Getting started & sticking with a Fitness routine

This is for those of you who are not yet exercising. Who think perhaps that you don’t need to, or can’t. This is also for those who tend to take LOOOONG breaks in their fitness routine ever so often on some vague pretext or the other, those who tend to keep ‘falling off the wagon’ so to speak.

I’ve heard ALL the excuses –

– I don’t have time

– I don’t need to, (I am slim, I don’t have any medical disorders etc etc)

– I have tried in the past but have always failed, so why try again???

– I hate exercise, I can’t find anything I like to do.

Well, here is the news flash – you HAVE to exercise whatever your shape size, job, family situation etc etc. TIME?? I haven’t heard of anyone who has more than 24 hours in a day, so you haven’t been singled out with a shortage of time. Strangely, I find the busiest people are the ones who “find” the time to workout. No, actually they do not “find” the time they “make” the time. It’s all about priorities. You have to decide what is more important to you. Watching that TV serial or yakking on the phone or getting in a quick 30 minute workout. Once you ascertain a priority list, then the hour you spend working out becomes nonnegotiable. You magically “find” the time.

If you cant find anything you LIKE to do, just do it anyway!! Exercise is not meant to entertain you! Grow up, sometimes we just need to do what we need to do! Surprisingly, after doing it often enough, your body begins to recognize it as something you essentially do and is able to cope with the drudgery of it. It’s really all about perspective. You start looking at it as something that makes you look, feel and BE better.

Sometimes I think one of the reasons people don’t start at all is because the goals they set for themselves are so daunting that they don’t know where to begin! They expect results overnight, they think about the terribly difficult task ahead, they imagine the struggle they are faced with and just back off in frustration.

They key is to set simple, realistic goals. More important, to set more than one single goal. Make sure the goals are not all focused on your weight on the scale because, really, that is NOT the only reason you need to exercise.

Even goals like –

– I will workout 5 days a week

– I will aim to burn 100 calories more per workout next week

– I will fill in my food journal everyday and pay attention to what I eat everyday

– I will be more active during the course of the day and not plant myself in front of the Tv for more than 15 minutes at a time

– I will do sit-ups at every commercial break on Tv………….. are all goals that you can very well follow and feel pleased about achieving.

It’s not hard. Start with a 15 minute a day walk. Cover a certain distance. Increase the time to 20-30 minutes. Increase the distance you cover in that time. Add weight training to your routine at least twice a week. 20 minutes a session. Increase the intensity.

Get more active during the day. Don’t sit on your butt all day. Move as much as possible.

One of the greatest inventions is the PEDOMETER. It clocks the number of steps you take a day. Put it on and try to cover at least 10,000 steps every day.

Find a mentor. This could be an integral part of keeping you motivated. This is something like an AA sponsor/guide who is responsible for your progress!! You become accountable to them. You feel bad if you don’t show up for your workout. You feel guilty for letting them down. That’s great to start with. It keeps you motivated. After a while (hopefully) you start feeling responsible for yourself and are able to stand on your own two feet.

Gradually it becomes a habit. An integral part of your day that you are loath to miss. You start seeing results (however slow) in your body that you appreciate and this motivates you to keep going. You try new things. Zumba to your cardio. Pilates for your Core. Oh yes it CAN be fun too!

Frequent travel

I travel on work every month or at least once in every six weeks. I live in two places (or at least I try to!) which means I have two homes, two wardrobes and basically two lives. Sounds like fun? Yes, it can be but not always. Sometimes it just takes the mickey out of you!

So I was away last week in Chennai. It was hot, humid and dusty. Of course, I was indoors most of the time.

My main gripe is that, much as I try, my exercise routine goes out of gear. And I hate that. And mind you this is despite the fact that I own and run a gym in Chennai!! I do get in some great workouts with my trainers, but I think I just need to be more disciplined.  Somehow, I have taken to sleeping in a little when I am there. Being an Obgyn (that’s Obstetrician & Gynecologist) in my other life, sleep is a scarce commodity and is practically revered! So, that’s my excuse for ‘sleeping in’ when I know I will not be woken by the hospital intercom at night.

Well anyway, point is, it’s not easy