What’s the Key to Staying Motivated to Keep Fit? | Ask Miss Barbella!

Miss Barbella, a.k.a. Tanell Pretorius, is a yogi, CrossFit L1 Trainer, Ayurvedic wellness consultant, and former model. She’s ready to answer your questions on fitness, health, and beauty. Send your questions to ask@missbarbella.com.

What’s the Key to Staying Motivated?

Dear Miss Barbella,

How do you stay inspired? My biggest obstacle to staying fit is feeling defeated or discouraged, and then giving up.   —On the Couch

Dear Couch,

I watch fitness videos online, read as many articles about health as I can find, follow my fitness idols on social media, and never allow my routine to get stagnant.

Find a goal that’s about taking care of you. For instance, choose to work out or eat better not to lose weight, but to be healthier. That way you won’t be focused on an external result, but on loving yourself and taking care of your beautiful self more every day.

Address your internal talk—make sure that it is loving. If you need to work on deeper issues that are standing in your way, seek out a cognitive behavioral therapist to help you identify your destructive thoughts. Experiment with different fitness classes, styles, or sports to find something that you enjoy.

I love doing CrossFit because I find it very engaging—it’s different every day. I never get bored.

Good luck—you can do it!

Will Lifting Weights Make Me Too Bulky?

Dear Miss Barbella,

As a woman, I’m nervous that weight training will make me look masculine. I would like to start weight training, but I still want to feel feminine. What do you advise? —Petite & Loving It

Dear Petite,

This is a question that I get all the time. It takes a huge amount of work for women, who have very low levels of testosterone, to build big muscles. So  don’t worry!

If you manage your diet and do a variation of heavy weights in low repetitions, medium weights with high repetitions, and cardiovascular exercise like jogging, sprinting, and jumping rope, you will have a beautiful, lean, and strong body that will not be bulky or overly masculine. Add yoga at least once a week to keep your muscles flexible and long.

Being physically strong is not only good for your health, but also extremely empowering. Discovering that you are capable of doing things you never could have imagined makes all the hard work worth it!

I’m So Busy: Isn’t That Enough Exercise?

Dear Miss Barbella,

How important is it really to make time for fitness? With work, family, leisure time, and all the pressures of modern life, how can you find time to exercise? I’m exhausted already! Isn’t daily life enough exercise? —Overly Occupied

Dear Occupied,

We especially need exercise because of our modern lifestyles. We sit behind computers or in our cars for a majority of our days. Weight training improves bone density and builds muscle, which we need to be more mobile and independent as we get older.

At the very least, we should take time for a brisk walk every day. The weather is warming up and there is nothing better than a refreshing walk in the late afternoon. You’ll feel the stress and heaviness leave your body, making it easier to enjoy a pleasant evening with your family. Exercise will also help you maintain sustained energy throughout the day and improve your vitality, allowing you to fully appreciate more of your life.   

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