The resistance that you fight physically in the gym and the resistance that you fight in life can only build a strong character. – Arnold Schwarzenegger
According to the Physical Activity Council 28% of Americans did ZERO physical activity last year. That’s not one cardio session in all of 2017. I found that fact to be astonishing, but after thinking about it for a little while it makes sense. I can think of many people that probably didn’t work out even a single time in 2017. For the rest of us who worked out at least once, great job! You’re not in the bottom 28%. That being said, I’m going to try to convince you that you should be attempting to work out every single day! Remember, you just have to take it one day at a time. Here are a few positives to working out that you may know, and some you may not know. Give it a read and hopefully it provides you with the encouragement that you need to grind out a workout today.
What we all know about working out
We all know that when we work out we will eventually look great (I know most of you already do look great, but you’ll look even better!) and we’ll feel great too. Regular cardio not only decreases our chance of heart disease but there are many other health benefits to it as well (some of them outlined below). Obviously you will gain strength from lifting weights, and you will look much better. These are obvious points that everyone already knows about, so I’m not going to spend much time talking about them, for fear you won’t hear me out until the end.
What some of us may not know about working out
- It makes you happier– Long story short, exercising releases endorphins, dopamine, and adrenaline into your body making you feel much happier. This is a small benefit to working out that most of us are aware of.
- It boosts your confidence – Obviously if you look good and feel good, you’re going to experience higher confidence levels. Higher confidence is important to many other areas of life. It could help in your dating life, work life, and help you be more productive.
- It increases your energy levels – Again this is an obvious one, but the more you strengthen your body and lungs, the more energy you will have throughout the day. It seems somewhat counter intuitive but anyone who has worked out regularly will attest to the fact that they have more energy throughout the day.
- It boosts your immunity – It’s cold and flu season (at least it is in Wisconsin) and immunity is at the top of everyone’s minds. According to one study, colds lasted 43 percent longer in people who exercised once a week or less. That alone may cause you to get up and work out a bit more often.
What you probably don’t know about working out
- It lowers your anxiety – According to an article posted on WebMD, when we workout it can change the chemistry of our brain by causing the release of GABA, which is a neurotransmitter that helps quite the brain. This positive effect can last for over 24 hours after a workout. Personally I have some of my best ideas when I’m running and I actually quickly type notes on my cell phone so I don’t forget them when I’m on the treadmill.
- You sleep better – This is another fairly obvious point, but if you find yourself being restless at night, chances are you aren’t working out during the day. Working out regularly will help you, not only fall asleep faster, but also require less sleep to have the same energy level of your pre-workout state.
- It could boost your income – Studies have shown that those who work out for 3 hours or more a week have an income that is almost 10% higher than those who do not work out 3 hours in a week. Conversely not working out and being out of shape could majorly decrease your salary (for women this is as high as 18%). For me, this is a “chicken or egg” argument because I can’t tell if this is causal or just simple correlation. Obviously, we all know if you look better you’re likely to make more money. Also, if you have more energy because of working out, then you’re likely to make more. That being said, it’s possible that the people who decide to work out are more disciplined in the first place. Either way, the numbers are in and they show a correlation so that’s what I’m reporting.
- It can become a keystone habit – Charles Duhigg, author of the The Power of Habit, calls habits that inspire you to improve on other habits keystone habits. Essentially once you make a small change that you feel good about it will inspire you to do more with other areas of your life, and it’ll be like a snowball rolling down hill getting larger as it rolls. I know that this works personally because working out for me was my keystone habit. It’s probably the reason I’m writing this blog today, listening/reading to more books, and finishing my MBA, and possibly why I’m receiving a promotion at work. If you haven’t done so already, click on The Power of Habit and buy the book from Amazon. If it doesn’t impact your life for the positive, I’d be shocked.
Ok, I’m convinced, now what are some tips for working out?
Ok, I do have a lot of tips for working out regularly but most of these will be what works for me and won’t necessarily be what works for you. Either way, there are plenty of sites out there that will offer you countless tips, so I’m going to stick to what I know works for me.
