Finding the motivation to exercise can be one of the easiest yet most difficult thing to do. We all know how much exercise can benefit us, yet sometimes it can be hard to get moving.
I’ve always been quite active both in my spare time and work time. Majority of my previous jobs have been very physically demanding and in my spare time I tried to keep myself busy because I was in a deep pit of depression. A couple years ago I decided I wanted a change and I got myself a office job. It was a huge change. I wasn’t used to being sat at a desk. A couple months into the job and I got lazy. I sat at my desk for about 8 hours, went home and sat at home or went straight to bed. Over time it took a toll on my health. All the crap that I used to be able to eat without any weight gain was now catching up on me and I was losing more and more confidence each day.
Mid way through my counselling and I knew I needed to make some changes. So I started with my diet and then moved onto exercise. When you suffer from a mental illness it can be extremely hard to get moving. I struggled to get the motivation to move. I couldn’t join a gym because of my anxiety and I couldn’t afford it. My anxiety stopped me from taking my dog for a walk which was normally part of my evening routine but I lost all confidence in myself and I couldn’t face leaving the house unless it was for work or a piss up. I searched on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook for home workouts. I’d say I stuck with them for about a week and then I couldn’t be arsed with them. They made me feel more shit about myself. I was watching all these beautiful fitness addicts with their toned muscles and little fat do exercises that to them looked easy, but to me it wasn’t. I wobbled and lost balance. My body would shake and tremble. I couldn’t do it and it made me feel more like a failure than what I already thought.
One evening I was sat in my bedroom listening to music through my ear phones. Granted, at the time I was quite high but I started to feel more energetic and upbeat. So much so that I ended up dancing around my room. The dancing ended up leading to me doing some squats and crunches and it was the best evening ever! I woke up the next morning feel good about myself. I had moved my body. I exercised. To this day I spend most evenings listening to my music and just dancing around my room. It’s now part of my daily routine. It’s what I do to keep fit. Yes, okay I am high most of the time but I’ve noticed I don’t need weed as much anymore. I’m out of that black hole, my sleeping pattern has regulated and I don’t always need that energy boost that smoking weed used to give me. I can get that energy boost myself!
When it came to me doing some exercises I started off working with my body. As all my exercises are done in the comfort of my bedroom, I don’t have access to fancy equipment, but I believe you need to work with your own body weight first before you even try to work with weights. I didn’t want to be one of those people who threw myself in the deep end straight away. I wanted to do this my way. Its my body. I know what feels right. I know when I’ll be ready to push myself. I know where my limitations are and there was no chance I was going to let someone else take charge and tell me what to do. I’d listen to my own music and if I wanted to take a few seconds out to catch my breath I would! If I was really feeling a song I’d stop mid way through sit ups and have a dance and a sing. I could do what I wanted and I didn’t have to worry about anything else. I was doing this for me.
I started off doing mostly squats and crunches. I have dodgey knees so sometimes I do struggle with squats or exercises similar but I started off with a aim of doing 50 squats a day. I know this may sound a lot to some of you, but spread it out! You have a whole 24 hours before the next day. I’d maybe do 10 in the morning, 10 in the afternoon, 10 whilst I was at the yard, 10 in the evening and then 10 before I went to bed. I didn’t want to push myself too much just to end up mega sore the next day. I knew if I woke up sore I’d feel like crap and it would be a lot harder for me to encourage and motivate myself to work out again. I found when I spread everything out I didn’t end up sore or in pain. I’d bring exercises into my daily routine. Whilst brushing my teeth I’d do some squats or in the shower I’d chill in the chair pose for a bit. That way I wasn’t stressing or dreading a specific time for me to exercise. I didn’t have to take time out of my daily routine to exercise.
I worked with my own body weight for a couple months till I felt my body was stronger. I have a small set of weights at home, along with a resistance band and ankle weights. I started to slowly introduce these into my workouts. I love working my legs so my band and ankle weights are my favourites. When it comes to arm exercises I’ll admit I don’t do those as often as I probably should but I’m not that arsed about that. I’m not sticking to any routines. I work what I feel like working. Arm exercises I will use weights and sometimes I’ll pop my ankle weights on my wrists too. If I’m home alone I’ll also wear them around the house. Whether it makes a difference or not, it helps me feel better about myself. It was less than a year ago I was miserable in a office job, eating crap and so insecure I struggled to leave my house. Seeing how far I’ve come helps keep me going. It can be hard sometimes though. I keep all of this to myself. Not many friends or relatives know in depth about my life, therefore I think it’s harder for them to notice a change. Which can be shit sometimes when all you want to hear is “You’ve come so far” or “You’re doing great” from someone you love. At the end of the day, you are your biggest fan, and yes it can be hard to motivate yourself especially if you’re the only one who has noticed a difference. Whether it be a physical, emotional or mental difference other people don’t always pick up on things like that as easily as you would but just because they haven’t commented on your improvements, doesn’t mean you have to give up. Remember you’re doing this for YOU!
My home workouts have gone from doing just a few reps of squats and crunches to doing 30+ reps of squats, crunches, leg raises, donkey kicks, sit ups, reverse crunches and well you get it. But I worked with what I already had to start off with. I worked with my own body weight and my own body strength. Do I believe I would have gotten quicker and better results by going to a gym? Of course I would have! But that’s not the point. I’ve done this for myself. I’ve done this my way and the results that I have so far and helped me regain tonnes of confidence in myself and that was my aim. That’s always been my aim.
If you ever need some words of encouragement, I am always here! Think how far you’ve come. By doing just 10 squats today, that might be 10 more than what you did yesterday and that’s something! I know you’re gonna flourish and be successful. You’ve got this! You’re gonna nail it! I believe in you.
Sending my love to you all,