By Nicole Plotkin
As the days are starting to get shorter and the nights are getting chillier, it’s a good time to remind myself what motivates me to exercise on a regular basis.
Motivation is a strange thing. What works for one person, may not work for another. The number one motivator for me is: feeling good. Period. Vanity, health markers, increased confidence, all have their place. But ultimately, feeling good is why I keep coming back again and again.
What overcomes a lifetime of a love/hate relationship with food and your own body and being brought up in a diet era? Feeling good while slamming balls against a wall – and despite silly messages in your head.
How do you wipe from your head: a love of 80s glamour magazines, dieting from around 11, and thinking all day about what you should or should not eat? Reaching a max weight in your strength training class – and feeling friggin’ awesome with a perma-grin.
How do you silence the girl who was out of breath running across the street to her best friend’s house to share a smoke, from your head? Experience the feeling of closing in on the finish line at a marathon.
What is an antidote to being afraid of heights and not letting yourself do a pull up on the rig? Try to do that thing a different way – or do something else just as hard and badass – and feel good. There is not only one way to feel good.
What if your muscles are tight? Your lower back is achy? Determine what you CAN do, whether a certain type of stretch or a modified version of an exercise. Do that thing – and feel great.
What if you are so tired at the end of the day and can’t imagine going to a HIIT class? Remember that 5 minutes into the class, you will feel good and you will feel great by the end of the class. Not to mention the friends you get to see during class.
What if it’s a gloomy February evening after work, and you’d rather fill the perma dent in your couch with your butt, and eat vats of hummus while watching Netflix? Get your butt to the nearest spin class and feel great.
What if every human you have encountered that day has questioned how you have tolerated humanity for this long? Definitely go for a run and restore your faith in humanity.
What if you are your body’s biggest critic that day? Your body is telling you to quit bitching and to exercise. Be especially grateful if you have the ability and the option to do it. Not everyone does. Go exercise and feel great!
What if there was a clever meme going around an hour ago that told you that you are not getting out of here alive, nor in tip top shape, so you might as well give up any effort at being healthy? Remember that there is no guarantee for anything and that, the only thing you can control is how you feel today. Go to a kickboxing class and feel good!
Did you come across an annoying fitspo Instagrammer, who made you question your achievements because you don’t have “abs of steel”? Go find challenging flow yoga class and remember how good your body feels in tree pose and that is all the fitspo you need to feel great.
Were the people you lunch with comparing every diet they are currently on, in a way that made you want to scream, and find the nearest gelato stand? Go for a long walk with your partner and feel good (gelato optional)!
How about if you’ve had an awesome day and you feel like celebrating – by not going to the gym – go to the gym anyway and feel even better about your fabulous day!
Each and every time I have felt resistance to just go and exercise, each and every time I have defied the thoughts in my head, and gone for a run, a conditioning class, to spin my legs, or to lift some iron, each and every time, I feel better afterwards. What are your motivators to keep at it?
Nicole Plotkin: law clerk, loves to exercise, eat good food, snuggle with her dogs, and her wonderful husband.