Podcasts and Orange Juice Can Make You Fly

Let's call it a day...

What do you do when you're having a tough day? You know, when you struggle to get out of a perfectly good, warm bed and your whole body aches. Maybe you're coming home from a long day of work and you just can't see yourself lacing on a pair of sneakers? You need to get in your miles on the road or trail this week, but you feel unmotivated and lost for the moment.

Your energy has tanked. How could you possibly exercise?

When I feel like this, I reach for two essential tools to get me going. The first is a glass of cold, pulpy orange juice. A few sips and the simple sugars rush to my brain, giving me a quick boost of energy.

The second essential tool for getting me motivated is my iPod Shuffle. I put on a podcast from Endurance Planet (itunes link) or switch on some Lady Gaga  or Lil Wayne and within 50 feet from my house, my heart is pumping and my legs grow strong.

The key parts of finding your energy to exercise is:

  • Recognizing when you're feeling low
  • Knowing what your body and mind need to get back on course.

For me, I know orange juice can save my day (and if it is the morning, I gulp coffee). I make sure I always have some in the kitchen. Similarly, pop music and rap can transform me from shuffling around the house after a long day of work, to effortlessly pounding out miles on an evening run. I just prepare for low moments by always having an up-tempo song list loaded into my charged iPod Shuffle.

This prep can be the difference between meeting your weight and endurance goals, and falling behind. Sports and endurance podcasts are also helpful because when you listen to other athletes talk about dealing with struggle, you think "Hey, I'm not giving up either".

Do you have a tip for finding your energy? Add a comment below.

Making Resolutions Count

Sparkler, violent reaction (guy fawkes)

Despite changing trends and evolving popular culture, according to USA.gov,  New Year resolutions repeat with surprising regularity from year to year, and decade to decade.

Some of these resolutions include:

  • Spending more time with the family
  • Eating healthier

and yes, you probably guessed it...

  • Exercising more

Fitness making the list probably isn't a surprise. Each year as January 1 rolls around, Pilates studios book up solid and new gym memberships hit a surge. Unfortunately, by mid-February the busyness of life usually overtakes the resolve of most people.  Any declarations made so confidently on night New Year's Eve surrounded by cheering family and friends are soon swept under the rug, only to be rediscovered the following December.

This doesn't have to be the way!

By making a few simple adjustments, you can set and accomplish your fitness New Year's resolution.

1. Start Small and Slow

Many times people set impossibly challenging fitness resolutions when 1/1 comes around. If running 50 miles a week when they rarely lace on sneakers, or losing 20lbs when they are still putting in overtime at work and have an infant at home doesn't sound possible, that's because it isn't. Instead of making a hugely ambitious fitness resolution, choose a reasonable one and start out slow so don't injure yourself. An example? "I resolve to exercise more by walking with my wife twice a week once around Greenlake". You think its too easy? You're right! You might just sustain this walking goal for a month or two. With this success under your belt, you'll say "Honey, want to try to run this next lap?" Set a small goal and start slow.

2. Be Specific

Contrary to tradition, don't make an ambiguous resolution like "exercise more". People feed off of their own success and how could you ever feel wholly successful with the goal of exercising "more" if you don't make it specific.  More what, time, distance or sweat (and who wants to measure that)? Take the example above about Greenlake and walking. That offers a specific practice (walking), frequency (twice), place (Greenlake) and distance (1 loop, or 3 miles). By adding a few details to back up your resolution, you're much more likely to achieve your goal.

3. Weave It Into Your Life

Another success tactic is making something an intimate part of your life. In the walking example above, by including a partner (spouse, friend, colleague, etc), you're holding yourself more accountable and freeing us extra socializing time. Instead of choosing between spending time with your wife and exercising, you're now able to do both. Another example of this is commuting to work by bike (or foot). By weaving your fitness resolution into your everyday activities, you're making it easier to succeed.

4. Look the Part

So you have a specific goal that's designed to fit into your life and you plan to start off slow. You're on your way to success! I can feel it! I can offer one last tip to make sure you hold up your New Year commitment and that's: look the part. Go shopping for the right clothing and gear to support you in your goal. You don't have to spend a ton (you can try Goodwill or ebay), but having a running jacket makes it harder to use the excuse you have to stay inside when it's drizzling(and we know how often that is in Seattle). Also, a magical thing happens when you slide on your running shorts, zip up your jacket and lace on your sneakers: you transform! You're no longer a couch potato or a winter shut-in, but an athlete! You're a runner. The same goals for cyclists, swimmers and gym rats. The gear holds you to your goal.

Good luck with your resolution! Got any other tips for staying true to your New Year's resolution? Add a comment below.