Motivation Tips from A to Z | The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans LLC


As I write this, snow is still falling on top of the 10 inches we already received since 11 this morning. The record low temperatures have been doing a number on my motivation in the last week or so. If you’re in need of some ideas to give you a boost or just some new things to try to break out of a rut, here’s an A to Z list I put together just for my favorite Shrinkers, which as I have said before, means ALL OF YOU!

Apps. There is no end to the health and fitness apps out there available for smart phone users. In fact, health and fitness was the top growth category for apps in the market in 2014, according to this article.  I have my favorites and I am sure you have yours. Every now and then I put one to rest to focus on another. These days, food wise, I am loving Two Grand. Have you heard of it? It’s been called the Instagram of food trackers.  I’m a new user so I don’t know all the bells and whistles just yet, but I know you can search for ideas by people following a particular eating plan, such as the Simply Filling Technique on Weight Watchers or gluten-free for example. You can ‘follow’ others who have been successful and see what their meals look like.

Body Pump. One of my favorite group exercise classes ever. You will feel it for a few days afterward. It works. If your gym offers it and you haven’t taken it, what are you waiting for? If it’s not at your gym, I believe it’s also sold on Amazon.

Couch to 5k.  A fantastic program for the walker who wants to become a runner and for the runner who’s been a bit lazy lately (ahem). There’s lot of versions out there. They all follow a similar format but may vary in type of music used. My favorite is the program from NHS Choices in the UK because I love the woman’s accent when she says things like “You are halfway there.”

Days In A Row Challenge or DIARC. This is a Mary-created acronym and another way of saying “streak.” As in, pick one area you want to see improvement in and see how many days in a row you can do that activity. It could be getting 8 hours of sleep, tracking your food, drinking 64 oz of water daily, flossing your teeth, fitting in a morning workout, avoiding fast food, or going without diet soda. You get the idea. See how many days in a row you can go and then the next time, try to beat that number with your next new healthy habit.

Electric Miles. This is the app I use on my phone to log my mileage. It’s the no-frills version of The Daily Mile.

Fitness Blender. I’ve written about this site before. It’s my go-to place any time I want to switch up my workouts or try something new. Endless variety. And they have a new online calendar where you can keep track of it all. All for free.

Gymboss. I would be lost without this interval timer. I have the gadget and I also have the free app on my phone. You can set it up for any intervals you’d like and it allows you to save multiple timers at once. For example, I have one that says “SPRINTS” that I created: Five rounds of 30 seconds of sprints followed by 15 seconds of rest. A bell goes off to indicate when each interval is about to start. I have other timers saved that I use for races. For example my ‘3/1’ timer is set up for me to run 3 minutes, walk 1 minute. The Gymboss is great for burst training, Tabata workouts, or anything that you need someone to keep track of time for your intervals without you having to look at your watch or phone all the time. It does all of that for you.

HIIT. Speaking of intervals, trying a new high-intensity interval training workout is always good for a shot in the arm and to break out of a rut.  I search on Pinterest or go to and do the workout of the day.

Incline. Try playing around with the incline on the treadmill the next time you are looking to beat boredom.

JogTunes. Another great resource for running music on the go, or for cycling and interval workouts.

Kickboxing. Always fun and always a super workout that burns calories galore. Not to mention what it does in terms of stress relief and releasing any tension from the day!

LoseIt! Another food-tracking app that you may want to check out. It is similar to MyFitnessPal and has challenges you can join.

Melissa Bender Fitness. One of my favorite blogs and Facebook pages to follow. Great recipes, workouts, motivational tips.

No Excuses – A series of workouts on the Dr. Oz site. I am not a fan of Dr. Oz, but the workouts were something new I discovered on a dreary day last week (even though the workouts themselves are from a few years ago.)

Outside. Get outdoors when at all possible. Fresh air instantly gets the blood pumping!

Podcasts.  If you want to listen to some great content and get distracted from your long run or treadmill session, try some podcasts. I got my fellow SJ writer Lisa hooked on Serial (you will be too if you haven’t tried it yet). I also love Selected Shorts, The Moth, This American Life, Radio Lab, Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, Ask Me Another (fun radio game where you can play along), Runner Academy, Everyday Runner, RunRunLive, The Daily Boost, Dr. Fitness and the Fat Guy and Half Size Me.

Quinoa. Haven’t tried it yet. It’s in the pantry. Hey, I needed a “Q”!

Register for a race. Check with your local running store to learn about races in your area. And don’t forget about our next virtual race right here at The Sisterhood! It’s called Together We Race. You can read all about it here.

Shrinking Jeans! I would be remiss if I did not take this time to remind you that there are a ton of resources RIGHT HERE on this site. Workout calendars of the month, product reviews, training tips, motivation and encouragement. Browse around a bit!]

Tabata. A personal trainer introduced me to this type of workout a few years ago. Search the web or Pinterest. It’s a form of interval training and a great way to mix things up.

Used videos/DVDs/equipment. Why not check out Craigs List or your local Good Will to see what exercise equipment or workout DVDs people are quick to get rid of? Chances are you’ll find something usable!

Victory. When you’re in a slump take a minute to just jot down the small victories you have had in recent days. I’ll bet that you can come up with a list in a fairly short while, even though you may think you have been doing nothing for your health and fitness lately. It’s important to keep ourselves in the mindset of “hey, look at what I did do” vs “damn, I really didn’t do as much as I had hoped/wanted/planned for.”

What to wear. I love this app for helping me to decide on how many layers I may need if I am wanting to take my exercise outdoors.

X-rated workout. This is the one you do with your spouse behind closed doors. You design it yourself. Nuff said!

YouTube. Again, endless free workout options. Just type in what you’re looking for into the search window and off you go. I love the workouts on the JesssicaSmithTV channel.

Zzzzz. That’s where I’m headed now that I made it to the end of the alphabet! I hope you enjoyed my list! Why not give something on it a try?

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