The Will to Work Out

BY Emma-Kate Stampton TIMEOctober 10, 2013 PRINT

Keeping your body healthy can be as simple as keeping it moving, especially for so many people who have predominately sedentary lifestyles. Long hours at a desk job not only contribute to weight gain, but also cause poor posture and low energy levels.

These things combined can snowball into body-image problems, lack of confidence, and depression. It is a cycle worth avoiding and most definitely worth breaking

I’m sure you’ve have all heard the saying that motivation is what gets you started, and habit is what keeps you going. Life is all about creating habits, and thankfully we all have the choice to build positive ones or negative ones. Once you are in the habit, momentum takes over and things become less difficult. The real hurdle is breaking old habits and starting new ones.

Motivation is completely individual. You may be driven by looking good, feeling good, fitting into a certain pair of pants, being able to run a marathon, or losing 20 pounds. Think about what motivates you, write it down, and put it somewhere you will see it every day. This will help you stay motivated.

So what happens when the end result doesn’t motivate you, and every fiber in your body is resisting the training session you know you’re supposed to do. This is where will power comes into play. It’s simple—when you don’t feel like exercising, do it anyway.

Don’t wait for motivation to come your way. It may not come until next week. Then you’ll be a whole week further away from your goal. Why push through the unmotivated mindset? When you’re finished, you can thrive on the abundance of incredible benefits your mind and body get from regular exercise.

When I exercise, I feel happy from the chemical release of happy hormones in my brain. I feel strong and fit, and I’m very conscious to choose healthy food because I have put in the time and effort to be healthy.

So instead of motivation, I think it is will power we need to get started and create our exercise habits—not a lot of will power, but just enough to get started.

If we can use a little will power to get ourselves started four times a week for around 50 minutes, we can reap all the wonderful benefits exercise has to offer.

This week’s workout is an all-over body workout, using your own body weight. Stay focused on good form, and you will feel your muscles working in the right places. In every movement, keep your deep core muscles active to protect your back and strengthen your abdominal area.

Kneeling Lean-Back

This one works the front of your thighs and your stomach.

1. Position yourself in an upright kneeling position.
2. Lean your body back, hinging from your knees. Lift your arms out in front of you.
3. Return to the start position, body upright, arms by your side.
4. Don’t lean back from your ribcage, but only from your knees.
5. Repeat 10 times. Then hold for 10 seconds. Do each repetition slowly.

Crossover Knee-Pull and Push-Up

This works your chest, shoulders, and stomach.

1. Position your body in a plank position, hands under shoulders.
2. Bring your right knee toward your left shoulder. Repeat on the opposite side.
3. Repeat 10 times. Then do four push-ups. Repeat the entire sequence four times.
This equals 40 knee-pulls and 16 push-ups.
4. For a lower-intensity version of this exercise, do the push-ups from your knees.


The hover works on your abdominals and shoulder stability.

1. Position yourself on your elbows and toes. Your hips need to be in line with your shoulders.
2. Hold the hover for one minute.
3. If you feel any strain in your back, work from your knees instead of your toes.


The swan works your back.

1. Lie flat on your stomach, with your hands in line with your shoulders and shoulder-width apart.
2. Press into your hands as you lift your chest away from the floor.
3. Concentrate on squeezing the muscles of your mid-back.
4. Continue to lift until your elbows are almost straight. Then lower back to the floor.
5. Repeat 10 times. Do each repetition slowly and with control.

Repeat all four exercises in succession. Then start again from the top. Repeat the entire group of exercises three times.

This workout can go anywhere with you. Don’t leave home with out it! When your mind tells you to do it tomorrow, override that thought and do it today. You are one workout away from feeling healthier.

Emma-Kate Stampton certifies Pilates instructors and is a certified personal trainer. With nine years of industry experience, she is passionate about sharing the gift of health and well-being. Emma-Kate is based in Brisbane, Australia.

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