Need A Little Workout Motivation

by Jeri
(Hawaii)

Hi Monica,

Lately more days than others have been difficult for me to get up & work out. Some days I can't bear to get on the elliptical but I do even if it's only for 20 minutes. Fortunately, I've kept up with my strength training workouts by changing up my equipment/routines.

As you know I'm still getting over my right knee runner's knee injury. However, a few months ago I started feeling a slight "twinge" in my left knee too. So I find myself pushing my running date back yet again & I'm getting really frustrated. I really do miss my running endorphins. In addition, I found out I may be out of a job before the end of the year & that's been weighing heavily on my mind.

Furthermore, my monthly hormones have been affecting my mood a little more than usual - my confidence levels will dip & it's even more difficult for me to find the motivation to workout.

As a result, the stress & decreased cardio has been showing up on the scale as an additional +3 lbs. I know it's only a few pounds but I can't seem to get rid of it & it's significant enough to really bug me because I'm terrified of gaining all the weight back again.

Fortunately, I haven't been using food as a coping mechanism like I used to in the past. Also, I've been using a friend's pool on the weekends & trying to do a little more yoga to relieve stress. In addition, I found out my old stationary bike still works.

I know stress levels can affect the scale. I have a girlfriend who does everything rights (works out religiously & eats very well) but who can't seem to get rid of the last 10 lbs because her stress levels with work & family are through the roof. Furthermore, I know if I do lose my job it's more important than ever to keep up my fitness routine.

I guess I just need a little workout motivation pep talk (& maybe a new workout routine/tips).

Mahalo.




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Need A Little Workout Motivation

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embrace change to boost motivation
by: Monica

Hi Jeri

I'm sorry to hear why you're feeling so low but I'm glad you posted this. One of the hardest things to do is to let go of what is no longer working especially if it's what helped you reach your present success.

But if you think about it everything in life is about change. Think about what babies go through in their first two years of life. As a parent it's exciting to see them progress from laying to sitting to crawling to standing to walking and running and then climbing onto everything. Imagine if babies acted like some of us adults do about change. They would never get around to walking at all : )

I've noticed that my workout motivation decreased most when I was fighting the inevitable (career change, divorce, move to a new city or home, injuries, etc.). I've realized over the years that how we react to what goes on in our lives greatly impacts our motivation in general.

My clients who go with the flow never seem to lose their workout mojo and those who fight change tooth and nail are the ones who no-show for weeks on end and then come back expecting miracles.

My client Howie is like the perfect example of somebody who just goes with the flow. After he found out his cancer came back he said "I don't want to stop working out so what do we need to change so I can keep coming in?"

This experience of working with all types of people for nearly 10 years now has really opened my eyes to the concept of embracing big time change.

Fighting it is exhausting and it wears you down physically, mentally, and emotionally which completely shuts off your motivation. Right now your body has had it with running, your hormones are changing too (women actually have the most hormone shifts in their 30's than they do in their 50's) plus you might also need to change careers. The only logical choice is to embrace complete change all the way.

I think what your body needs right now is 3 main things: a healing workout plan, a new form of exercise that gives you the same boost as running and that doesn't injure you further (maybe clubbells or kettlebells), plus recovery workouts that address both postural imbalances as well as stress and confidence levels.

What is your workout program like now from day to day? What exercises are you doing, how long, how much weight etc. What other areas of your body hurt or feel really tight and what areas feel overly flexible? What type of exercise do you dread the most or find the most challenging mentally? What part of your routine do you enjoy the most?

If you can give me a few more details, I can make more specific recommendations and help you turn this around.

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My "Typical" Workout Routine #1
by: Jeri

Hi Monica,
Here is my typical workout week:
SUN Elliptical 30 min/Strength-Training 25 min
MON Rest
TUE Elliptical 30 min/Strength-Training 25 min
WED Yoga 20-30 min
THU Elliptical 30 min/Strength-Training 25 min
FRI Rest (I take a brisk 20 min walk during lunch)
SAT Pool workout 45 min
ELLIPTICAL: I use pre-programmed interval routines w/ varying inclines & resistances (I make sure Im sweating) & I try to run backwards at least 75% of the time (to work my glutes more). I find the only way I can get through the elliptical workouts is by covering the clock & either watching tv/flipping through a magazine (which I know may affect my intensity level). For a change of pace Ill get on the stationary bike (7 out of 10 resistance level).
STRENGTH-TRAINING: I divide it into (3) sections in the following order
Upper: 10-12 reps for each shoulders, biceps, triceps, back, & chest, no rest in between, repeat entire circuit = 3 sets. Depending on my mood & energy level, I use a pair of free weights (10 or 12 lbs each) or resistance bands (medium). A typical circuit workout - shoulder overhead press, bicep curls, triceps kickback, back row, chest flyes
Lower includes at least 2-3 exercises of each of the following: (3) knee rehab exercises, glute exercises (i.e. on tummy or tummy on stability ball-donkey/straight leg lifts, etc.), hamstrings (using stability ball-bridge lifts, hamstring curls, etc), & pilates based moves (leg lifts, leg circles, etc.).
Core my go to moves are those using the stability ball (plank, roll out, back extensions, etc.) and/or 6-lb medicine ball. Im not sure how many reps are enough so I try to do at least 100 reps/approx 5-6 moves).

