Tag Archives: exercise motivation

Now that the weather is better… Learn how to be an all-season exerciser

This is the most wonderful time of the year to be an exercise physiologist! Everyone I talk to is more motivated to exercise now that the weather is better!

In this lovely time of year, you have two choices with how you think about exercising that can make all the difference in your future springtime enjoyment:

  1. Enjoy spring and summer and don’t think about winter. Hopefully next winter will be better…
  2. Enjoy spring and learn from what you are noticing right now to help you become a self-motivated all season exerciser

Option number two may seem like more work, but when you think about, its much less work than option number one. The discomfort of being in a body that is not ready for the spring activities you want and need to do takes a lot of mental and physical work. The guilt of not exercising all winter when you know you should is a big energy drain too!

Let’s make option number two easier. Take a few minutes to go through these three steps. Writing them down increases your chances of success:

  1. Write down what you notice about what your body lost this winter, based on how you feel now. Do you wish you had more strength? Stamina? Mobility? If you feel great and ready for spring, write down what you did that helped you keep your strength stamina and mobility through the winter.
  2. Write down what you want to enjoy now that is challenging. If you are able to enjoy what you want, write down what worked to keep you ready for that activity all winter.
  3. Brainstorm all the things you are thinking you could have/should have done this winter for exercise. If you did exercise all winter, write down what kept you active.

Tuck this away in your September calendar. In the fall you will be so glad you have a personalized guide to get you started with a motivating plan for exercising through the winter. I will remind you to look at this list when the weather starts getting colder and the days get shorter again.

Now, let’s get out there and enjoy this beautiful weather!

Keep Moving be well, and enjoy spring!


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by | April 19, 2021 · 7:09 pm

You get more results from exercise with gratitude than with guilt

Exercise guilt works.

The problem is, exercise results happen when it is done consistently. That means you need a source of motivation that is renewable, not one you have to use a lot of energy to churn up every day you need to exercise.

Guilt will produce short term motivation, but it takes a lot of brain energy. Its just not an efficient way to stay motivated for exercise. In the end you wont really get results from exercise because you are less likely to do it consistently.

Gratitude however, has lasting effects on motivation as well as mental and physical health. Plus, it feels way better than guilt!

Guilt is the feeling you ‘should’ be doing something different than you are in this moment.

Gratitude is the feeling of deep appreciation for something or someone.

This time of year we hear a lot about gratitude. In January, we hear a lot of guilt producing messages about exercising and eating healthy, losing that holiday /pandemic weight.

What would happen if we started using gratitude to motivate for exercise now, and just kept it going in the new year? Studies show motivation would be easier, both through the holidays and in 2021.

“We found that across the participants, when people felt more grateful, their brain activity was distinct from brain activity related to guilt…simply expressing gratitude may have lasting effects on the brain.”

The Greater Good

Look, we’ve been through enough this year! There is no need to add guilt to the mix. Take this week to move your body as a way to take care of it, shed some stress and notice something you are grateful for about that time you took for yourself.

Keep it simple. One unique thing you are grateful for each time you exercise. Whether you do a five minute walk to to get away from your computer, a fifteen minute dance party with your family before dinner, or a set of strength training to start your day feeling strong and confident, take five seconds to write down your one thing from that time. It will tell your brain this is something to repeat and that means next time motivation will be that much easier.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Keep Moving, Find Gratitude, Be Well,


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by | November 24, 2020 · 10:05 pm

Attention All-or-Nothing Exercisers; this is your big chance!


Is exercise is the first thing to go when life gets stressful?  Do you feel like 10 minutes of walking or one set of strength training does not count as a ‘workout’?  Do you think unless you can’t work up a sweat or don’t ‘feel it’ the next day, why bother? These are all signs of being an all-or-nothing exerciser.  The good news is, when you exercise, you give it your all.  The challenge is, those stressful times when you need exercise the most to keep your body and mind calm, you think you can’t exercise.

The COVID-19 pandemic has given us all many challenges.  For many regular and dedicated exercisers, the stress has shifted them into the ‘nothing’ state of being. This is an unprecedented time.  With so many parts of our lives changing at once, it defiantly has been a challenge for many to maintain an exercise routine.  This time has also presented us with many opportunities.  If your exercise routine was derailed by the change in your lifestyle, I invite you to use this as a chance to get off that roller coaster of exercise motivation once and for all.  Here are some facts that can help shift your mindset from all-or-nothing to the more sustainable and success-producing mindset of ‘something is better than nothing’.

It only takes…

  • ten minutes of exercise to churn up those great brain chemicals that make you feel better mentally when you exercise.
  • one set twice a week to of a good quality strength training program to improve strength and once a week maintains your hard earned strength
  • 15 minutes three days a week of cardiovascular exercise to maintain stamina

Clearly, something is way better than nothing!

