Happy, Healthy and Motivated: Let's Get Started!
How many times have you hit the snooze button to skip your morning workout? How often does something come up during your work day that causes you to miss your evening workout? Maybe you once were an avid gym-goer but you are struggling to find the motivation to get back into it. Or maybe you haven’t been able to stick to an exercise program for longer than it takes to Google search “how to get fit fast.”
Whatever hurdles you’ve faced, the barriers to exercise are real. Lack of time, lack of energy, lack of motivation, lack of support, lack of enjoyment and many many more. As we begin a new year, now is the time to set yourself up for success both personally and professionally. In this FitBliss 3-part blog series, we will discuss how to find time and motivation to stay active while you juggle work, personal, family and social commitments.
But first, where does motivation come from?
There are two types of motivation – intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation is doing something because you enjoy it or you are interested in it. Think of something you like doing, whether it’s reading, cooking, or catching up with friends. You probably don’t have to think twice about doing these things because you genuinely love the feeling you get from doing them. Extrinsic motivation is doing something for an external reward. If you join the company steps challenge solely to win that Amazon gift card, you are extrinsically motivated. And hey, there is nothing wrong with that!
Research has shown that intrinsic motivation is favorable for long term adherence to an activity. However, intrinsic vs extrinsic is not a story of good vs evil. In fact, external rewards can be used as motivation to try new activities that wouldn’t have otherwise caught your attention. Over time, as these new skills are mastered, the activity becomes enjoyable, personally rewarding or even exciting, and there is a shift towards intrinsic motivation to engage in the activity. Keep reading to find out why intrinsic motivation is so important.
FitTip: Always ask yourself “why” you do what you do. External rewards will eventually fall away so make sure your “why” has more internal motivators because they will be what keep you engaged in the long run (literally!).
The Business Traveler
I’m sure you’ve heard it before, “That’s so fun you get to travel for work!” But any road warriors out there know the reality. You’re up at 3am to catch your flight, you’re in meetings all day, and you can’t even count the number of times your watch alerted you of a new email. You eat the sandwiches provided for lunch, you grab dinner and drinks with your colleagues or clients and you get 6 hours of sleep, if you’re lucky. Airport lounges and fancy hotels aren’t as glamorous when skipping workouts, a poor diet and increased alcohol consumption can put you at risk of serious health problems.
The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. The minimum recommended amount of consecutive activity time is only 10 minutes. While a 60-minute workout class or a 30-minute run might be off the table when you’re traveling, you can break up your physical activity into 10-minute bouts throughout the day. In 5 days, that’s only three 10-minute sessions per day! Try a 10-minute brisk walk around the block, walk up and down the hotel or office stairs, schedule a walking meeting, or squeeze in 10 minutes of body-weight strength exercises such as wall sits, push ups and planks.
If your hotel doesn't have a gym or it's the absolute last place we'll ever find you, connect with a buddy from your home office or the office you’re visiting and turn physical activity into a game. Use the FitBliss platform and create a steps or active minutes challenge and the winner buys dinner at the end of the week. Use extrinsic motivation (the dinner) to get you moving, but pay attention to your intrinsic motivators (your “why”) and how an activity makes you feel. Over time, you will likely enjoy the feeling of exercising and the mental break that physical activity provides.
Sneak in a quick workout
There is a lot of research around morning vs evening workouts. One argument is that morning exercisers are more likely to stick to a fitness routine because there is less opportunity for something to come up during the day and disrupt an evening workout. The benefits of regular physical activity are the same morning to night so for the purpose of the busy business traveler or anyone trying to manage their work-life balance, the best time to be active is when you will actually do it!
If you are a morning person, set your alarm 10-30 minutes earlier than normal and start with some light dynamic stretching like side bends, shoulder rolls and hip circles. Give your muscles time to wake up with controlled body-weight exercises such as squats, lunges, push-ups and planks. Then try a HIIT session (Tabata method is my personal favorite!) to really get your blood pumping. Body-weight workouts will come in handy when you’re traveling since your resources and time are limited. If you prefer equipment, pack something light like a jump rope or a resistance band, and make sure you opt for the stairs whenever it's possible.
If you are not a morning person, try to get your body moving at different times throughout the day. If an all-day conference has you stuck to a chair, try going back to your hotel room before you meet your colleagues for dinner and squeeze in 10-30 minutes of physical activity. It might seem hard to find a window of time for exercise, so try putting it on your calendar and committing to this time for yourself. Once you’ve finished your workout, you’ll be in a better state of mind, you’ll sleep better that night and you’ll be more productive the next day. What are you waiting for!?
Fit Tip: If you are in a new city for work, see if you can find a gym or two near your hotel that offer a free first class. Sign up and mark your calendar!
Let's get started!
Motivation is something so many of us struggle with so do your best to identify your intrinsic and extrinsic motivators and try to avoid being hard on yourself. Every day is a fresh start and an opportunity to get back on track.
If you're a busy mom or dad, stay tuned next month for part 2 of this FitBliss motivation blog series focusing on busy families. Also coming soon is part 3 where you will find ways to stay physically active without ditching your social life.
Kelsey Radloff, CPT
FitBliss Customer Success & Program Manager
Kelsey is the FitBliss Customer Success & Program Manager. Kelsey is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and an ACE Fitness Nutrition Specialist. In addition to her full time work with FitBliss, she teaches group fitness classes at a variety of studios in San Francisco and also trains clients individually. Kelsey has a BA in Business Economics and a minor in Exercise and Health Science. She then continued her education to obtain a MA in Kinesiology. She is excited about helping people balance health and wellness in the workplace and at different stages of life.
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