I recently wrote this post for Yahoo! on visualising your way to the perfect workout.
Working out at home generally puts people into two camps; those that enjoy doing it and those that do not. I would put myself in the ‘like’ category, even though I do find it rather tedious at times. It’s cheap, easy and quick.
One of the biggest motivators for me when I am working out in cold, dreary England is visualisation. When I’m on an exercise bike, I picture myself cycling through the Spanish vineyards as I did most summers as a teenager. When I’m doing my Jillian Michaels DVD, I find myself imagining that I’m a contestant on The Biggest Loser and it takes just one workout at a time to get to that goal. On the treadmill, I conjure up a fresher memory.
Last November I quit my job and went on a two week long road trip around Costa Rica. It was just what I needed after a particularly stressful time: sun, sea, sand and relaxation. However, I had been so busy packing up my apartment before we left that I hadn’t had much time to hit the gym. This meant that I needed to do a little toning up whilst on the beach. So, one afternoon when the boyfriend was dozing, I just set off. I had been watching all of these super fit people jogging down the beach with a their lovely tans and I quite fancied a bit of that action. With the wind in my hair, the sand between my toes and a cool breeze easing some of the heat, I found myself feeling more free than I had in years. It took me back to those summers cycling in Spain, to the evenings when I would just go and sit on the dunes of the beach and listen to the waves. There is nothing more peaceful than that. You feel so small in this big world, yet so safe and strong at the same time. I enjoyed my run so much, that I went for again the next day too. The day after that, I tried some beach football and bodyboarding.
Visualisation is a tried and tested technique used for various activities across the world. Want to lose weight? Think thin. Want to be rich? Imagine yourself in that situation until you work out how to get there. Want to be happy and healthy? Visualise a time when you truly felt that way and channel it in every workout after that. Remembering how happy I was in those small moments on that beach in Costa Rica is what get me through even the most boring of workouts now that I’m back in England.
My friend used to make fun of me for listening to Spanish power ballads in the gym, when everyone else was listening to Black Eyed Peas or something equally upbeat. I used to cycle ten miles a day in the gym plugged into my happy music and imagining myself skinny and happily frolicking on a beach in the sun. Whatever works for you, I guess. The truth is that it worked for me. And I’d fully recommend it to you. Picture that happy moment in your head. The smile will get you through the pain.
This was recently published here.