By LMQC Battle of the Bulge blogger, Alan Sivell, St. Ambrose communications professor, RAGBRAI-er, pizza lover and longtime weight watcher.
The average American gains a pound a year between the ages of 25 and 60.
Trust me, I was as average as they came a few years ago. My trouble was food (too much). My friend’s trouble, however, is exercise (too little).
Stephen is trying to add workouts to his schedule. He belongs to a gym that’s clean, inexpensive, and has enough equipment for everyone who walks in the door.
But he’s not satisfied.
He’s searching for motivation. He says that’s what’s been missing from his gym experiences.
“People don’t have the motivation to get to the gym everyday,” he says.
So he’s gym-shopping for a place that includes motivation.
The trouble is, motivation for one is irritation for someone else. A class might motivate one person enough to show up. But I – for one – dislike classes.
(I know, I’m a teacher. Weird.)
Lone exercise became a habit early in life for me. If I don’t get my exercise early in the morning, I’m a bit off kilter all day. (Okay, cranky.)
I’ve tried other habits, like nail-biting and drinking like a pro. Neither took, thank goodness.
(The latter makes a good answer when anyone complains that I go to the gym too much – an hour a day, 5 days a week. If it’s my wife who is doing the complaining, I ask, “Would you rather I go to a bar?”)
So, what’s my workout motivation?
I think I’ve always loved to move. I love feeling healthy, and doing what I can to maintain my fitness.
I love knowing I’m in good shape and plan to stay in good shape.
Seems like an hour a day to support your health and comfort isn’t too high a price tag.
But motivation doesn’t come in a one size fits all format.
Stephen tried a gym class recently, but that didn’t work.
“I faked having to go to the bathroom for a break,” he says. “I might have burned up a lot of calories, but I didn’t enjoy it. I probably won’t go back.”
Hard to argue with that. But there are alternatives to pure enjoyment as motivation.
Try vanity. Think how much better your clothes will fit.
Or fear. The CDC reports a 1.4% annual increase in cancers in overweight 20- to 49-year-old people.
Or, hey, if that doesn’t work for you, try watching TV while you work out! (I watched all the old Perry Masons last year. Couldn’t wait for the next morning!)
Find your motivator and develop a workout habit.
Just like other lifestyle changes – quitting smoking, adopting a healthful diet – regular exercising requires commitment, and patience. You might fail a few times before you succeed.
No matter how busy you are, there’s almost always a few minutes here or there that can be “banked” and put together for a walk, bike ride or gym session.
If you don’t want to end up carrying an extra 35 pounds by the time you’re my age, get up and out. You’ll be happy in the end!
|Meet Battle of the Bulge blogger, Alan Sivell. Alan is a communications professor at St. Ambrose University and a former reporter for WQAD-TV who has exercised – and dieted – his entire life. Read Alan’s other blog posts.|