- Schedule a time to do it – I’ve said this countless times on other posts, but scheduling a time to get something done is so important. Nights that I determine specifically what I’m going to do in the morning majorly increases the chances that I’ll do it in the morning from nights that I don’t do this activity. If I didn’t at least schedule it in my mind it becomes too easy to tell myself that I’ll just do it tomorrow.
- Do it when you have no distractions – For me, I workout in the morning (I’m about to work out now after I finish posting this). The reason I do it in the morning very early is because I have 2 little children that make it difficult for me not to be around them when they’re awake. I like spending time with my kids, and since I see them for about 3 hours a night on weeknights I spend as much time with them as I can. The benefit of the morning is also that nobody else is awake. You’ll get no email, no texts, and the sun won’t even be up yet. If you can wake up before the sun and get a work out in, tell me that won’t motivate you!
- Develop a routine – this isn’t the same as scheduling your habit. My routine is to have my clothes ready in the bathroom in the morning. My alarm goes off and I immediately throw my workout cloths on, run downstairs, eat a banana, drink my shake, drink my pre-workout, and get some work done (in this case this blog) before I work out. I do this practically everyday. Not only do I workout regularly because I have that trigger of waking up, the reminder of my workout clothes, but it also helps me get more unrelated work done. It’s a win win, and I love it. It’s easy because I have a morning routine, but you can also develop a good routine at lunch or after work. You just need something that triggers you to do it everyday.
- Have a goal – Having a goal is important to keep you on track. I used to have much more specific goals and I was much more intense about working out (that may be more proof that specific goals help increase your motivation). Lately my goal has been continuous improvement. I want all my lifts to go up and the distance I can run to go up as well. I figure that if I can improve month after month, my results will be pretty impressive. Without a goal, it’d be difficult to determine what workouts you want to complete. If you need help with a routine, check out the BodySpace app on your phone. There’s plenty of routines on the app for free.
- Track your results – This is important for me, but I recognize there are some people who have great results without tracking results. These people are much much less common than people who are successful than those who track their results. Tracking results helps you push towards improvement each week and it also helps motivate you when you can go back and look at where you were a year ago, and get a sense of accomplishment from the results you’ve had over the past year. Again, use the BodySpace app. It not only will help you find routines, but it will track your lifts, allowing you to see what weights and reps you’ve done every week and it also will calculate an approximation of what your one rep max is. Since I vary my reps I try to make sure my one rep max is improving every week.
- Put your headphones in – Music can help you stay focused on a variety of things, and working out is no different. Not only will it help you avoid distractions, but it also will increase your intensity in your workout and can help you run to the beat. For more reasons on why you should listen to music when you workout check out this article which outlines 7 reasons why you should listen to music when you workout.
- Know yourself – This is probably the most important of all my tips. I always say, the best workout is the one that you’ll do consistently. If you hate running but you love rowing or getting on a bike, don’t try to force yourself into running. For me, it’s what do I hate less, since I really don’t like any cardio, and I enjoy lifting, but I find both to be very important. If you find that you don’t like working out for working out sake, play a sport like racquetball, basketball, tennis, or whatever gets you moving. I’m more of a work out to work out type since I think it is the only way I’ll stay consistent everyday, but you have to do what works best for you. Work out supplementation is a big one for me. I like supplements. For me it’s part of the routine. I can’t say it really helps me or not, but psychologically it does. My point is, if you’re not into supplements, than don’t take them. If you find they give you a mental boost, then take them (I’m not talking about steroids or HGH. I’m talking about caffeine, creatine, and protein shakes, etc.). I hope that makes sense.
Ok, so hopefully I have thoroughly convinced you that you need to work out and probably should workout every single day. Please try some of the tips I have outlined above and let me know how they work for you. If you need more motivation, shoot me a comment or message on my Facebook page and I’d be glad to be your accountability partner in anything that you’re struggling with (not just working out). I could always use an accountability partner myself. If you have any tips related to working out or any other technique you use to stay motivated drop me a note in the comments section. Thanks, as always, for reading and remember to get moving and be great today!