Life Hacks of the Lean and Fit, Part II: 2 Workout Mindsets That Guarantee Success.
Welcome back for another healthy “life hack.” This is a little series that I promised which shares some of the lifestyle habits embraced by healthy, happy, fit people. I love to talk about this stuff, and I hope you do too! (if you missed it, the first in the series, HERE.)
#truth: The way you think about your workouts will determine how far you make it with your health and fitness goals.
From my own experience, as well as years of personal training, and talking to people who embody health and fitness, I have found TWO MINDSETS consistently evident in the lives of successful people.
Let’s look at them now!
1. Exercise as a non-negotiable.
People who make exercise a long-term habit are much more likely to get fit and stay fit. There is a big difference between committing to a workout plan with the goal of quickly dropping some weight or looking good for a vacation, and deciding that you will exercise routinely, for the rest of your life.
It’s a lifestyle.
And no– IT’S NOT EASY. IF IT WERE EASY, (as the saying goes,) EVERYONE WOULD DO IT.
But you’re not everyone. And you know the benefits of consistent exercise, right? Well, just in case you don’t, let me remind you of just a few of the benefits of exercising consistently over the long-haul:
A healthier heart, as well as all vessels running to and from your heart; decreased blood pressure; lower blood sugar levels (less chance of diabetes,) greater lung capacity, decreased body fat, increased energy, more muscle tone, less chance of injury as you age, greater enjoyment of everyday activities, decreased stress, increased sexual satisfaction, better sleep, better overall mood.
I’ll stop there, but trust me—there are many more.
Working out is incredibly good for you in almost every way.
My brother has a favorite analogy on this topic. Lance, who at age forty suffered a stroke (he was a stressed out lawyer, neglecting his health,) is now a 47 year old triathlete, enjoying the best health of his life (still a lawyer, but learning balance and committed to health and fitness.) Lance compares exercise to brushing your teeth: No one really feels like bruising their teeth, right? (unless you just went heavy on the garlic,) but you brush your teeth because you know you should. It’s good for you, and you know it, so you do it. You do it out of fear of cavities, drills, or false teeth. You know the benefits of good oral hygiene. And one thing for sure–You never regret brushing your teeth! No one ever lays down in bed and says “Dang, I wish I didn’t brush my teeth tonight!”
Exercise works the same way: Sure, physically fit people don’t always feel like working out. But they do it out of commitment. They do it without thinking or questioning. They do it to avoid diabetes, obesity, or a heart attack. They do it because they know the benefits, and they know that at the end of the day–they’ll never regret a workout.
Commit to a lifestyle of fitness, and you are guaranteed to see results.
2. Exercise as an Identity
Some people workout, but would never call themselves “an athlete,” “a runner,” or even “fit.” But owning an identity can really be powerful! If you want to be lean and fit, start calling yourself an athlete, and be proud of it. If you run, I dare you to call yourself “a runner.” If you do yoga, or crossfit, or jazzersize (is that still a thing?) then give yourself that name.
Claim your workout as part of your identity, and speak and act as the person you are becoming. Sure, you may be a long ways from your goals, but if you’re committed, you are already in a select category. Own that with pride.
Along those lines, I really encourage you to make your workout schedule a priority, and not let things get in the way. For example, if you have company staying at your home, and you normally exercise in the morning, let them know the night before “I might be out walking (or at the gym, etc.) in the morning, but help yourself to coffee and I’ll be home by eight.” People will understand and respect this. If you travel, pack your tennis shoes and scout out a good jogging path, or look into a gym at a hotel. You deserve this, and I promise you’ll feel better at the end of your travels if you’ve kept up on your workouts while you’re away.
The point is: Your behavior will most often follow whatever identity you are embracing. So when it comes to your workouts, decide who you want to be, and wear that identity loud and proud!
There are a more Life Hacks coming over the next weeks, so stay tuned. I hope you’ll pin and share this post if it encouraged you!
If you’ve made workouts a consistent part of your lifestyle, I’d love to hear some of your personal strategies. Any tips you can share with everyone here? Questions or specific struggles in this area? Please share in comments!
Okay it sounds stupid but I sleep in what I’m going to workout in the next morning! Everything ready to go! Dog waiting for his run! I’ve also trained the dog to run with me for school runs! I exercise everyday but Sunday when I just walk. Love it.
