Is it your responsibility to keep the fitness motivation high in your family? Do you have the motivation to work out regularly? Do you feel like getting motivated to exercise when depressed? Achieving fitness goals is a distant dream? That is getting out of bed in the morning, staring at the phone, and remembering the previous evening’s setbacks.
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The workout motivation quotes do not work in our day-to-day family lives. Who wants to exercise when the son does not care to come home on time despite repeated pleas? And who wants to work out when Dad is always awake, whatever time you come home? Any physical activity seems less important when you are depressed for a different reason every day. You are not motivated to work at all. There is no intrinsic motivation, and extrinsic motivation is hard to come by.
Every day, I read an inspirational fitness story on the net. It sometimes helps to keep depressing thoughts away.
It is about my better half, whom I have always wanted to inspire to work out, not that she is unfit. Nonetheless, a fitter wife is better prepared to fight domestic battles. I always tell her it will all work out. She is not into workouts, though she does care about nutrition to an extent.
My attempts started the day we got married. Although I am not the nagging type, what adds up to nagging is purely a personal thought.
1. Show Inclination
It was the first day in our new home after marriage. You know those plans the newly married couple makes. We will have a beautiful house, always listen to each other, take care of each other, and stay healthy. We will have an exercise routine that was later added.
I suggested to my wife that we go for a walk the next morning, and she agreed. And we went, of course, a bit late in the morning. Getting up early for a workout is difficult for a newly married couple.
But we went. On the way, we discussed our fitness goals and the need to do regular physical activity. We discussed various workout options.
But all this fizzled out with time, like most other marriage resolutions.
My wife did go to the gym with her friend for some months, though. A personal trainer was also appointed. A fitness routine for regular exercise was planned. A workout time was fixed, and lots of workout gear was purchased.
We did initiate various workout plans later, but none materialized. All achievable goal plans went down the drain under the pretext of a busy schedule.
Why is it often easier to start a fitness program than maintain one?
2. Desire to Workout
By nature, all human beings like to look and feel good in whatever circumstances, so there is some desire to exercise in everyone, though, in most people, it varies from 0 to 1%.
You only have to do some positive reinforcement to convince yourself or anyone else.
That’s Easy? Yeah. easier said than done. Let me relate how I have been trying to convince her all these years.
She was very regular when she used to go to the health club with her friend and do a very effective workout.
She also does some walking on and off. She can walk for 5 km daily, but that intrinsic motivation is missing.
Her average would be 30 days a year in the last 29 years since we married, as that exercise motivation is missing. It has never become a part of her daily routine.
3. Lead by Example
I have been doing Yoga for the last fourteen years and running marathons for seven. I consider myself maintaining acceptable fitness levels.
But, isn’t going out by yourself boring? What is the use of this fitness if your better half is not as fit, your children or your parents are not so active?
Isn’t it better if we, as a family, try and stay equally fit and active? Stay medicine free, for that matter.
4. Options for Motivation to workout
I felt I would have to start motivating my wife first and asked her one day, “How about coming with me for a run?”
She, of course, didn’t like the idea and asked, “Why don’t you stop running now? You have done enough running in the last six years and collected so many medals, now why don’t you stop?”
No place to keep medals now.
You run so fast; I would rather walk alone than run with you. You can join me for a walk in the evening. But I returned by 8 p.m. from the office, and her walk started at 6 a.m.
I persisted. You can do yoga with me on my yoga days, i.e., Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. What will I do for the rest of the day? She asked. The topic was closed then and there.
Nor did her walking start. Fitness motivation is challenging if you have to make someone start.
5. Self-Motivation to Workout
I didn’t like returning from running and seeing her sitting there waiting for me to have tea. There are absolutely no family activities near us.
So I suggested one day again, “You rather start by doing Pranayama with me? She said, “I don’t like it, and I don’t want to get up so early either.”
I will instead join the gym again or Zumba classes.” She did go to the gym for a couple of days. But she was reminiscing about her old gym days and did so much in two days that her whole body was sore and kept aching for the next full week.
