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The threshold… you have to hit it to succeed

One thing I learned about exercising is the THRESHOLD. You have to reach it and hit it. Once you hit it, you will genuinely love exercising.

I could not hit the threshold when I was exercising in the park or hiking. But I hit it in the gym.. and I am sharing with you on what I learn in my one year:

Why joining a gym is good if you are not a born exercise freak:

  • You pay high membership fee- paying will at least make up get up from the sofa and TV and push you to go.
  • When you go and jog in the park, you tend to slow down or just walk when you feel a little tired. But if you are running on the treadmill in the gym, you cannot slow down unless you conciously turn down the speed.
  • Rain or shine, day or night, there is always a place to workout.
  • Much more varieties in the gym- all types of classes, cardio machine and weight training
  • Chances are, if you are in the corporate world, a number of your friends will also be gym members. Gym time can also be social time for you to catch up and motivate one another (but for me, I prefer to go alone at my own pace).

I know critics (I used to be one) said that gym have lots of germs and exercising in air con is not really healthy. Agreed but one of the benefits of exercising is that it boost your immune system- which to me, outweights the germs issue. I have a friend (a very fit ex steward) who used to frequent the gym but he stopped the membership after a few years and decided to go to the nearby park to jog after work. Unfortunately, he is started to have problem making time for the park trips and started to put on weight.

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How to keep yourself motivated:

  • Location of the gym, in my opinion, is important in deciding a gym selection. Ideally, it should be either located within walking distance of your house or office. To the very least, it has to be nearby- and getting there should not translate to going thru jams or high parking rates. If your gym is out of the way, chances are, you will face lots of challenges in motivating yourself to get up and drive all the way there. You’ll end up stop going coz the price of petrol and parking outweights the fees.
  • Vary what you do- most people find the cardio machines boring- you can join the classes instead. There are all types of classes ranging from yoga, body balance to cardio workouts like dancing, combat and step. I have seen 2 guys who were initially a bit plump- but they love dancing- and they go to every dance classes- now, both of them had lost a considerable amount of weight.
  • If you find the evening/night classes too packed for your liking, go for the morning/weekend classes. If you can make time, you can go to early morning classes during the weekdays. The sacrifice of waking up early is worth it coz you will sail through your working day feeling much more energetic.
  • We all have certain days when we do not feel like exercising. If you feel that, don’t force yourself to go or else your mind may equate exercise to torture. But if you are feeling the exercise blues every day, that’s probably just plain laziness.
  • Watch your diet. Seriously consider cutting down on food with high contents of sugar, oil, pulut and coconut: these food will make you feel very sluggish, tired and lazy to move.
  • Bring a MP3/ IPod- listening to your favourite songs really make you work out at a faster pace. Or if the gym has got TV, go during a time when your favourite programs are shown- you will be amazed at the additional boost of motivation you get.
  • Get someone, a friend who is into exercising to constantly motivate you when you want to give up.
  • Get a personal trainer if you really cannot summon the motivation -yes, personal trainers are expensive. But an experience trainer will know what type of exercise that suits you and the type of food you need to eat to achieve your target weight.
  • Remember, you do not gain weight overnight. And you ain’t gonna lose it overnight either. You can do it- you just need to be patient and maintain the motivation till you see the results (but no amount of exercise will work if you do not control what you eat- I learned it the hard way, sigh).
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As long as you do not give up the fight- your managed to motivate yourself to continue- slowly, your stamina will increase and your exercise regimen become more intense. If previously you could only walk 5 miles per hour, you can now run 8 miles per hour. You go and go till one day, you will reach the threshold.

What happens when you reach the threshold:

  • You start to have motivation from within- no more forcing.
  • Your body actually wants to exercise. So instead of finding excuses why you should not be going to the gym, you will automatically find excuses to exercise.
  • You feel so much happier coz now you look so much better in clothes. This reason alone will make you wonder why you have put off exercising for so long.
  • You felt stronger and with better stamina and endurance.
  • You can manage stress better at work better because you now led an active lifestyle.

Like any good habits, you have to continue doing it. If you stop exercising for a while, you will start to slag back. Also listen to your body- do not overwork it. Too much exercise will supress your immune system and cause you to be more prone to colds/infections.

But most importantly, you need time to built up your stamina till you reach your fitness threshold that you drive your body to fully benefit from it. You owe it to yourself to do whatever you can to treat your body well and make it healthy.

Exercise drives oxygen into all parts of your body and this greatly reduces your chances of getting cancer. At the same time, it greatly lowers your risk to all types of diseases such as chronic pain, high blood pressure, heart attack, chrolestrol, etc.

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