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One of the difficult things I had to do was to keep myself motivated to workout or even stay active. I started my fitness journey just last year and I got off track due to a huge relapse about my clinical depression. I stopped working out and lost myself in October 2019 and it took me months to get back on track. Honestly, the quarantine has a lot to do with me working out again because I am trying to maximize this time to do things I’ve always set aside.
My Fitness Journey and the Yo-Yo Diets
To give you a brief history of my fitness journey – I am a 4’8” tall woman who barely reaches 100lbs. I’ve always been weak and sickly but I never thought exercise would be a problem for me. Hell, I could eat pizza everyday and not gain a gram. It all changed when I reached 26 years old. I started gaining weight. It was slow at first and I had a lot of trial and error with diets and exercise but I could never be consistent with it. There was a time when I had an unhealthy relationship with food and looked at food as the enemy which always backfires because the less I eat, the more I would binge when I get a setback.
Fast forward to 2019, I was at my heaviest. I weighed 130lbs – now that might not be a lot to most people, but as someone with my height and looking skinny for most her life it was a jab to my self-esteem and health. I never believed in ideal weights because a person can weigh more if s/he has more muscles. But 130lbs was too much for me. I started feeling sluggish, I hated myself and everytime I see someone who I don’t see everyday would comment on my weight and it’s started to affect my confidence.
It was time to make a change
I tried a 1,200-calorie diet which was not that bad and I actually enjoyed it. It helped me with learning how to eat in control. I am not getting any younger so the days when I can eat a whole pizza was gone. After so many yo-yo dieting, I got off any diet fads and just ate what I needed. I still have “cheat days” where I’ll eat more than I usually do, but I don’t make myself feel bad about it. When I got off the diet fads and just minded the portions, I actually felt better and lighter.
For 28 years, I did not exercise and eat smart. It was a change that I find hard to stick to. When I started working out, I realized how out-of-shape I was and there were times when I had good motivation. But then I’ll stop for days because I don’t feel like doing it and would binge eat. Honestly, my mental illness did not help. Everytime I get depressive episodes, I would go back to my unhealthy lifestyle. But the thing is, working out actually helps my mood. It gives me a better mindset and gives me those endorphins my brain is having difficulty to produce.
So what are my tips to try to stick to a plan?
1. Listen to workout motivation videos from Youtube
I started getting fascinated with meditations and sleep hypnosis because of my friends from Instagram. But I also found these amazing channels that don’t just have motivational videos for working out, but for living your life smarter, achieving your goals, and just do whatever it is that you need to. It’s actually quite effective and I find myself motivated when I can’t motivate myself.
2. If you’re a beginner like me and is out-of-shape, I recommend looking for REAL beginner workouts.
There are millions of workouts in Youtube and a lot of them claim to be “beginner-friendly” but then you do the workout and find yourself stopping in the middle because they forgot that beginners don’t just mean “I haven’t exercised in forever”, it also means “I can’t lift my own body weight.” There are a LOT of popular Youtube and Instagram fitness influencers out there but don’t push yourself too hard because it will only discourage you when you can’t finish a workout.
However, I found these three channels that offer good, beginner-friendly and easy workouts. This doesn’t mean they are not hard or will not get you sweating, it only means that they offer low impact, good guidance, and they create workouts that don’t require you to do a lot of hard moves but will still get you sweating.
I would definitely recommend Body Project because they have a lot of beginner-friendly programs. The moves aren’t difficult but boy you will be sweating at the end of the session. Daniel is a really good motivator too. To be honest, the first time I tried a beginner-friendly full body workout, I wasn’t able to finish it because I felt nauseous and vomited. However, I did it again the next day. Don’t be afraid to take breaks, pause the video, breath and then do it again. You don’t have to follow their pace, do it at your own pace. You will get stronger and eventually you’ll find yourself doing a workout video twice.
I also recommend Bodyfit by Amy because she really encourages you to take your time, and offers modified moves for beginners. Her videos look easy and not at all challenging when you watch them, but it will get you sweating when you do it. Her beginner full body-workout was a really good one and I managed to finish it with all her encouragement and supportive words.
