GUEST WRITER BLOG POST BY KASSIDY GAMBLE:
Growing up, sports were always a requirement in my family. Before I got to middle school, I had been on soccer, softball and swim teams, taken gymnastic classes, spent my summers as a junior lifeguard and more. Finally, right before middle school, I decided competitive dancing was the sport for me. For eight years on, I immersed myself in dance culture. I went to the studio every night for classes or private lessons, I counted music as it played on the radio on my way to school and constantly bought new and proper dance attire.
The dance world is intense. Competing for high award-winning studios left me working to catch up to my fellow dancers’ years of experience and perform at their level. Our routines were high-energy and I never took a dance class without conditioning. Dance gave me the strength I needed and I never felt the need to worry how my body looked.
Then, I left the dance world behind with high school and began college. Being in college was the first time I had not been involved in a communal sport. The responsibility of getting myself to the gym and exercising my body was now all up to me. And boy, this was difficult. Between classes and spending time with friends, there didn’t seem to be any time to work out. But the less I worked out, the more I gained insecurities about my body that I hadn’t had before. I realized I had to commit myself to my fitness journey and my body. Because there was no one else that was going to do this for me.
It’s easy to get into the habit of not exercising. Time passes by and there are other things to be checked off the list. But if you’re like me – used to consistently being in a sport and love moving your body – you may want to follow these tips to motivate yourself and get back into a fitness routine:
- Take it slow.
Maybe you’re on Instagram, see people with perfect, model bodies and want to look just like them immediately – this is definitely something I am guilty of! But know that the process takes time. Be patient with yourself. As long as you are showing up to the gym or wherever it may be, even if it’s just for a half an hour, you are making a difference with your body. You don’t need to push yourself over the edge; you simply need to show up for yourself.
- Set a routine.
Finding the motivation to work out every day can be hard if you haven’t been exercising regularly. Try starting off by dedicating two days each week to working out. That way, you can decide which days are best for you and set aside a couple hours of those days for exercise. By setting a routine, you won’t have to stress on finding extra time in your busy day and you prepare your mind for the days when you know you are exercising.
- Be present in your practice.
Okay, you’ve decided that you are going to exercise; you’re dressed and ready to go. Whether you’re at the gym, on a trail or at home, allow yourself this time to be fully present. Try to release any to-do lists or crowding thoughts from your head. Listen to music or focus on your movement and pushing yourself a little bit harder. You didn’t decide to exercise just to think about all of the other things you need to do. Take advantage of this time not only physically, but mentally. Take a break from everything else and be here.
- Change up your choice of exercise. Does getting up and going to the gym feel like the last thing you want to do today? Try going for a walk, taking a free yoga class from a studio you’ve never been to before or even having a little dance party in your room!
Move your body in a different way; one that doesn’t seem like a chore.As long as you still break a sweat and get your heart racing a bit, you did your job. There’s no need to stick to one form of exercise all the time, especially if you’re not feeling it that day.
- Find what motivation works for you.
Personally, workout videos on Instagram inspire me to try new exercises and get out of bed! But there are a lot of different ways to get motivated. Start paying attention to when you are most incentivized to work out. Is it in the early morning or late afternoon? Do you feel more excited when you are listening to your favorite upbeat music? Or when you down a green smoothie or pre-workout mix? Chances are you won’t want to work out after a big meal so try to go beforehand. Think about these little things and get in the right mindset for working out each time.
If starting (or re-starting) your fitness journey has been on your mind lately, it’s time to commit. Changing your mindset is the first step; get excited about it! Exercising shouldn’t be a punishment but something that is fun and energizing. I know that I am not always motivated each day to get up and go, but it’s worth it. Every. Single. Time. After I finish a work out session, I never regret it.
You owe it to yourself to start moving and connecting with your body again. Treat your fitness journey as an act of self-love and don’t worry about doing it imperfectly; just start somewhere.