10 Tips For Getting Motivated About Exercise

When it comes to working out, I will admit that when I get into a routine, I feel great and my body thanks me. But when I get out of said routine, it can be incredibly difficult for me to start back up.

I have never been one to run around perky thrilled about exercise; however, when I do work out, I admittedly feel great. Not to mention, my building has a gym, with a sauna and everything. You would think I would be in the gym regularly but, alas, I am currently in a funk. Today I am going to share with you my honest tips about getting back into an exercise routine.

  1. Keep your expectations low: Hear me out. I find that if I do not set any expectations (e.g., I am going to lose 10 lbs in a month). The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology has advocated for a balance in 24-hour movement stating that adults aged 18 to 64 should aim for 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity per week in bouts of 10 minutes or more (CSEP, 2019). That is 30 minutes per weekday. If you keep that as a goal and participate with an open mind, then the benefits will follow.
  2. Keep your exercise routine accessible and likable: If you like the treadmill the most, do 20 minutes on the treadmill and only 10 minutes of weights. If you like hiking, do it. If you hate lunges *me*, do more squats. You do not need to look like a “Victoria’s Secret” model! It is their job to look like that, and they devote all their time for the runway show – including 2-3 hours per day of exercise. Do what you like the most and keep moving!
  3. Find a healthy habit and use it as a reward: For me, it is yoga and sitting in the sauna. I reward myself after working out by devoting 15 mindful minutes alone in the sauna (cue my giant bottle of water! Hello Hydration!) and 15 minutes for yoga. My favourite are the videos available in the new Deliciously Ella app!
  4. Speaking of mindfulness: My gym downstairs has a weak signal, and I honestly thank God for it. Use exercise as half an hour to shut out the world. The e-mails can wait. The calls and texts can wait. Social media does not need to see your #fitspo all the time. I use exercise as an excuse for a quiet time. I play my favourite music; I ignore people, and I give it my all.
    • Side note on social media and exercise: back in the day when I was on Instagram I would spend time taking stories of me on the treadmill etc.; however, I would get lazy in between workouts because I would start scrolling. If social media posting motivates you to work out, then be my guest but do pay attention to the time you devote away from exercise to partake in it. You do not want your post slowing down your heart rate and causing you to begin again for the sake of the ‘gram!
  5. If you do not feel like going to the gym/ exercising, commit to 10 minutes full blast: Somedays I have no interest in going. I am tired; I am busy; I have things to do. During these days, I get my gym clothes on and jump on the treadmill with a 10-minute timer.
  6. Find ways to fit in exercise throughout your day: During my day job, I find ways to achieve in my daily step count. I take the stairs; when I am supervising students, I walk the entire 20 minutes trying not to stop (unless I have to), and I participate in the DPA exercises I assign to my students.
  7. Whatever you love the most, sign up for a class once a week: Ok so, exercise groups can be expensive. I get that. But I recently figured out that the community centres have a lot of programs at a highly competitive cost. Maybe I was slow to the game here. But I signed up for Yoga classes once per week, and I could not have been happier. You can cross off a bunch of minutes per week if you are held accountable. Make sure you like it though! Try spin and if you hate it, see about getting your money back and trying something else!
  8. Apps can help! In #5, I tell you to try and get 10 minutes full blast; another trick is to take advantage of Apps! My husband started with the “7MW” app which is 7 minutes of high intensity. He used this when he was neck-deep writing his dissertation. It took hardly any time out of his day, and he always got in a workout. These apps are great if you work in an office as you can hide out during your lunch.
  9. Pay attention to how you feel: This recommendation is one that is slow to achieve but when you do, you will get why I recommend it. Exercise makes you feel great. Not while you are doing it but over time you will notice some unhealthy feelings creep in when you have been irregular in your exercise routine. In contrast, when you work out regularly you will notice you feel better. Remember even if you get out of your groove, it takes one choice to get back into it.
  10. Go to bed! If you do not sleep regularly, you cannot exercise regularly because you are going to be tired. Get your 8 hours at the same time. This morning my dad walked in after midnight shift (as he has errands to run in the city and I live close to his work) and he asked me why I was up even though I am not at work today. ROUTINE! I feel better if I get up at 6 AM and in bed by 10 PM. Note, you will not feeling the effects right away but give it a month and your days will be more productive.

And there you have it! Anyway, I am off to get my 30 minutes in!

A Healthy Rotation

Dzień dobry! I just got back from Poland where I got married for a second time, visited my husband’s family and had a wonderful mini-moon!

The food in Poland was awesome and I was surprised at the urban food scene in Warsaw that blends traditional recipes using a plant-based approach. If you are interested in the places I travelled, I have pinned the stories on my instagram page. I am definitely looking forward to playing with and developing some recipes to share with you guys soon!

Now that I am home, one thing I have committed to focusing on this summer is rebalance. I know I sound like a broken record but it is something I really struggle with. I have started writing a lot of stuff down, such as “to-do lists” and of course, as I have done in the past, a return back to meal-planning.

As a passionate cook and wannabe recipe developer, I can’t help but naturally approach meal-planning from an eclectic perspective. A little guac here, a little saffron the next day, what can it hurt?

Well, unfortunately – even with meal planning – it can hurt the wallet. If you are not coordinated with your recipes, you amp up the cost of groceries by having to stock a pantry with an array of ingredients that can go to waste if you do not remake the recipe and use up the rest of the item in a timely manner.

Repetitive meal rotations have been written about in a variety of contexts. From the minimalist perspective, eating the same items daily can help eliminate “decision fatigue” as individuals can anticipate the same nutrient-dense and well-balanced items to help them feel good. If I know that on Day 3 of my rotation, I am having spaghetti squash for dinner, then that is what I am having. If I know the repetitive meal rotation, then my grocery shopping just streamlined as I pick up the same items for a while; thus, saving me time and stress.

From a dietary standpoint, repetitive eating rotations have been associated with weight loss. Again, this is due to well-balanced and nutrient-dense meals but also due to predictive portioning. If you eat the same meal plan which has been curated and well thought out in coordination with your lifestyle (e.g., working out, weeknights, shift schedules, overtime etc.) you can truly balance your energy. Your body can anticipate what it needs to digest. You know what you are eating is good for you based on a routine.

Finally, there is a financial standpoint. When you think about the foods that are in season and use them completely, you can help eliminate food waste and save money. Furthermore, if you have a meal prepared in accordance with your lifestyle, it can help with lowering the “convenience food” budget – as I have named it in my Every Dollar App. This is the money I save just in case I end up at work late and need dinner and did not pack anything. If I have a meal prepared along with my emergency protein bars, I can hang on longer recognizing that there is something easy to prepare at home.

So what does this mean for me? As I whittle down my budget with summer unemployment, I am looking for ways to stay healthy but also keep the budget tight. While Dave Ramsey talks about “Beans ‘n Rice, Rice ‘n Beans”, there is something to be said about repetition. The challenge is as follows, a very basic 2-week meal plan in 3 rotations. Breakfasts, snacks, and lunches will be very consistent and there will be a little variety in the dinner menu. Meals will be balanced considering caloric intake based on my lifestyle as well as balance in macronutrients. It is my hope that by taking on this challenge, my wallet, waistline and wellbeing will benefit. Furthermore, while trying to look after myself, I am looking to take the burden of complex meal-planning off of me for just a little while.

Would you ever try repetitive meals? Do you find meal planning a burden? Leave your comments below!