No matter how committed you may be to your fitness, you will undoubtedly go through interruptions to your regular exercise routine due to illness, social engagements, travel, etc. Although I have been regularly active for a long time, I sometimes find these interruptions difficult to recover from – especially if the interruption is a lengthy one. Fortunately, I’ve been using a simple solution that seems to jumpstart my activity after a period of extended inactivity.
First off, it is key to note that I try to exercise even when I’m on vacation; I don’t think I’ve ever stayed at a hotel and not used their gym. In fact, when we were backpacking through South America last summer, instead of an extra paid of underwear, I brought along my skipping rope (a decision I regretted on a number of occasions). And when all that fails, I’ve been known to use my luggage and whatever furniture is available to get a quick workout.
The problem occurs when I haven’t been able to get a decent workout in a while. When this happens, as time passes I become progressively less motivated to get back into the exercise routine. With every day of inactivity I sense as though the hurdle that I need to overcome to be active again becomes greater.
Part of the problem is that I enjoy intense workouts. When I take some time off, I know I won’t be able to bring the same level of intensity I did when I was regularly exercising for some time. And this very thought is what discourages me from getting back on the horse, so to speak.
Thus, whenever I am in such a slump, I allow myself a series of “going through the motions” workouts. In essence, I force myself to go to the gym or on a run, with a very simple goal: simply to do something. On such days, I will run slower, lift less weight, and generally push very little during the workout. Sometimes I may even do a fraction of my normal workout. It really doesn’t matter. At the end of it, I did something and tomorrow’s workout will be that much better.
I’ve recently found that this change in thinking is just what I need to jumpstart my exercise routine when I’ve fallen off the wagon. While having an intense workout after a week of inactivity seems like a daunting task, merely putting on your gym clothes and half-heartedly doing a couple push-ups is much more achievable.
I mention this idea as just a few days ago I had to play this trick on myself to jumpstart my workout routine after a week of too much food and drink, and not enough movement or sleep, while attending a good friend’s wedding in the Dominican Republic.
What tricks do you play on yourself to keep yourself motivated and dedicated to maintaining your activity level?