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How to Think Like an Exerciser

What you think makes a difference in how you live

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Updated February 01, 2012

If you’re trying to lose weight or stick to a consistent exercise program, you could probably list any number of obstacles that stand in your way. How are you supposed to exercise when you have to work, travel, run the kids to the dentist, cut the grass, watch your favorite TV show and take out the trash? What you may not realize is that fitting in exercise is a matter of how you think and not what’s on your schedule. Thinking like an exerciser can increase your odds of success and put you in the right frame of mind for making the choice to exercise.

1. Look for opportunities, not excuses. While a non-exerciser may look at situations like traveling or working late as reasons to skip their workouts, exercisers actually seek out ways to exercise, even if it seems impossible.

Imagine a non-exerciser and an exerciser on a business trip:

The Non-Exerciser packs his workout clothes, thinking, "Maybe if I get a break, I’ll squeeze in a workout." My husband, a frequent flyer, says what that translates to is, "I’m bringing my workout clothes so I’ll feel good about myself, but I’ll never actually wear them."
The Exerciser packs his workout clothes, thinking, "I have meetings all day, so I’ll get up extra early and get in a short workout beforehand." There’s no ‘maybe’ about it, even if it means working out at a time that isn’t comfortable.

What the exerciser knows is that he has to commit to his workouts, even if his schedule works against him. He’s willing to make the effort, even if it means a workout session that isn’t ideal.

How to Think Like an Exerciser:

  • Act as if exercise is a priority. Is exercise an afterthought? Something you only do when everything goes as planned? If so, practice putting it at the top of your to-do list. How would you plan your day if you knew you had to work everything else around your workouts? Just changing how you think about exercise can change whether actually do it.
  • Act as if everything counts. New or non-exercisers often think they have to do a certain type of workout (e.g., lung-busting workouts that last for an hour) for it to ‘count.’ Exercisers count everything, whether it’s a few jumping jacks or pushups in a hotel room or taking a brisk walk during a lunch break.
  • Plan ahead. Rather than waiting for the perfect time to exercise, work with the schedule you already have. Even if you can only find 10 minutes, you’ll burn calories and improve your health much more than if you didn’t move at all.

2. View exercise as a necessity rather than an indulgence. Another difference between how exercisers and non-exercisers think is how they perceive exercise. A non-exerciser may see it as a chore, something that takes away from the rest of her day. An exerciser, on the other hand, looks at her workouts as a necessity – something she needs to make her day better.

Imagine an exerciser and a non-exerciser facing an unexpected visit from a mother-in-law:

The Non-Exerciser panics and thinks, "There’s no way I can exercise if she’s coming. How will I have the time to iron the sheets, drink a bottle of wine and scrub the floors with a toothbrush?"
The Exerciser panics and thinks, "I will never get my guilt-deflectors working if I don’t exercise. I better squeeze in a quick run and, if the house isn’t clean enough, I’ll just start a small fire to distract her."

How to Think Like an Exerciser

  • Think of exercise as your energy source. Believe it or not, taking time out to exercise can actually give you more energy and focus for your day.
  • Take advantage of your workout time. When you have a busy day or an unexpected visitor, your workout time may be the only quiet time you get. Taking a walk or run will give your mind, and stress levels, a break and you’ll be better prepared for what’s to come.
  • Learn how to motivate yourself. Exercisers find motivation rather than waiting for it to happen. If you've got a lot to do, use that as an impetus to get moving. The stronger you are and the more endurance you have, the more you can get done.

Next Page: More Ways to Think Like an Exerciser

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  6. How to Think Like an Exerciser - Learn How to Change How you Think to Start Exercising Now

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