Ebb and Flow

So there is something you should know.

Exercise, well actually the excitement to exercise, sort of ebbs and flows....for everyone. Yes, that means me too. (gasp!)

When you are flowing it's great. You look forward to running or biking or lifting or whatever, you like to sweat, the idea of a challenge gets your heart pumping and you want to take it on.

Other times, you think,"Eh, I don't really care," and you convince yourself that you aren't really interested in being thatphysically fit, or you're fine where you're at, or sometimes you just plain don't feel like it anymore. (beware of that voice--we've talked about it before).

So what do you do when you're ebbing instead of flowing?

You find a way to keep flowing. That's what.

When you're feeling tired or frustrated with where you are at and you just want to throw your hands up in the air and quit, RESIST that temptation. Quitting never got anybody anywhere and you know you will just feel worse if you quit. Push through to the other side because the other side will come and you'll feel much better that you didn't waste so much time sliding backwards during the time you didn't "feel" like it.

So here are a few ideas of how to keep things flowing:

1. Find a race or goal that makes your heart pound and go for it. The first time I thought about doing a triathlon it made my heart race just thinking about it. I was scared and I knew that meant I should try it. I felt the same way about Ragnar Relay. The unknown is scary, but can also be exciting. When we have a goal like that it can really keep you going. Don't let the fear of failure or the unknown stop you from your next adventure. And don't let your next adventure be overcome by apathy. Lame.

2. Use your fitness. Be more active in your every day life as you clean or play with your kids or run errands or whatever. It makes life more enjoyable and then it helps you to realize that you want to be more fit for daily living. Life is fuller when it's lived off the couch! :)

3. Have fun! If you are feeling burned out at all, then at least once a week do something that you really enjoy physically. For me I love to play racquetball or tennis. I'm playing and I love that, but I'm also getting in a good workout. What do you like to do that is fun and physically challenging?

4. Get a new workout mix. Sometimes just getting new music on your iPod can help spice things up a bit. Long runs or bike rides can be such a great time to refresh your body and mind and there's nothing like a great workout mix to lift you up.

5. Take a couple days off. If you are really struggling then take a few days off. I know that may freak some of you out, but it is okay to give your body a rest now and again. Just do it with a plan. Don't say, "I'm going to take a couple days off." instead say, "I will take tuesday and wednesday off and start again on thursday." That way you know exactly when you are starting again and you won't be "taking a couple days off" for an undetermined amount of time. You have a definite plan. (this should only be an option every 3-6 months or so)

Just know that when you feel like you don't want to exercise or you want to quit, that is normal. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, feels that from time to time (some more than others. :) ) What makes a successfully fit person different from someone that keeps struggling is that they figure out a way to keep flowing. They address the mental and emotional challenges as well as the physical ones.

So when (not if, but when) you feel yourself ebbing instead of flowing try some of the above strategies or come up with your own. You know yourself and what will work for you. With just a little thought you can work your way out of a negative zone. Just don't give yourself over to the apathy because that will never make you happy.

Keep flowing everyone!