If you are looking for glute and ab workouts that aren’t as intense as Chloe Ting’s and are really beginner friendly, I truly recommend Naomi Kong. Her workouts may look repetitive and easy, but it will also get you going. They are designed to get you stronger and ready for more intense workouts.
If you are not a beginner anymore…
If you are not a beginner and think you can do a more difficult workout but still need the guide and motivation, I totally recommend Vicky Justiz and Pamela Reif channels. Vicky has work-out challenges that you can try. I finished her 30-day booty workout and I couldn’t be more proud! I also love her short HIIT workouts because it makes me drip sweat like crazy even though it only lasts for less than 15 minutes. I especially love how she does the workout with you, while motivating and speaking to you. And you can actually see her taking a break and breather, and it’s so encouraging because she’s so down to earth and funny.
3. Find fashionable workout clothes, own them and wear them!
I really believed that when you’re dressed for the occasion, your mindset changes. And wearing cute, fashionable active wear can help you stick with what you’re going to do. Before I workout, I usually ask myself “do I really need to do this? Maybe I can rest for one more day.” But after wearing my workout clothes, my mind easily changes to “workout” mode. To be honest, I only own 3 sports bras and 2 workout leggings. They aren’t so cute because I got it very cheap and one of the sports bra can’t even support my breasts anymore. I would love to invest in more cute workout clothes but they’re kinda expensive and I find it hard to find a size that really matches my body.
Luckily, through Instagram, I found good brands that don’t just offer cute active wears but also offer a variety of sizes. One of them is StayinPlace I was shocked to see their sizing charts because of how vast it was! The designs are also so cute, it will most likely help you get motivated for the next workout. I recommend visiting their Instagram and website.
Another brand I found is Stronger . They are very stylish and will make you actually look forward to working out.
This is not a sponsored post. I do not own any of these brands but I would love to try them on, especially StayinPlace because of the support and sizing.
4. Read motivational quotes and save the ones that speak to you
I didn’t actually read my favorite quote but Daniel from BodyProject always mentions it. “Progress, not perfection” is one of their tag lines and it’s one of my favorite motivational quotes. Remember that one workout that you finish gets you closer to your goal! Always, always remember this. This will truly help you motivate yourself when you have no trainer to scream at you hahaha!
5. Look forward to the endorphins rush
I always feel good after a workout (the one after I lie on the floor and take a breather). The rush I feel is soooo much better for me than the serotonin given by my antidepressants. Also, it might be weird but I actually love being sore the next day. It makes me feel fulfilled and I talk to my muscles to rest and heal so we can do it again the next day.
6. Have a healthy relationship with food
Food is not your enemy! I never have “cheat days” because I refuse to call them that. Food is food and everything too much is harmful. Eat food in the right amounts and do not look at pizza like it’s the enemy. The keyword is “moderation”.
7. Hold yourself accountable
Try a challenge with a friend, or a workout calendar. Youtube challenges can really be a good motivation to workout. Posting it on your social media to hold yourself accountable would motivate you to finish it. However, I always suggest finding something that fits your fitness level so that you won’t be discouraged when you can’t finish a session. Vicky Justiz has free 30 day challenges on her website .
8. Do it for your and nothing else.
This is my most important workout motivation tip. Some people do it as a revenge after a break up, others want to look good for other people, some people do it to get the bullies off of their back. These motivations may work at first but it will not last long. Last year, most of my motivation came from wanting to look good for my ex-boyfriend for when we finally meet. When we broke up, I lost myself. I let go of myself thinking “what’s the harm?” and “what’s the point?”. So do this for yourself, for your health, for your best looking self and compete with your past self. Find a goal that benefits YOU and YOU alone. It’s not selfishness, it’s self love.
9. Do not be hard on yourself
Not everyday will be a good day. You don’t have to be hard on yourself if you really don’t feel like working out and your body and mind need a day off. We all do. That doesn’t mean you got off track and it certainly doesn’t mean that you failed. Listen to your body – it will need rest, it will need time off. Do not be hard on yourself. The mind and body are connected so listen to it.