She got angry when I told her she shouldn’t have done so much on the first day. You know how they feel about husbands lecturing them. Later she tried Zumba, and there too, repeated the same mistake.
She also complained about back pain, pain behind her ear, and feeling dizzy when she looked down, which always happened at work.
I was sure she wanted to do something as she did not like her increasing body weight.
6. Rewards for Motivation to Workout
On her birthday, I gave her running shoes and promised to run slower than if she came for a run. It was my umpteenth attempt to motivate her to exercise.
She didn’t want me to stop running. You know that’s how they are. On the one hand, she would tell me to stop running but then refuse to let me. So she agreed to run with me on a couple of Sundays.
I did not believe it initially, but she did come. After that, we did a walk-jog, starting with 3 km that day.
But a couple of Sundays later, the runner in me couldn’t resist. So I made her do almost 10 km of walk-jog. A big mistake, I agree. Again she started complaining of backache.
We went to a doctor and took X-rays, but there was nothing. She didn’t run again, though. She would say she is too tired to exercise after work.
7. Fear of Illness
Then we shifted to a new place. During our shift, she had to lift lots of luggage, arrange it in the new flat, and settle into her new kitchen.
By evening, she started feeling giddy, and by night, she started vomiting like mad. She continuously vomited for 7 to 8 hours, every half hour. Finally, we all got so nervous that we couldn’t sleep that night.
We took her to the hospital the next morning, and she was admitted there for several days. She didn’t like it there as the hospital’s smell was not very nice.
Sitting there, I mentioned if she had started Pranayama at least, she wouldn’t be here today. That did the trick. She said, ok, and will try it. So she began Pranayama.
I had been doing it for seven years and wanted her to do exactly like me. She didn’t like nagging and stopped doing it. Why is it so hard to get motivated to exercise?
But she stopped doing it in front of me. She tried it by watching TV and on YouTube. Finally, she did it alone while I was away at the office. After a week, she told me about it.
I was happy. She consistently did it for a week. I asked her on Sunday to show me how she did. I shouldn’t have asked her, as I disliked how she was doing. So she told you not to look. I know I’m correct and feel good doing it.
8. Yoga – The Easy Way to Start
It was the line I had wanted to hear from her all these years, and she said it so simply there. If she felt good, I knew she might continue and form a habit.
So she started pranayama, courtesy of Baba Ramdev, on TV. I knew she would feel good doing Anulom-Vilom properly, as it is quite refreshing when done slowly.
She eventually got into the habit of doing it and some other pranayamas and kapalbhatis.
Then I asked her one day to try and do some yoga asanas along with Pranayama. I said I could show you the best exercises to stay fit. I can teach you those you can do with Baba Ramdev on TV or some other instructor on youtube.
Well, she agreed to learn from me again and immediately stopped. but didn’t stop altogether. She continued with a yoga instructor, Khuahhish, and others on Tata Sky TV. So I partly achieved my objective.
To date, her morning pranayama and yoga continue.
9. Turning Adversity into Opportunity
During the Corona lockdown, I felt we should be cautious now. We had more time to devote to ourselves. I always dreamed of evergreen family health. Now I’m also trying to persuade my daughters to start working out. The elder agreed to exercise in her room by watching YouTube videos on her phone.
For her staying healthy is staying in starvation mode and taking diet drinks. The younger one agreed to do it in the evening, but only if our parents were out of the way.
Her only question was, “What should I eat after a workout?” She insists on a high-protein vegetarian diet for herself.
It was my opportunity to convince my wife to do something more. I suggested, “Let’s go to the terrace every evening for a walk while the girls work out.”
Now we walk for an hour every day. But I am happy she is doing something, though not enough, for me.
I do miss my running, though. But I feel much more satisfied looking at all the family members doing some workout every day.
10. A Healthier Tomorrow
We four collectively lost about 14 kg during the first lockdown, which I didn’t lose. So who cares how much each one lost?
The Covid lockdown continued, and the second wave started too. Interestingly all were safe except for me. Covid doesn’t understand that I work out daily.
We are all moving towards a healthier tomorrow, which is more important. I feel we should start creating a community healthcare network now.