What’s the single most important part of an exercise regimen? Is it consistency? Is it eating healthy? Is it a food journal? What if I told you that it’s none of those? By the way, those are all things I preach as at the top of the list if you want to succeed in losing weight and becoming healthy. There’s one thing that trumps them all though...motivation. Without motivation, it’s damn hard to accomplish anything listed above. I don’t mean a song that motivates you. Or flipping through Instagram and picturing yourself having a bikini body just like the ones the models you’re following have. You may be able to remain consistent for a few weeks with the motivation you get on the 1st of January but that will soon fade and before you know it the gym will be a long lost memory; leaving you right back where you started.
No, I mean the type of motivation that comes from within - intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation refers to behavior that is driven by internal rewards. Not the reward you buy yourself for losing 5 lbs (although that’s an excellent extrinsic motivator). I’m talking about the type of reward that can’t be bought. The type of reward that has you smiling for a few days...just because you enjoyed yourself. That, my friends, is true motivation.
Let me back up a sentence and the understanding will become clear...just because you enjoyed yourself. When you do something out of pure enjoyment, THAT’S intrinsic motivation.
“Josh, what’s your point?” My point is that if you want your fitness routine and healthy living to truly be successful, you have to do something you enjoy. Sure, running burns a bunch of calories but if you cringe at the thought of heading out for a 3 mile run, it won’t last very long. Yes, to help you lose weight you should do a variety of strength exercises using weights. Lifting weights might not be for you though. Which is fine...get your strength in by doing yoga or a barre class or a bootcamp class.
By now you’re starting to realize that I like to keep things simple so here’s what you have to do every day to ensure long term success:
Move enough to raise your heart rate for 20 minutes or more by doing something you enjoy.
Strengthen the muscles of the body by doing something you enjoy
Combine #1 and #2 with good eating habits and voila (I’m in Paris writing this...and you know what they say; “when in Rome [or Paris] use the word voila”).
I could care less HOW you move or HOW you strengthen. If you move and strengthen in ways that make you intrinsically happy you will have long term success.