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My "Typical" Workout Routine #2
by: Jeri

Here's the 2nd part of my response:

Tightness/Flexiblity - Ive been following your post-workout flow recommendations (pigeon, downward dog, bends, cat/cow, childs pose, seated bends, etc). Ill give you more details once I test the stretches you recommended but my hips do usually feel tight (I dont think Im overflexible in any part of my body).
Most enjoyable/Mentally challenging My lower & upper strength training & yoga workouts because I have to concentrate on my form still sometimes I have to push myself to just do it & not overthink it..

Least enjoyable/Dread elliptical (as I mentioned going past 20 min has been difficult) & core (I save it at the end & I know I probably rush through it)

To prevent myself from always doing the same moves over & over I put together a series of workout binders & divided them among: Core, Lower, & Free/Bands/Ball (I cut & paste exercises I got from my fitness magazines/websites-freeworkouts) so I can just open my binder & follow the workouts I put together (Im one of those type A/highly organized personality). If Im not sweating during or feeling slightly sore the next day I know I need to change up my routine.

Still, Im a creature of habit & I like structure so even though I vary the exercises Ive been following the same circuit routine since I started lifting weights 3 yrs ago. Im worried about making sure I workout all of my different body parts so I categorize my workouts based on body parts.

Also, I realized I not only miss running but I miss being able to jump rope & kickbox as well as being able to hold 1 leg balance poses during yoga. So overall I miss challenging my body & keeping my heart rate up with difficult workouts that most people would dread.

I know I need to think outside the box. Maybe I a new piece of equipment will help (you recommended I start w/ 15 lbs kettlebells since I can curl 10 lb free weights) I just havent gone around to it & stuck with what I know because its comfortable.

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I don't know you will like my answer
by: Monica

Jeri

Thanks for posting in such detail. I'm afraid to post my answer. I know why you're in so much pain but what happens when I tell people the truth is they usually get really angry and they take what I'm saying as a criticism.

I definitely want to help you but I would like to see your pics first and get reassurance that you will be o.k. with what I have to say about your existing routine.

Also do you have a way to watch video? It's much too involved to do it with pics.

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At this point, I'm open to anything
by: Jeri

Hi Monica,
I just sent my (4) pics to you. In addition, I want to reassure you I respect any advice you have to give me. You don't have to sugar coat it either - I believe in constructive & truthful criticism. And if you want me to scrap my existing workout routine and start over from scratch I'm willing to do it.

And yes, I can watch a video.

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quick tips for correcting lower cross syndrome
by: Monica

Again thanks for all the pics and for taking the time to do all the tests. Diagnosing postural imbalances is impossible without all the info you gave me.

It will take me a couple of days to re-design your program but in the mean time replace all back extensions, biceps, triceps, and shoulder exercises with more upper back work plus more chest work on the stability ball (presses, pullovers, flys, rows using all types of grips as well as various types of equipment) plus do the following three exercises daily. So even on off days when you don't train the rest of your body be sure to do the exercises below.

1. Wall psoas stretch - in the same position as the pic I sent in the last email with one hand on lower belly the other on low back contract the glutes and tuck tailbone under and hold for three seconds then release. Do 2 sets of 10 every day (after a workout if you're working out that day)

2. Fire log pose but add a forward bend. Hold the pose with forward bend for 30 seconds at a time 3-4 times. Be sure to do both sides. You may not be able to get the knees down at first but as you practice bending forward it will begin to happen and your glutes will begin to lengthen allowing your toes and knees to align forward vs. out to the sides. This alone will make a huge difference in the amount of pressure you're feeling on the knees. Take it slow at first.

3. Core activation exercise #1. If you can do #1 without tensing the glutes, low back, or upper back then progress to #3. This will restore a more natural lumbar curve which will help lengthen those hip flexors.

I will post more suggestions for you in a couple of days. The good news is your lower cross syndrome isn't that severe and you are catching it early vs. later when it would be much more complicated to correct.

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oops mistake
by: Monica

Sorry I meant to say progress to core #3 not core #2. I corrected it on the last post but wanted to make sure you saw that. #2 is actually the easiest version.

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Working on revamping my routine
by: Jeri

I'm printing out everything you sent me so far, placing it in a new binder, & reading everything carefully so I make sure I follow all of your instructions. Mahalo =)

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