Marissa Explains It AllThe Top 6 Ways I Motivate Myself To Work-OutMarissa A. Ross

We sit most of our lives away. The average person sits for nine hours a day. That is almost as long as most teenagers sleep! And they sleep so much.

Sitting turns off the muscles in your legs and cuts calorie burning down to one calorie an hour. It’s just flat out unhealthy to sit all day and not exercise. One in three Americans are obese. That is a scary statistic that I believe correlates directly with the fact that after the eight hours a day most of us spend at a desk, we go home and watch two or more hours of 30 Rock. I mean choose your own poison– err, adventure– but the truth is, we need to be aware of the effect our lifestyles have on our lives.

Here are some cool things about exercise:
It…
• improves cardiovascular health (take that, heart attacks!).
• improves bone density.
• helps with weight control.
• improves muscle strength (sup, beefcakes!).
• fights diabetes and other illnesses.
• lowers cholesterol and blood pressure.
• reduces risk of strokes.
• improves memory.
• stimulates new brain cell formations.
• combats the general malaise of “office” jobs.

I really love leisure and I love lounging and that is why this year I have made a conscious effort to exercise. It’s been really hard for me, because as I said, I really love leisure and I looove lounging. At the same time, I would like to continue lounging into my golden years and I can’t do that if I’m not in good health.

Let me start this by saying, I hate exercise. I only took P.E. freshman year of high school because I convinced my theatre director, Mrs. Little, to sign a petition saying I couldn’t continue physical education because I needed to take advanced Shakespeare for the good of the theatre department. For the record, advanced Shakespeare was a farce, led by a hippie named Schafer who let us “interpret” the Bard by hanging out and talking about it with our friends for an hour, breaking crucial Upland High Theatre Department regulations, such as no snacking in the auditorium. It was amazing.

If I can gather the strength to be active, you can too. These are the ways I’ve motivated myself to get off my butt and work out so I thought I’d share, because that is what I use the internet for.

1. Tangible Real-Time Goals

What’s coming up in your future that you want to be in shape for? Vacation? A scandalous Halloween costume? Your cousin’s wedding everyone from high school who never wanted to date you will be at? Even if it’s not something you technically need to be “in shape” for, blowing it out of proportion to propel you out of bed in the morning is worth it.

2. Dream Goals (That You Really Believe In)

Did you guys know that I am working out now because next summer I am going to the Billabong Pro surf competition in Tahiti and I am going to meet Kelly Slater? We’re going to be at the bar on the beach and I’m going to smile at him and he’s going to be like, “Hey, don’t I follow you on Twitter?” and then I’m going to say something coy like, “Yeah.” We’re then going to talk for awhile and eventually part ways only to find out we are in neighboring bungalows over the water! So weird, right?! Then he’s going to be like, “Hey, do you and your rad boyfriend want to come drink this champagne with me and my super-cool girlfriend, Kalani Miller? We can talk about surfing, bikinis and how you’re in amazing shape!” And I’ll of course be like, “Yeah, Kelly. That sounds cool.”

To some of you, this may sound crazy. To me, it sounds like I am going to look fabulous.

3. Know You Will Be Able To Eat As Many Servings Of Mashed Potatoes As You Please

I really, really love mashed potatoes, with every fiber of my being! And that is why I tell myself I have to love working out, because I want to eat as many mashed potatoes as I damn well please and not have to worry about it. I mean, whatever floats your boat. Maybe you’re a dessert kinda lady, I don’t know. But think of all the delicious cupcakes you won’t have to feel bad about because you have a regular exercise routine!

4. You’re The Protagonist Of Your Personal John Hughes Film

I love-love-love getting into my cardio and thinking about how I’m going to prove everyone wrong, how all the lovers who jilted me will be jolted and how I’m going to be the belle of some fantasy ball I’m throwing for myself in my mind because I’m obviously a crazy person who has to trick herself into working out because health reasons apparently are not enough.

5. Guilt

I look at Victoria’s Secret online until I somehow end up with my gym shorts on. I don’t know, it’s magic!

6. It Really Just Improves Your Quality Of Life

All jokes and crazy psychological scheming aside, exercising just flat out improves the quality of your life. Not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. Exercise helps relieve stress, boosts your confidence and alleviate symptoms of depression with the release of neurotransmitters and endorphins. You will have more energy, less anxiety and a better body image.

Another really great to motivate yourself is to get your friends involved, so I hear. I don’t do this because I don’t like talking to people at the gym. Apparently, I’m like the only person in the universe who feels this way. I prefer just to talk to my friends about exercise.

So friends, how do you motivate yourself to exercise? What’s your routine? Share in the comments so we can all motivate each other as the mornings get cloudy and staying home, watching Hook and eating all your roommate’s Cheez-Its in your pajamas sounds more appealing than hitting the gym.