I love that idea–sleeping in your workout clothes–so great! 🙂 Thanks for sharing. xo
Funny how so much of success is determined by mindset, yeah? Think like a thin person, behave like a thin person, become/stay a thin person. And here, think like an athlete, behave like an athlete, become/stay an athlete (or at least in athlete-shape).
What has really helped me with staying consistent lately is giving myself flexibility in my training. If I feel like I need an extra rest day, I take one, or I do some gentle yoga, or I just enjoy an extra long walk with my dog. If strength training sounds like fun and I had planned to go on a run, I’ll do strength training instead, or at least cut the run a little short and then have fun with resistance training for an hour. Of course, I still mainly stick with my structured workouts…say, at least 80% of the time 😉 …but giving myself grace to make these little switch-ups when I really need them is a big key to being able to stay motivated and keep enjoying my workouts.
Thanks, Monica!! About 3 years ago a girlfriend invited me to join a gym with her–I was overweight, and skeptical, having never been a “gym person” before. Now, I’ve lost 30 lbs and I feel great and I love exercising!! I exercise several times a week and I miss it when I can’t make it. My personal trainer is a Godsend–last week she told me–“you can’t think of exercise as sprinting, but, you can’t think of it as a marathon, either–because marathons end and this is for life!” I thought that was so true. She helped me get into the mindset–to go out and buy exercise clothes that fit properly–just like I would wear the proper attire if I were going to a job. When I lost a considerable amount of weight, she went shopping with me to help me find a new dress in my new size for a fundraiser I was attending! She’s amazing! In addition to seeing her once a week, I also try to mix it up with other fun exercise classes like Zumba, Aqua Zumba, Spinning, yoga, etc. also, walking outside in the fresh air with a friend is always fun….keeping it fun and changing it up is what works for me!
I couldn’t have said this any better! I absolutely believe that once our minds truly understand and accept that exercise is a lifestyle choice and commitment, we can really start seeing long term results. As you said, that in turn snowballs into this positive mindset of allowing us to identify ourselves as athletic. Anyway, nothing else for me to add because you said it best! 😉 Thanks for sharing.
Yes, this is just what I have learned and am working on making my lifestyle. I started running and would never want to call myself a “runner.” Then I did a 5K race, and I was so proud, I found myself just telling people, “Yeah, I run. I’m a runner,” and I would laugh a little because it sounded funny. But it’s part of me now, and I am proud! Thank you for the encouragement.
This is so good, and so obvious, but funny how hard it can be at the same time! It’s easy for me to get into a workout plan when I have a short term goal, then I lose the steam and end up doing nothing for months. I really desire to make it a lifestyle. Thank you for the motivation!
MONICA!! I LOVE these and they are SO TRUE! They are also true of any thing you are working toward or see as a goal in life….. very interchangeable for life in general!!
I am a 42 year old stay at home mom and was very fit in high school and college. I was able to lose weight for the weekend or an event just by thinking about it for a day or so (wish that were still true.) But, after my 3rd baby that required 4 bladder surgeries in 1 year after her birth….. I realized my core was weak, my muscles were weak and I was quickly becoming unhealthy. My BFF and I joined the gym together (which REALLY helps) and almost immediately I was seeing changes.
I’ll admit I did not SEE changes immediately, but I felt them! It turns out at 42 diet plays a BIG role, as you know. I wanted to work out and still eat what I wanted and that just didn’t create the changes it did when I was younger.
I made the commitment to go Monday through Friday, no matter what! It worked a lot better than every other day or 3 days a week. 1. because it created a habit and 2. if something did come up like a field trip or school event, I didn’t feel guilty because I am already going 4 other days. NOW, I will even fit in a day on the weekend or a night workout because I actually MISS it when I don’t go! When you go every single day or even do it at home every single day you WILL keep doing it!
I started with FUN classes and easy workouts with a commitment to increasing intensity each week. I’m AMAZED at what I can do now that I couldn’t even think about doing only a few short months ago. They have a neat machine at the gym (as I’m sure all of you can ask about) that measures your BMI, Fat %, Muscle mass and weight all at one time! When you feel like nothing is happening, it is so encouraging to step on this machine and see that you might not have lost a pound on your scale, BUT turns out you gained tons of muscle and lost weight in fat!! Woo HOO!!
LOVE this series. Thanks Monica!!