There are three big myths that keep the all-or-nothing approach alive:

  • Myth: You need to work up a sweat:  sweat only means your body is cooling itself off. It does not mean you are burning more calories or fat.  Sweat is a byproduct of some types of exercise in some people, but if you don’t sweat it does NOT mean exercise is not worth your time.
  • Myth: No Pain, No Gain:  Pain is also a byproduct of working your body harder than it was ready to do. Being sore the next day does not mean you got a better workout, it means you did too much too soon. This saying was meant for athletes, to remind them that pain is part of the process. For you and me, who just want to be healthy from exercising regularly, pain is not required.
  • Myth: Go Big or Go Home:  This saying too is for athletes or others who are exercising for a competitive edge.  Those of us who want to be healthy, we can go ‘small’ and know it’s enough.  In fact, several studies show that a few smaller bouts of exercise spread out throughout the day can have a better result for benefits like blood sugar control and building bone strength.  Go small and go often could be our motto!

So,  for all you all-or-nothing exercisers out there, this pandemic creates a tremendous opportunity to leave that stressful roller coaster behind and strengthen your  ‘something is better than nothing’ mindset.  Rather than seeking bigger and better challenges to get you motivated to start again (and again and again), take on  the ULTIMATE challenge of exercising in this ever-changing thing we call life – being a CONSISTENT exerciser.

Keep Moving, Be Well,


PS:  If you have transformed yourself from an all-or-nothing exerciser to a something is better than nothing highly consistent exerciser, post how you did it in the comments section.

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by | August 4, 2020 · 9:55 pm

Tips for finding an online cardio workout that is right for you

How to get enough exercise in the busy seasons of your life (1)Online exercise has become a lifeline for exercising during the COVID-19 outbreak.  It’s always a good idea to have as many options for exercise as possible.  This challenging time is an opportunity to find new ways to exercise when time and equipment are limited.   I am hearing from many people how they are discovering old favorites and new ways to exercise.

Here are some things to look for when searching for online cardio exercise:

    • If the cardio involves using hand weights or bands to add upper body toning or more calorie burning, do the exercises without anything in your hands. Studies show adding upper body resistance does not burn more calories and puts more strain on your upper body joints (shoulders especially).   Just enjoy moving and do strength training separately to strengthen your upper body.    The same goes for wearing ankle weights when walking or doing cardio; the risks far outweigh the benefit
    • High Intensity Interval Training is very ‘in’ right now.  Some people love exercising at a super high intensity. For most people, it is NOT a positive experience.  Considering that your brain is hardwired to avoid what makes you feel worse, you may want to reconsider HIIT training if you don’t love it.  There is  more research that shows moderate intensity cardio has plenty of benefits and it is much more enjoyable for most people.  You can still do intervals, just keep them between moderate to comfortable challenge for your breathing and stay away from the uncomfortable levels.
    • If the program has very complicated moves that limit your ability to keep moving, choose something that has more simple moves.  (examples below) The goal of cardio is to move continuously. If the moves in the cardio program are so complicated you end up standing still until you figure them out, it will not be as beneficial as something that keeps you moving.
    • If your lower body is limited by pain, try seated aerobics (links below) or doing a hybrid of seated and standing.  This is a great option to improve stamina without straining weight bearing joints.  If it seems like it won’t be challenging enough, I challenge you to give it a try.  🙂

Here are some free resources you might try for cardio:

Basic aerobics:  Walk at home has great videos for free online as well as a subscription for more videos including an app. (Reminder, skip holding onto anything in your hand when doing the ones they include bands)  They even have a video with all men, which is not easy to find with aerobics videos.  Body Groove is a paid subscription but there is a sample you can try. If you like to dance, you might enjoy this approach that is very body positive and friendly for all sizes.

Seated aerobics videos free online: Fuzion Fitness is a great seated dance exercise program.  Paul Eugene  offers a wide variety of videos that are higher intensity (and his smile is contagious).   The Walk at Home videos are simple enough they can be done in seated as well.

Kickboxing:  Tae Bo on YouTube is offering some fresh workouts just for the pandemic.

Next week we will focus on  what to look for in strength training videos online.

Keep Moving and Be Well






by | May 4, 2020 · 6:34 pm

Collect your exercise ‘gems’ before heading into 2019

Before you dive into your new years plans to ‘get back on track’, pause for just a moment.

Why pause? I am ready to move on!

Because you don’t want to leave behind the ‘gems’ from 2018.

What do you mean by the ‘gems’ of 2018?

Those things that you learned about what works and does not work for you to get the most out of exercise. I am not talking about what you did for exercise that helped you lose weight and inches though. No, we are going for the even bigger gems. We want to capture what worked to keep you exercising regularly.

Why is consistency more important than pounds and inches lost?

Because unless you want that success for only a brief moment in time, consistency with exercise is the key. Something that ‘worked’ temporarily is great if you want to make 2019 a constant struggle to stay motivated. (I didn’t think so…). If you want 2019 to be a bit easier, pause and jot down all the ways you exercised consistently. What made them easy to stick with? Next write down all the things you did only temporarily. What got in the way?

Now, look at your list of what worked and what did not. These are your gems. In the coming year, when you are tempted to do those types of programs that sound great but you are not so sure you can stick with, take out your gems and see how you can turn it into something you know you can stick with long term.

Make a resolution to make consistency with exercise the most important factor when choosing what to do. By staying ‘up to date’ on what works to keep you moving, your confidence for exercise motivation will be stronger every year and so will your success with weight loss.

Keep moving, be well, and have a very happy new year!


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by | December 31, 2018 · 3:37 pm