Monday, 18 February 2013

Using Romance to Incentivize your Fitness Goals

Did you start off 2013 by telling yourself you'd change your ways and get back into exercising, yet haven't found the motivation to get to the gym? You might find motivation by considering your love life. Because whether you're single and looking for a mate or attached and looking to bring back the magic, a fitter, healthier body can certainly make a difference.

An effective way to get yourself moving is to set aside your worries about how you can achieve those overall fitness goals for 2013. Instead, set short term, easily attainable objectives. Once you get past that first day of exercise, it will get easier from there.

Then, think of a reasonable target and post it up: "Two weeks from today, I will be at a regular interval of X minutes of exercise that fits into my calendar." Make sure your goal is something you can actually achieve, because setting the bar too high and then coming up short may set your motivation back to square one.

Julie Oldenski, a triathelete and full-time fitness instructor, says that beating yourself up because you've fallen a little short in your fitness dream can eat at your resolve.

"The most important thing is to persevere and not fall into an overly self-critical, negative attitude," she says. "Rather than get mad at yourself for not meeting your most ambitious goals, set interim objectives that you can achieve more easily. You can say to yourself, 'Before Valentine's Day, I'm going to commit to three days a week that I must get 30 minutes of exercise, and by St. Patrick's Day, I'll increase it to 45 minutes or an hour."

She was recently taken off course in her own training due to an illness.

"I was disappointed to lose a week of training and work, but as soon as I felt better, I had to force myself to get back into the swing of things. It's okay if you're not always excited to get to the gym, but it is important to stick with it."

If you're single, you should want to look your best for a potential match. Starting on a fitness regimen before spring arrives will put you in a better position to be looking good by summer time (beach weather!). Not to mention that you might come across a romantic partner who shares your fitness goals.

"We tend to see a bump in membership activity around Valentine's Day," says Christopher Mattioli, President of Fitness Singles, the largest online meeting place for active singles. "Our subscribers are looking for people who share their passion for exercise and fitness someone who wants do similar activities, whether that's running, hiking, working out or any other physical activity. Finding a new mate at Valentine's Day can give you the motivation to be into a whole new fitness routine by spring and have lots of activities planned for warmer weather."

He says that couples who exercise together have better relationships because they have a shared goal of keeping in shape, as well as taking part in activities that are enjoyable and stimulating. It also helps motivate each other to stay healthy, he noted.

If you're in a relationship or married, making exercise and fitness part of a daily routine may have an impact on your romantic life. You'll not only be showing that you care about your appearance, you'll improve your energy level, your mood and your confidence. Plus, you'll be setting a positive example for your significant other to work on their fitness.

And whether you're just getting to know someone or in a long term relationship, planning fitness oriented dates such as hiking, running, yoga or other activities show originality. Instead of the typical date activity like sitting there watching a movie, do something that gets you out there and breaking a sweat.

So let's go over some priorities:
- Do one activity today that you didn't do yesterday to improve your fitness
- Write down a reachable goal you can hit in four weeks
- Create additional goals for another month further out, but not beyond; you should be concentrating on what's attainable in the immediate future
- Give yourself credit for ever milepost you reach, but don't berate yourself if you fall a bit short; this is about positive progress

New Year's resolutions have always been a bit overrated and are usually broken quickly, since it's difficult to set broad goals for an entire year and actually stick to them. But take a little bite out of the challenge each day, and you'll be on your way to better fitness than you ever thought possible.

Christopher D. Greene is a freelance writer living in Buffalo, NY.

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