How can you develop a consistent at home practice? I recently heard a really good podcast by one of my favorite yoga teachers’ coaches, Lucas Rockwood. I’ve adapted some of his ideas based on my experiences below. A lot of gyms and yoga studios are closed or closing right now. With the global pandemic, we have been facing stay at home orders, required masks and social distancing. This is making it challenging to find time and a space for your fitness. Even if you have a stationary bike, yoga mat or other equipment at home, it may be difficult getting yourself to use it. Having some kind of self-care, mind body fitness, some movement is super important. Especially right now, in this time, the virus has us looking more carefully at our own health and wellness and preventative care. Exercise is not just about burning calories and toning muscles. Exercise helps balance your endocrine system. The endocrine system consists of glands like your thyroid, adrenal glands, pancreas, ovaries and testes. Balancing these hormones is critical for feeling good, having a strong immune system, and being healthy. So whatever form of movement is your favorite, it’s time to get back to it.
The practice and the process are the reward in and of itself. I first developed an at home practice early in my yoga experience over 20 years ago using videos and a private yoga teacher. Over the years, I’ve mostly turned to yoga, Pilates, power walking, and an elliptical as my home fitness choices. There are some things that make it easier, and some personality types that make it easier. There are some times and stages in our lives when it seems easier, and times when it is much more difficult. I’ve used the following tools to help keep me going and make my at home fitness practice an integral part of my self-care. Self-care and taking care of your own health should be priority number 1. If your health is struggling, everything else gets puts to the back-burner. Exercise is an important part of self-care. So, whatever your exercise of choice or your personality, here are a few tips that can make it easier for you to succeed with fitness at home.
1. Buy some nice, special workout clothes that you feel good in. When we look bad, we feel bad. Sure, you can work out in your hole-y t-shirt and ragged sweatpants. However, when we really show up for ourselves and treat our body like an honored guest, we more easily take good care of ourselves. When you see yourself, you see someone who takes care of themselves. You then tend to identify as someone who cares about their health and wellness. You will feel more professional and take yourself more seriously. It signals to your brain that you are ready for exercise. I've seen this in my own life as I've up-leveled my yoga clothes. Some inexpensive ways I've found are to comb consignment shops for lightly used good quality yoga clothes. ThredUP is a great online consignment site for women. Another great benefit is how good your body looks in a nice pair of yoga clothes. Especially yoga pants. Really smooths out those edges!
2. Get some nice equipment. If you’re riding a bike, get a good bike that you will like to ride. If you’re working out with weights, get a really good set of weights that function well and will last. If you are doing yoga, get a good yoga mat. When you invest in this thing that you want to make important, it will be easier to put it higher on your list. It helps you identify as someone who cares about their health and wellness. You will feel more professional and take yourself more seriously. If you don’t enjoy the process of getting on the mat, you will be less likely to do so. I've noticed this with all my various equipment. My elliptical machine broke after 10 years of love, and even after getting it fixed, it hasn't been the same. And I've come to neglect it. It's functional, but it just doesn't work that well anymore and isn't as fun. I upgraded my Pilates machine and found myself much more interested in getting on it. I got a good yoga mat, and it elevated my practice. It made it easier for me to actually DO the yoga poses, therefore making it much more likely for me to get on my mat regularly. It's worth the investment.
3. Pair up your exercise with another activity and stick to a schedule. Our brains love a consistent routine. Your brain will seek out homeostasis. Sometimes a consistent routine and schedule can be very difficult, but if you can find a time that usually works for you to carve out a little exercise time, stick with that time. Before work or after work are often good times, even when your workday is variable. Research has also found that what can help create habits is pairing the new habit with one that's already established. For instance, if you typically eat breakfast then shower, tack on your workout right before you eat. Now you have exercise, breakfast, shower. If you typically eat dinner at 6:00, exercise at 5:00. Maybe you pair it with a different activity other than a meal. Exercise right after you put the baby down for a nap, right after you take the dog out, right after you get home from work, or just before you do another daily activity. Joining exercise in your mind with something else you do consistently already will help create a new habit.
4. Trust someone else not your own system. Someone else’s programming will help you do a little more. Many people doing their own system will often underperform. We end up doing the same thing over and over and don't hit different muscle groups. Tuning into a Zoom yoga class will challenge you more, move muscles you may have ignored, and you will get more out of your exercise. This is why pro athletes have coaches and trainers. We are more likely to do more for someone else than ourselves. You are unlikely to push yourself to the same level as a coach or teacher. Find someone else’s program to follow.
5. Try not to be alone. Even though many gyms and studios are closed, try to find a way to not be alone. Perhaps you can find an accountability partner or group. There are groups on Facebook, maybe a friend or family member, or join a Zoom class. It is so much more powerful than working out in isolation. The more you can play to our social human nature, the more it will be an incentive to keep you going. We are social beings. Join a group or a personal instructor and connect with other people. It's much more motivating when you are spending time with another person.
I hope you find this helpful. If you'd like to join me for a Zoom yoga class either in a group, or one-on-one, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out my Bookings page. We have a really great group of people who hang out on Zoom and do yoga. I can help be your accountability partner and together we can get your health and wellness back to Priority Number One!