. Plan for what YOU want. Exercise for that purpose. Practice regularly.  
  4. Your body adapts, in both directions. The principal of Reversibility says our body gets used to what we give it. Give it regular movement, it will get better at moving. Give it regular stillness, it will get very good at not moving. Intense programs that put a time frame on getting fit ignore the fact that what you do to get fit needs to be sustainable, if you want those results to last. This principle also reminds us, if you find your self “out of shape” at any stage of life, you can reverse that too. The principle works both ways.  Find what you enjoy.  Do it regularly.  Enjoy lasting results.

Exercise in a way that is true to your body and your motivation is much more likely to be true to you.

“It just clicked!”

light-bulb-1713744_1920A month ago, I was chatting with an acquaintance about how she was struggling with keeping her weight off and sticking with an exercise plan.  She was so frustrated by her busy schedule and lack of energy to exercise. I suggested she check out my free online course, Fueled by Facts.

Yesterday, I ran into her again. She looked “lighter.” She smiled when she saw me and said “I am doing it! I can’t believe it! Something clicked after watching one of those sessions and I realized, I am doing this for me!”  She described how she tried exercising in the morning with a yoga program she had downloaded but never used. Exercising before work, to her amazement, did not make her more tired. She could not believe how easy it was to stick with it now!

Because my mission is to help people discover how movement can be a resource for enjoying life, I gave her a big high five and walked away thinking “mission accomplished!”

But wait, she only did my FREE program online. If this information is so powerful, why would I give it away for free? After thirty years of listening to stories just like this, watching the fitness industry complicate exercise with myths, and seeing how fact-based information makes fitness easier, my mission became so clear, I just had to share it.

Now, I can’t guarantee it will “click” for you. But I can say you will clear away some myths and uncover information you can use right away to discover more about this amazing resource for enjoying life.

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 tonight! 

Why definitions matter

Day #2 of Fueled by Facts, your 30-day fitness myths cleanse poses this simple question:  How do you define fitness?

Is your fitness level defined by your ability to:

  • take 10,000 steps a day?
  • run a mile in 5 minutes?
  • touch your toes?
  • look a certain way?
  • bench press a certain weight?

That depends on your goal. If you want to win a body-building or a steps competition, or place first in a 5K or a weight-lifting competition, then yes, your fitness would be defined by the competition.

If you want to be healthy and well, here is your Whole-person definition of fitness:


Click here to sign up for FREE today to discover more about your definition of fitness. You will receive an email each day with a link to a short (less than five minutes) video. Clear away the myths and misconceptions and enjoy the energy and motivation that comes from fact-based fitness.

Enrollment closes on Sunday January 28, 2018. The new session starts February 1.

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