Faithful Fitness Tips for Fall
As summer season is starting to slow down, we are less concerned (thankfully) about that ‘swimsuit’ body that society so pushes and more concerned with all the activities that keep us busy during the school year.  Its also easy for us to put our own health and fitness on the back burner while we put others first. Here are a few of my tips that I have found helped me stay consistent and persistent in staying in shape even during the busy seasons of life.

1. Get Ready!

Before you even get started, you need to prepare yourself for the ‘game before the game.” Having the right mind set, attitude, and goals are very important before you start any fitness regimen. I see it often. You’re excited to get started on a fitness program, you get to the gym, meet your trainer, hop on the treadmill for 10 minutes, and then you check the mirror and get discouraged. You may feel that you have a long way to go before you get where you want to be. You feel defeated before you ever got started and you give up. The cycle continues. ..

In my experience with fitness, you truly have to set your mind on the prize and stop at nothing until you get there.  It’s a warrior type position where you will fight until you get what you want. Sometimes you will have to do things you don’t want to do in order to get where you want to be. Whether its waking up a bit earlier every day to make it to the gym before the kids wake up or fitting in a quick walk between appointments during the day. Think of your workouts as an important meeting that you have scheduled with yourself. Bosses don’t cancel so don’t you cancel! I believe that old saying is true, “If it is important to you, you will find a way.” Keep photos, tear out magazine pages, take pictures of what you picture your body looking and feel like in 1, 3, 6 months.  Go shopping and buy an outfit that you are determined to get into, select a race and aim for training for that day so that you will finish strong. Have an accountability partner walk with you in the mornings before the chaos of the day begins. Having someone you are consistently talking to about your goals really is helpful!
Its okay to feel discouraged and overwhelmed, and not want to go workout one day, we all feel that way at some point.  It’s just important that you just don’t give up and you don’t give yourself too many ‘outs’. Be careful convincing yourself “I am not a morning person, I’ll do it later.” Any sort of procrastination or excuse will quickly derail you from bumping off course. Also, you have to shut out the constant chatter of negative thoughts that tend to sneak into your mind and take them captive! A negative mindset is a huge obstacle that will keep you from getting where you want to be.  You will become stronger both physically and mentally if you keep persevering and pushing past the negative thoughts that fill your mind.  Your ‘willing to’ has to be greater than your ‘want to’.

2. Build up your inner motivation
Spend time reflecting on what your INNER reason ‘Why’. Why do you want to being a fitness routine in the first place?  Is it so that you will feel more confident? Have more energy?  Fit into the pre-baby jeans? Have more endurance, more stamina? Or is it a challenge that you want to see yourself overcome. If it is any or all these above, you have a great reason to start somewhere.  However, if your inner reason is to look good for others, to impress others, or to validate yourself, realize that you will be setting yourself up for failure and it is less likely to stand and the test of time. Have a firm vision of where you want to be.  The vision is crucial and it is what will carry you through the discouragement, exhaustion, and tendency to want to give up.  Know that inspiration and motivation may come and go but consistency is key. Commit to consistency in order to achieve your long term goal. Once you have established you core reason ‘why’, maintain your focus, put one foot in front of the other, and visualize yourself achieving your goal. Know that results won’t happen over night but the good news its that results will come. Have patience and concentrate on exactly what you want, don’t take your eyes off of it, and make every day count.

3. Get Set!
1) Get excited and be prepared to take on the workout by having a few things in line before. MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC!  I love all kinds of music, I literally have it streaming all day every day . Having a great playlist is crucial.  With that being said, I am pretty careful about what I let into my mind.  I realize that everyone’s taste in music is different and that’s a good thing, but be mindful that your ears are the gates that lead to your mind so don’t just let anything inside. Does it lift you up? Does it feed your soul? Does it inspire and make you feel good about yourself and others?  Lately, I have really come to love worship songs while working out. Honestly, it took me a while to even try listening to ‘Christian’ music because I just didn’t realize what great music was out there.  I know what you may be thinking, ‘worship music, really?” YES!! Have you heard of Christian House music? (that will get you moving!) Yes, its out there and it is AWESOME!   Sometimes while I am running, I get so emotional listening to the beautiful lyrics and praising my Heavenly Father, my heart starts racing, my feet start accelerating and I am all of a sudden running twice my normal pace! Why? Because my soul is being fed.  I feel so alive and on fire that nothing, and no one can stop me.  Check out Spotify or Pandora for some amazing worship workout music.  2) Have your plan ready. Don’t just go to the gym without a rhyme or reason to your routine.  Don’t just go on a run without consideration of how far or how long you want to go. Having a plan aligns you with success and keeps you on track with your goals.  3) Find some comfortable workout clothes that you love.  There is something great about feeling good (and looking cute) in what you’re wearing. It makes you feel more confident and ready to bring that workout ON.
4) Consider sleeping in your workout clothes.  I have done this before and it truly helps make the early mornings even more possible when I am dressed and ready to get out the door.  5) Find your cheerleader. Tell your husband, your friend, your trainer about your daily, weekly, monthly goals and objectives and allow them speak positivity into you and encourage you often.

4. GO!
1) Remind yourself your inner ‘Why’, your goals, and your visions for yourself and GO!  In regards to running, I like to think in minutes, not in miles.  Set your focus on a mile marker and tell yourself that you WILL get there in x minutes. I’ve done this before. I tell myself to get to the end of the road where the lamp post is and come back within a certain time. The funny thing  that happens is not only will I get there, but I’ll be so thrilled I made it, I just keep going! It’s amazing what your body is capable of, its your mind you have to convince.
2) Meditate on scripture.  Again, this may sound funny to some but I wholeheartedly believe that God’s Word brings life! Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edge sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow”.  When scripture permeates your heart, things change, hearts change, attitudes change.  It is unbelievable how this practice has developed me into a much stronger athlete and has transformed me from the inside out. I dare you to try it too! It may sound daunting or intimidating at first, just start slow and start small. What I do is I pick one verse from notes I’ve created in my phone, and as I am running, I will repeat it a few times and let it sink in.   It not only distracts me from the workout at, but it renews my mind and strengthens me- exactly what my heart needs everyday.   I love 1 Corinthins 9:24-25, “You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins.  Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one thats gold’s eternal.”  Here are a few of my other favorite scriptures for running and racing:

5. It’s Ok to fail sometimes.
I have a love/hate relationship with peanut butter. The struggle is real y’all.  Don’t get me wrong, peanut butter is an excellent choice of protein and healthy for you, but when you eat the entire jar 2-3/week, you have a problem.  Its inevitable that we go off course sometimes and get off track on our fitness journey.  Please don’t beat yourself up. Give yourself grace, take a deep breath, and start the next day refreshed and ready to resume your mission.

6. Have Fun 
Find something you love and do it with enthusiasm! When you find your passion or something that just excites you, you are motivated to do it again.

7. Celebrate YOU 
Don’t forget to celebrate yourself and your successes along the way. You should be proud of yourself for staying committed to you. In life and as a parent,  we often put others before ourselves.  Staying dedicated and investing in your physical and spiritual health will reap major rewards for years to come.  Fitness is about so much more than just exercise or a quick fix. It is a catalyst for positive changes that will affect every aspect of your life. So get out there, have fun, and refuse to give up!


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