Photo via Flickr // Epiclectic

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  1. Mrs. Shafer was the ultimate…and why did Mrs. Little sign those waivers for all 20 of us? Probably because she saw so much potential in our class of misfits;)

    Anonymous | 11/27/2011 01:11 am
  2. So I can eat what I want (especially pasta, and cheese). So my husband doesn’t think I’m lazy (he wouln’t say it but I know he thinks it!) So our sex life is better (more flexible, more endurance). So I can buy regular sized clothes and not old lady ones. So when I see photos of myself I don’t feel a deep disappointment. So I sleep better, have more energy, and am not a misery guts. So I can be a smug person who says “I was up at 6 this morning to go to the gym”. So I live a long and healthy life.

    It’s basically a mix of very shallow, superficial reasons combined with a genuine desire to keep myself happy and healthy. I hated sport at school and still do, combining socialising and exercise the way men do is my idea of hell. If I was a naturally skinny person I’m not sure I’d bother. But I do bother, and I’m glad I do.

  3. also as Elle Woods puts it “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.” Truth

  4. as a student at college I supposedly have access to this fabulous gym thats open for 18 hours of the day, chock full of state of the art equipment and classes and trainers, and the one thing keeping me from going is that its usually full of beautifully fit people. when i think of it I’m just too ashamed to go and do forty minutes on the bike.

    • You should go! I started my “fitness journey” in college and went to the gym for the first time, at 6:00 AM with all of the beautiful people and no one cared that I wasn’t wearing makeup, was overweight, or that I get really red and sweaty when I’m exercising. The first time was definitely uncomfortable, but nobody stared at me or made me feel like I wasn’t allowed to be there. Definitely take advantage of all of that equipment and do your thing!

    • While being stuck in one place for half an hour around other people who are similarly stuck in one place leads to a lot of awkward eye-contact, I feel like the gym is mostly a welcoming place because who can hate on someone for exercising?! Even if you’re not “fit”, at least you’re there and you’re trying and really, the best thing about exercise is the endorphin rush, the mood boost and the kick to your energy levels, so don’t worry about all the “being fit” business anyway. Do it because it feels good.

  5. The problem is that somehow once I throw the yoga pants on, my couch calls me because my workout attire is really, really comfy. Maybe I should invest in some horribly uncomfortable workout gear?

  6. I do the “imagine you’re doing that…” thing; I always imagine myself as one of those women in a work out video! It’s really effective because I end up doing a lot of things while explaining why I’m doing it; really stupid and crazy, but it works!

    I just wrote a post on my blog today about this, more or less. If you have time (and want to, of course!) go check it http://cherrrycat.blogspot.com/

    Good luck working out!

  7. The genius of it all. I keep around a pair of jeans that havent fit since middle school. Then whenever I’m feeling lazy I try to squeeze into them. They magically turn into workout clothes every time.. And working out allows me to not judge myself for my made-up holiday of wine appreciation day once a week.

  8. Too funny Before I even noticed you were the author As read I thought this is so A Ross material and surely enough. I really find enjoyable. I used to hate running and now it’s my stress reliever. Although, I will say my couch is evil because everytime I get on it to rest for 10 minutes before a work this gal is snoozing ugh! all the time. It’s so annoying but I love naps Like George Costanza I too only get up in the morning just so I can nap.

    Anonymous | 10/07/2011 12:10 pm
  9. I just remember that no matter what I will feel better afterwards. And I go solo to the gym, too–it’s my zone-out place.

  10. I roll on over to Starbucks after my 5:30 routine. This knocks down any excuse of being too tired to wake up and work out by promises of coffee.

  11. my devastating break up has been the best exercise motivator of all. wahoo!

  12. lately its been my trip back home to texas where i will see friends and family as we celebrate my daughters first bday on new years eve. also if i work out often enough i can then buy myself more cute workout clothes :) i live in vancouver and everyone and their dogs wear lululemon and you have to be in some kind of nice shape to wear that crap, so that also motivates me :)

    • I recently “visited” Vancouver (I was there for about 6hours while waiting for my connecting flight to Alaska) and I noticed everyone was wearing lululemon attire AND running with their pets. Made me feel like a lazy American in comparison!

  13. I keep my weight/inches listed above my scale & measure. Then I blog about it. So don’t want to disappoint the readers, right? Also, I’ve found exercising in the morning keeps me awake during work, so it’s a win-win.

    Love your list!

  14. O/T but I totally went to high school with Kalani Miller and working out is awesome

    • Also (so that you know that I read, appreciated, and laughed at this blog), I think getting others involved in your fitness goal is an awesome way to maintain focused. There’s a lot of great, free online sits (think Facebook meets Weight Watchers, but without the embarrassing weigh ins) that can help keep you accountable.

  15. I tape string bikinis to my treadmill. It’s torturous, but every time I start to wonder how I would look WEARING one of those bikinis…I actually run faster.

  16. Ross, you’ve done it again… You’ve both improved upon my day and inspired me to work out (I think it was just the paragraph about mash-potatoes that did it). Along with your Wine Time segments you have become one of my therapist/motivational life coaches and inexpensive/cheap wine gurus. Just thanks :-)

  17. I am such a sucker for slacking and lounging. In fact, I spend most of my days just lounging with pet dog. Now, I try to run/walk my dog everyday to keep me ready for work.

    • Yes, I am also really into procrastinating in cuddles with my pup. Walking them everyday is good for both of you, and your relationship!