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Motivation and Exercise

Posted Feb 25 2011 4:28pm
Exercise is a major topic that is regularly discussed not only in the blog world but in the real world as well. I am frequently asked how often I exercise and how I stay in shape, my response is simple I do what I can to stay as active as possible. Although it sounds easy I have not always been someone who has exercised regularly and stuck to a consistent routine. Like most people I have always struggled with adhering to a workout routine and often would get frustrated when I hadn’t worked out in awhile . I would start off going to the gym 5 times a week for a month or so then get busy and maybe only make it once a week, my intentions were always good but for some reason I could never stick to a plan. As one of my goals for this year I decided I wanted to make a exercise routine and stick to it. While this was a good idea at first a few weeks into it I realized I never really sat down and discovered why I am exercising. When I got home I got out a piece of paper and made a list which led me to discover I wanted exercise to be more than just a routine I wanted to make it a part of my healthy lifestyle. I realized i’m not exercising to lose five pounds or look better in a bikini, I am exercising because it makes me happy!

So many people say they want to exercise but it just does not happen.  People often believe they are just too busy, don’t have the energy, are embarrassed, or simply just don’t prioritize exercise in their life. The question is not only how do you get motivated to exercise, but how to  make it a part of your lifestyle? In my struggles I discovered like healthy eating exercise is more than just a plan. You need to develop concrete reasons why you should exercise and make it an important part of your life. For example maybe you want to exercise because it makes you feel powerful, maybe you do it to clear your mind so you can focus and tackle your day, maybe you exercise because you want to be healthy for your kids or grandkids, whatever it may be think of two or three reasons why you exercise and write them down, put them somewhere where you will see them daily and remember it is more than just a routine, exercise is a lifestyle.

“80 percent of success is showing up.” – Woody Allen

To make motivation a little easier I have listed a few health benefits of exercise:

Increased energy:

The right combination of exercise and nutrition creates an hormonal environment conducive to fat loss, increased muscle strength and increased energy. When your body is working at peak efficiency, your energy levels soar! I have also found that exercise leads to healthier eating which also provides energy!

Increased Self-Esteem:

Gaining control of your body size and weight through fitness is an amazing way to increase self-esteem. You look better and are more confident which empowers you in everything you do. You will find that the self-discipline required and learned through regular exercise spills over into other areas of your life and you will be better able to make other necessary and desirable changes.

Increase Mental Focus:

The latest research shows that exercise helps keep the brain sharp well into old age? Anything that involves mental acuity (focus and concentration) is improved. You also stand a much better chance of avoiding such diseases as Alzheimer’s and senility.

Decreased Risk of a Heart Attack:

Regular physical activity can help control blood lipid abnormalities, diabetes and obesity. Aerobic physical activity can also help reduce blood pressure.

Decreased Risk of Osteoporosis:

Regular exercise, especially weight-bearing exercise, reduces the risk of osteoporosis, and can even reverse it buy building bone tissue.

Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer:

Estradiol and progesterone, two ovarian hormones linked to breast cancer tumor production are lowered in the body by exercise.

Reduced Depression:

The production of Endorphins (Feel good hormones) is increased through exercise. Nothing improves mood and suppresses depression better than endorphins and exercise!

Decreased Stress Levels:

The worries and stresses of everyday living (commuting, work demands, conflicts etc.) can stick with you long after the work day is done. Exercise right after work is the perfect natural therapy that can change your mood. You’ll sleep better too!

Increased Immunity:

During moderate exercise immune cells circulate through the body more quickly and are better able to kill bacteria and viruses.

These are just a few benefits of exercise for more check out this site.

You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.

- Charles Buxton

I also believe it is important to find something you enjoy, whether its hiking, running, taking exercise classes, working out with a friend, or doing videos it will be much easier to stick with exercising regularly if you look forward to it. Also don’t feel like you HAVE to exercise every day, in fact I believe rest is the key to recovery. If you continually push yourself you will get burnt out or worse get injured. Listen to your body and if you need a day off take one. I do however believe in being as active as you possibly can be every day, just because you take a day off from exercise does not mean you have an excuse to lay on the couch and watch TV all day. Take a short walk, do some light yoga or stretching, remember being active is a lifestyle so do your best to maintain your lifestyle even on rest days.

Finally, reward your efforts with healthy food that will nourish and repair your body. You will never recover after a hard workout if you don’t properly refuel with lean protein, complex carbs, fruit and vegetables. Just keep in mind that what you eat plays a major role in how you look so be mindful. Just because you completed a hard workout does not mean you have permission to gorge on whatever you would like. Look at food as a source of energy that will provide you with what you need to recover.

Stir Fry with Almond Coconut Sauce

adapted from The Real Food Diet


3 C water

1 C wheat berries soaked overnight

2 T olive or coconut oil

2 zucchini

1 onion

1 portobello mushroom

1/4 cilantro

Meat of choice: we used 14 oz tofu  and 1/2 lb chicken



For the sauce:

1 T Honey

1/4 C almond butter

juice 1 lime

1 garlic clove

1/2 C coconut milk (full fat)

2 T Braggs liquid aminos

1 T water

1 T fresh ginger

Crushed red pepper

Directions: Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add wheat berries and cook one hour, drain and set aside. Add the sauce ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth, set aside. If using tofu cut into strips and press water out then cut into triangles. In a large skillet add 1 tbsp oil over medium high heat, once pan is hot add tofu and cook 4-5 minutes per side until brown. Once cooked set aside add the rest of the oil and onions. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and cook 3-4 minutes or until translucent, add in zucchini and mushroom. In the meantime preheat a grill pan over medium high heat. Dice chicken into cubes, sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Grill until cooked through. Once vegetables are cooked down add back in tofu to warm. Plate cooked wheat berries, top with vegetable/tofu mixture and sprinkle with cilantro. Drizzle with sauce and save extra for dipping, serve!

Assemble your ingredients, I precooked my wheat berries the night before and then reheated them to save time.

Combine sauce ingredients in a blender and process until smooth, pour into a bowl and set aside.

Add one tbsp olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat, add tofu and cook 4-5 minutes per side until brown and beautiful, set aside.

Add another tbsp oil to the skillet, saute onions until translucent, add zucchini and mushrooms, saute a few minutes until cooked and add tofu back in to warm.

Cook your boyfriend (who thinks hes a carnivore) his chicken and set aside.

Plate up the veggies and wheat berries, sprinkle with cilantro

drizzle liberally with the delicious coconut sauce, and enjoy!

Rewarding your body with an energizing, healthy meal such as this one makes exercise worth every effort!

By the way my giveaway ends TONIGHT so you still have time to enter if you would like to win this amazing cookbook filled with more fabulous healthy recipes like this one!  Winner will be announced tomorrow :)


Exercise and application produce order in our affairs, health of body, cheerfulness of mind, and these make us precious to our friends.

- Thomas Jefferson


What are some reasons why you exercise? I love the way it makes me feel both while i’m exercising and after, I feel powerful and strong. I also exercise because I want to stay healthy for my self and my family, I also feel like I have more control of my life when I exercise which is very important to me.

I found this site where a blogger lists her motivations for exercise. Can you relate?

Tips to stay motivated? I have found blogging has also really improved my motivation, I love reading about other bloggers healthy lifestyles and workouts, you all  inspire me!

Favorite exercises? Spinning, Kickboxing, Hiking, and Yoga!

Plans this weekend? I’m hoping Dutch will take me up to Cincinatti tomorrow to do some shopping. They have a Crate and Barrel, Jungle Jims, AND Trader Joes :)

Have a relaxing Friday night!

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