How to Fall in Love with Exercise

Excerpted from MASTERING YOUR MEAN GIRL by Melissa Ambrosini (TarcherPerigee; March 22, 2016; a division of Penguin Random House; copyright Melissa Ambrosini 2016.)

These days, I love exercise so much that it’s a nonnegotiable part of my daily routine. But it wasn’t always like that, and I know how tough it can be when you’re starting out. Here are my favorite ways to fall in love with movement and get the most out of your workouts:

  • Find something you enjoy. Whether it’s boxing, yoga, soft-sand running, Nia dance, barre, weights, Pilates, competitive sports, walking, swimming, paddle-boarding, dancing, whatever . . . it really doesn’t matter what form of movement it is, as long as you are having fun and getting your heart rate up each day.
  • Mix it up. I have a friend who has done the same aerobics classes for almost eighteen years and wonders why she doesn’t get results. Of course, any exercise is good for you, but your body likes diversity. It needs to be “surprised” by doing different activities to keep it guessing and growing.
  • Train with your bestie. I love exercising with my besties; you get to catch up and do a workout—double whammy of goodness! However, it’s always good to plan a little catch-up either before or after your workout. That way you won’t talk the entire way through the session . . . (guilty!).
  • Work out from love, not fear. I used to slog it out on the treadmill for an hour because I hated what I saw in the mirror—totally a fear-based way of operating. Now I work out because I love the way it makes me feel.
  • Don’t think you need to always be pushing your body to exhaustion. Gentle, nurturing movements like walking are great for your body and mind. I love holistic whole-body movements like yoga, Pilates, and barre. I also love incidental exercise like playing cricket in the park with Leo.
  • Utilize the power of music. Create kick-arse playlists to enhance your workouts—a high-energy one for when you feel like getting your heart pumping and a softer, more gentle one for your walks in nature and yoga practice.
  • Quit listening to your Mean Girl. Know that the voice that says, “I can’t go any further!” or “I can’t hold a plank pose for two minutes!” is just your Mean Girl. Our bodies are amazing and are capable of awesome things. So be aware of when your Mean Girl tries to tell you otherwise.

Inspo – action

Struggling to make time for exercise? You must schedule it in your calendar if you want to get it done. As you know, I love digital calendars, because I can color code the different areas of my life. I have my workout sessions in yellow, which repeats every day at six a.m. That way, my Mean Girl can’t provide sneaky reasons not to do it.

Now, there are going to be times when stuff comes. That’s okay. However, scheduling it in your calendar sets you up for success and makes it so much more likely to happen. We are creatures of habit, so if you book it in at the same time each day you’re more likely to make it happen, plus you take out the thinking process. If you don’t schedule it you’re likely to let it slide today, then tomorrow and the next day. Before you know it, three months have gone by without a single session. So if you didn’t do it before, pop it in your calendar now! Your body and mind will thank you.

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