It’s been a little while since I’ve done a reader’s request, so here’s a recent one I received that I thought would be perfect for today.

Hey Gina,

I love your blog! I had a reader’s request for you: how do you always stay motivated to work out and eat well? I try to do it consistently, but sometimes fall off the wagon for days or weeks at a time. Also, it’s hard for me to stick with it if I don’t see results right away. Any tips?

Here’s the deal:

Working out is one of my all-time favorite things to do. It’s right there under shopping, napping and one other thing I can think of ;) But there are some mornings where I don’t want to work out. At all. I’m usually have too much going on that day, am tired, or just don’t feel like it. Here are some of the things I do when that happens.

First, I assess the situation. Do I not feel like working out because I’m feeling lazy or just want to do something else instead, or is my body telling me it needs a break? If it’s the latter, I take the break. There’s always tomorrow and if your body is exhausted, listen to it and give it the rest it needs. You won’t have an effective workout anyway, so it’s best you take the break.

[Cuddling a fluffy white puppy is optional, but a bonus]

If I realize I’m just bored with my workout options or not feeling extra motivated that day, I’ll use these steps:

1) Make a change. If I originally planned on a date with the elliptical and am dreading it for whatever reason, I’ll go for a walk/jog outside instead. If I don’t feel like doing a weights workout that day, I’ll do the TurboFire Tone DVD or Physique 57 instead. Usually when this happens, I’ve been in a rut and doing the same schedule for too long, without even realizing it.

2) Give it 10 minutes. I start a workout for 10 minutes and if after 10 minutes, I’m over it, I call it good for the day. There’s no need to risk burnout or totally hate your workout while you’re doing it. 99.9% of the time, I keep going because it only takes about 10 minutes to really remember that working out feels amazing and that if you’re doing it right, it’s FUN :)

[Now, if only I could work out with Lacey Stone whenever I wanted….]

2) Download a new song or pick up a magazine. A new song is usually enough to pump me up –last night, it was “Barbara Streisand” by Duck Sauce- or I’ll grab a magazine to read while I do cardio. “They” say that you shouldn’t read while working out, but my philosophy is that any type of movement is better than non-movement, whether you’re reading or not. So if you enjoy reading whilst cardio-ing, read on, my friends.

3) I think of getting my daily sweat on as a “part of the day”, not something that’s added to it. It’s right up there with brushing my teeth, so I’ll think to myself, “I wouldn’t skip out on brushing my teeth today, so why would I skip out on a workout?”

4) Read a blog. The past couple of days, it’s been more of a challenge to wake up early and work out, but I prefer to work out early since it’s so stankin’ hot here. So, I’ll read one of my active friends’ blogs. I know that by the time I wake up on the west coast, one of my east coast friends, like Tina,JulieKath or Caitlin most likely already got their workout in, so after reading one of their blogs, I feel ready to join in the fun :)

As far as eating goes, if you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you may have noticed that I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with my eats as time has gone on. When I first started the blog, I was still getting into maintenance mode, not eating very many whole foods (lots of processed stuff!), and trying to figure everything out. I didn’t treat myself as often as I do now, and I eventually found that the more I explored more new and fun foods and relaxed I became, the healthier I ate, if that makes sense? It all came down to trusting myself and knowing that I’d be able to maintain what I’d worked hard for.

My biggest tips for continuing to eat well are:

1) Eat food that makes you feel good. Sometimes that means an extra large green juice sometimes that could mean a few bites of a brownie. If you’ve been eating well for a while, you’ll know that nutrient-dense foods will make you feel amazing, but that’s not to say that you don’t need some of the treat-y stuff in there, too, because I think it’s good for the soul :) If you really want something, eat it. Usually, I’ll have a couple of bites and decide if I want the rest, or I’ll share with the Pilot and a friend.

Also, don’t feel like you have to eat something you despise because it’s “healthy.” Think overnight oatmeal is disgusting? Find something else that you enjoy and you want to start the day with :)

2) Protein with every meal. This is one I still have to consciously take into action, but I notice that when every meal has at least a little bit of protein, I feel more satisfied and energized throughout the day. It can be in the form of cheese/dairy, animal protein (lean meat or fish), eggs, lentils/beans, quinoa, tofu or tempeh. Protein powder is a nice supplement, but is just that: a supplement, and shouldn’t be relied on for a major source of protein in one’s diet.

3) Look for the forest, not the trees. One of my bosses at the personal training studio told me that they always eat 80% clean, 20% dirty. I didn’t love how it was phrased (like treat-y food is “dirty?”), but liked the philosophy. As long as you’re eating healthy most of the time, that’s bueno :)

4) Make sure your goals are realistic and celebrate the little victories. I know from experience that it’s hard to keep going when you feel like you’re not seeing results, but you know what they say about a ball in motion. [I just wrote “mall” in motion] Keep it rolling! Plan fun things along the way, like maybe a more expensive fitness activity (like rock climbing, Pilates reformer session or a new yoga class) or treat yourself with a massage, pedicure, or movie date with a friend.

I hope these tips are a little helpful, but motivation really does come from within. If you want something, you’ll make it happen. Usually for me, it’s the thought of keeping my body healthy so I can travel the world with the Pilot when I’m older and become the crazy energetic grandma one day. Taking care of yourself can be good motivation enough- you only get one body, so might as well take care of it, ya know? :)

Hope this helps a little!

xoxo

Gina

Where does your motivation come from? How do you keep yourself on track?

This post was originally published on Fitnessista.com.