Building the Exercise Habit

I committed myself to doing a kind of exercise “experiment” so since May 1 I’ve been doing a cardio workout session every day. I admit I don’t normally do structured exercise every day of the week. But to manage my weight for the rest of my life, I have to accept the reality that I will have to exercise more days of the week than not. And that exercise needs to be at a good level of intensity; just moving around a little isn’t really going to cut it. I’d love to say my life is so transformed that now I LOVE EXERCISE and I live with a solid exercise habit. I’d like to say I charge out of bed every day, dying to get sweaty! But that’s not the truth. In fact, it would be very easy for me to blow off exercising. It’s much easier to lay around than it is to run up your heart rate.

I’ve looked up John Pinette’s routines this past week. The man was immensely talented. Watch his take on exercise. Addicted to working out? He has the answer for that addiction:

What’s transformed about me is I know what I have to do and I have seen and felt the results. If you’ve read my book, you know that I don’t believe mind tricks and trying to feel inspired or motivated can really keep any of us going. I know I feel great when I put in a good workout. I don’t experience energy slumps during the day and I sleep well. The earlier in the day that I exercise, the more alert and energized I feel and ready to focus on whatever I’m working on. THAT is what keeps me working out every day. I don’t rely on “inspiration.” And I certainly would never rely on pictures of clothes I want to wear or people I wish I looked like. I just have to do my best and do what I know is necessary.

I find it quite aggravating that all these years later, my brain will still try to talk me out of doing a workout but I know that once I get started, my body will respond in a positive way. I also know that a good workout will affect my mood and I will be in a calm state of mind. I can keep going because I have this experience to draw from. It’s immediate and that’s more powerful than knowing if I don’t exercise, the weight will creep back. I know that exercising will have a direct impact on my day-to-day.

To get the habit going, start doing something every day, even if it’s for a very brief time. DO NOT think you have to run out and join a gym or buy expensive equipment that will only end gathering dust. In fact, I usually advise people not to join gyms because so few people really go regularly in the long term. Start at home with bodyweight exercises, using a High Step, or an inexpensive manual treadmill or stairstepper. The best idea for many people may be to simply start walking in your neighborhood, even if all you can do at first is a very short distance. Find what’s going to work FOR YOU. What works for somebody else is really not any help!


Once you get started, notice how you feel. It could be within just a week or so that you could begin to feel a bit more energized after physical activity, more fully awake and ready to get started on your day. You may find that your mood brightens and you feel more calm. If you usually experience a mid-afternoon slump, bringing some structured physical activity into your day could lessen that energy decline.

When you work at making a life change, you deserve to experience a benefit. Otherwise, you have no reason to keep going. Inspiration won’t give you that. Inspire yourself with what you experience every day.


    • JoAnn on May 11, 2014 at 7:58 am

    Doing what you can stick with is the best advice because it’s truly the only thing that will make a difference. The “best thing” that gathers dust in the basement doesn’t help in any way. People are afraid to trust themselves on what works. I’m the opposite of most people–working out early in the day leaves me hungry and foggy. I only do it when there’s a conflict with my evening routine.

    1. It can be a big step just to be able to listen to your body enough to figure out what WILL work for you!! There really is an answer to the question “What’s the best exercise?” The one you’re willing to keep doing!

      I remember when I was really proud of myself that I did just a minute or more on any machine. I used to work with a colleague who was over 400 lbs and lost about 100 lbs. He was THRILLED the day he told me he ran for a WHOLE MINUTE on a treadmill.

      I’m grateful that I’ve found I like various kinds of exercise. I like to work at home and mix it up. For a few months I was doing bodyweight; now I’m doing cardio on the stepper. Next month I might be back to kettlebells for awhile!

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