Motivation to stay on track

Ever since I came back from Norway I’ve used my dad’s old heart rate monitor, as I sort of might have left my own at the beach when I was in a hurry going to a festival ….. As with music, I cannot function during a workout without my heart rate monitor. There are not many things I think people crucially need to exercise (part from a pair of proper running shoes, no one should run/walk/exercise with shoes not suitable for their feet), but a heart rate monitor certainly works as a huge motivational factor for me.

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It helps me knowing how fast I need to run during intervals to reach a level of 90-95% of my max heart rate, it tells me how many calories I’ve burnt and how far I’ve gone for a walk (GPS), and it helps me keep at a steady heart rate of 150-160 when I’m doing my boring cross-trainer cardio in the afternoon. So now that the Polar one I’m using (I prefer Polar, but there are tons of other probably equally great brands out there) is telling me I have a heart rate of 237 while doing sit-ups (the max heart rate can be averagely calculated by subtracting your age from 220, which obviously means something as little as sit-ups shouldn’t raise my heart rate that much), I’m kind of realizing it is about time to invest in a new one.

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As anytime I’m in doubt, I’ve asked my health/fitness-freak of a dad for help. I am, like most girls, easy to sell in terms of design, and it’s therefore easy for me to choose something because it is pink, rather than because it is made of quality. Like the Nike FuelBand, I’d go there. But does it really serve any of the purposes I need it for? Not so much. I’m currently considering the Polar RC3 GPS HR, but if anyone has any other tips, I’d be very happy.

I know people struggle to stay motivated all the time, and I can tell you that when I first decided that I wanted to drop body fat and really start taking care of my body and health, I made a massive motivational board with pictures of things that I needed to (and still need to) remind myself the importance of. Things such as what benefits healthy food and exercise has, how sugar affects the brain, how the oil from chips clogs the veins, things reminding me that ‘actually, I can’.  No pictures of skinny girls or things that would make me feel angry or upset/ugly/fat/all the stupid things girls tell themselves, only motivation.

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Buying new, colorful workout clothes is something I still do whenever my motivation is lacking. I can spend hours in the Nike store trying to pick out what I want the most. Sure, you can exercise in your mom’s t-shirt from the 80’s because that way you don’t have to spend money on new things – but seriously, the fact that I get to wear as much pink or neon yellow in the gym as I want, gives me a massive reason to go to the gym. Being blonde kind of deprived me of the allowance to wear pink on pink in public on a daily basis, but I don’t really care in the gym. The more pink, the better. And trust me, running intervals in my Asics that have drowned in like twenty different colours is so much more fun. Not to mention, people (and guys) talk to you when you wear a rainbow in a place where most people only wear black. It’s fun.

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I also made little goals within the big goal. Things like going for a walk in the park for 30 minutes 4 times a week because I know I highly enjoy that, or healthy recipes that I promised myself to try following, rather than eating lettuce leaves every day. Even things like running my 4×4 intervals within a time period of 30 minutes and making them become 5 kilometers, and managing to be done working out and eating breakfast by 10 on days I didn’t really have too much of a reason to even get out of bed. One thing I never did, however, was to say that by a certain date I wanted to have lost x amount of kg, because if I reached that date and ‘failed’, I would have been so annoyed. Trusting the process is so important.

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Another thing that proved important to me, was having my measurements done. The hip to waist ratio is way more important than your weight and BMI, as the ‘dangerous’ fat often is stored around your waist. BMI can tell you that you’re overweight even if you’re not, because it doesn’t consider what part of you body is muscle and what part is fat.

Now, I know you guys favor these before/after pictures, and I’ve gotta admit I find it a bit awkward. But anything to illustrate my point, right.

This is a Norwegian who works out 6-8 times a week, but has an ok diet.

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and this is one who got fed up of being annoyed when trying on jeans and decided to make a change.

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No matter what you want to do, it is important to remember that it doesn’t happen over night. Consistency is key. There will be bad times, and there will be better times. Baby steps. Keep it up, and you will get exactly what you want.

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