Exercise Proof Your Workouts

I know:  You’d never miss a gym or personal training session if only you had more time/ energy/ you-name-it.  Wanna blow past your roadblocks and meet these get-fit goals? Then read on.

  We all have our reasons for not working out.  Some are legit–we’re working late or nursing an injury–but often we’re just talking ourselves out of exercising.  We make excuses to reduce what’s called cognitive dissonance.  If we are committed to exercise and yet don’t do it, the excuse allows us to feel less dissonance or discomfort.

  That’s not to say you’re lazy; it’s a normal response.  The secret to countering it?  Get into the habit of working out.  When you do that, you’re brain flips a switch and develops a “healthy obsession”, which makes you want  to get moving.  Until then, here’s how to overcome your top four gym and personal training deterrents.

  1.  I’m too pooped.
REATLY:  It’s the number reason you blow off workouts.  Know this, though:  Studies have shown that regular physical activity can improve energy.  If you don’t believe me, commit to a week of exercise and see if you notice the difference.

  Of course for many of you out there who workout or personal train in the morning, simply getting out of bed can be tough.  If that’s you, download the Sleep Cycle  alarm clock app ($.99; iTunes).  Then place your phone on an upper corner of your mattress and set the app’s alarm for a 30-minute window; your iPhone’s built-in accelerometer measures your subtle movements, and the app wakes you up when you’re in your lighted sleep phase, when you’re most rested and ready to get active.  Prefer working out at the end of the day (when you circadian rhythms want to chill)?  Enlist in an exercise buddy or personal trainer-–it’ll make it harder to skip the gym (especially with the personal trainer who will more than likely charge you for the session if you miss it).

  2. There aren’t enough hours in the day.
REALTY:  You’re busy for sure.  But the time is there.  If you work 50 hours a week and sleep eight hours a night, that leaves 62 hours for other things.  And the American Heart Association says 75 minutes of vigorous exercise is all you need to squeeze in each week to improve your health.  To find pockets of unused time, keep a 24-hour log of one week day and one week end day.  You’ll see where you can slip in mini chunks of exercise.  And you know, most people could take a 30-minute walk over their lunch hour.

  3.  I don’t want to redo my hair and makeup.
REALTY:  You can take care of post-workout primping in five minutes flat with this regimen:  Give your sweaty spots a once-over with an antibacterial wipe, and do the same on your face, using an all-in-one cleansing pad.  Next, apply a beauty balm, which is similar to a tinted moisturizer, but with the added benefits of a primer and blemish control ointment.  Touch up mascara and use a three-in-one color stick to add shimmer to eyes, cheeks, and lips.  Finally, apply a little dry shampoo to the crown of your head to freshen up your hair, and you’re done.

  4.  Exercise makes me eat more.
REALTY:  Actually, if you workout at a moderate-to-vigorous level (think a brisk walk), a shift in hormones may help suppress your appetite immediately post-workout.  In a recent study, researchers at Brigham Young University showed images of food to women who had just finished a 45-minute morning workout.  Their neural response to the food was less than it was on non-exercise days.  The researchers also found that women did not eat more on the workout day to make up for calories burned.  The key?  Eat a snack right after your workout or personal training session.  Aim for a 150-to-200 calorie mix of protein, carbs, and healthy fats.  It’ll keep you feeling full so you don’t eat back all those calories you just burned off.

  For more information on how to exercise proof your workout, contact Maurie Cofman, C.E.S. personal trainer in St. Louis, Brentwood and Clayton, MO.