A Simple Approach to Living With Less

Motivation to Minimize Yo Butt with Minimal Exercise

Welcome to Day 17 of the Minimize Yo’ Butt Fitness Challenge

This is a guest post from Jo of Simply Being Mum.

First an apology, you may be reading this post under false pretenses. The title suggests it’s going to be about how to get fit without exerting any effort or getting a sweat on. This is not possible, as we all know.

It’s actually a post about the most minimal form of cardio exercise there is – RUNNING.

Why minimal? Well all you really need is – YOU (and personally I’d recommend a decent pair of running shoes, I’m not in the barefoot running camp)

Have you ever told someone you ‘can’t run’ or have you ever been told by someone else that they ‘can’t run’?

If you can easily walk, you can run. Running means something different to everyone. Running for an amateur athlete could be a 6 minute mile. For a 40 something with a little extra weight around the middle, running could be the pace of a fast walk. It’s not the speed you can run that is important. Of greater importance is time on your feet and getting moving. In fact, when you first start, running probably is only marginally faster than walking.


“move at a speed faster than a walk, never having both or all the feet on the ground at the same time”

When I took my first step toward my running habit, I believed I couldn’t run. I found I could, albeit just a 1/4 of a mile on my first attempt. That was over 5 years ago now. My first child was fast approaching her first birthday and I was struggling to shift the ‘baby weight’. Over that first year I gradually increased the distance I ran and my pace increased as time on my feet increased. By the next Summer I took part in my first organised running event and ran 8.5 miles in support of the local hospice. In 2010 I ran my first half-marathon for another charity and this October I will run another half to raise funds for the local school.

I haven’t any amazing technical tips on running.  For qualified and credible advice on getting started in running check out Runners World. I personally believe it’s very simple, all you need to do is put your running shoes on and step out the door. It is acknowledged that the step ‘out the door’ is the hardest of any run, whether you be a novice or a seasoned runner. Because of that I’d like to talk about getting motivated.

When creating any new habit for life, there are two critical things that need to be conquered. Motivation and Momentum.

There are many reasons why you may choose to tie up the laces on your first pair of running shoes. It could be to lose weight, or it could be to improve your health generally. It was both of those reasons for me. But what makes you continue running, when motivation wanes?

My Top Five Countdown on How I Keep Motivated and Build Momentum

Number 5 – (The least effective for me – but I know works for others)

Write down your running goal, be that to lose 10 pounds, or to be able to run 3 miles without stopping. Then track and measure your progress. We manage what we measure, so get tracking

Number 4 – (This definitely works for those who are prone to putting things off)

Schedule in your runs as you would an important appointment, and honour it. It’s non-negotiable. Don’t think about it, don’t rationalise all the reasons why you haven’t got time or don’t feel like it. Just put your shoes on and step out the door.

Number 3 – (This works without a doubt)

Run with others. Get a running buddy or join a running club. It’s a great way to catch up with a friend (if you can run and talk of course!), and a great form of moral support. Alternatively start your own informal club (I have) so there’s always someone on hand to run with even if your running buddy can’t make it. Makes it even easier to honour those scheduled runs!

Number 4 – (A little intense, but I do this when motivation is seriously lacking and I need to give myself a good talking to)

You’ve heard it all before I’m sure but ‘Tomorrow Never Comes’. If ever I tell myself I’ll run tomorrow instead, I remember how lucky I am to be able to run today. How lucky that I am alive and physically able to do it. I remember that there are others no longer with us or who would love to be able to walk let alone run. Gratitude can get you moving.

Number One (My top tip to keep motivated and build momentum)

Enter an organised event and raise money for charity. By entering a running event  you are clearly focused on achieving something and have a time frame in which to concentrate your running efforts. By raising sponsorship you take commitment, to not only go through with the event but the training, to a new level. Once money is pledged you have a responsibility to the kind people who have put their hands in their pockets. I now do a charity race each year, and every time there has been a reason why it has been tough to train or even take part on the day, but I have done it. It motivates me beyond any other tip I’ve shared. Oh and it does others good to! Win Win!!

Have I motivated you to get motivated and give it a try? I really hope so!

(* I am not a qualified trainer just a Mum, please always bear in mind your own limitations, fitness level, overall health and listen to your body. Apply common sense at all times. It is advisable to consult a physician before embarking on any new form of exercise.)

Jo write about family life simply done. She has some great resources on simple cooking too. To read more from Jo, check our her blog at Simply Being Mum.

Head over to the Minimize Yo Butt page if you’d like to learn more about the challenge. If you enjoyed this post, please consider signing up for updates or follow me on Twitter. The only way my blog reaches more people is if you Tweet it, Like it on Facebook, or share it with your friends. Thanks so much for reading!

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  1. Faith Janes says

    Thanks for this post, Jo! I have always wanted to be a runner. I always thought it would be cool to go out for a quiet morning run by myself. I watch people get up early and run on the beach when we’re on vacation and wistfully wonder what that would be like. I never feel like I breathe right. I end up panting with a really dry throat and I feel totally uncoordinated.

    Sadly there’s no beach nearby or really any outside place to run where we are, but I do think I’ll start pushing myself to do more running on the treadmill. It just feels great when I’m done. It makes me feel like I really worked out, ya know?

    Great post! Love the Top 5 Countdown too!

    • Hi Faith – Firstly thanks for letting me guest I really enjoyed writing it. It’s different when you write for another blog – a really good experience.
      With regard breathing, that was what I struggled with initially – and still do when I pick the pace up. It comes, the more you do the more you are able to breathe easier. What worked for me was actually ignoring a lot of the advice I was given about how you SHOULD breathe. I kept adapting what I was doing until I found a rhythm to my breathing that worked for me. I breathe way too much out of my mouth (rather than nose) than what I’d been advised, but it seems to work.
      As for early morning running – I’ll give that a miss 🙂
      This is something else that you need to work out – what time of day runner you are. I’m an evening runner, I do run in the day but find I am better and enjoy it more from 7pm onwards. Morning people tend to run early mornings – like my Hubby. Choosing the right time of day for you is very important, it can make the difference between torture or enjoyment!
      Good luck with getting the miles in be that on the road or treadmill… I really do believe that as far as cardio goes it beats all else hands down…

  2. This is fantastic Jo!

    I’ve tried to pick up running a number of times with mixed success. The next time I try, I think I’m going to go the couch to 5k program so I don’t over do it.

    I have a tendency to get impatient and try to run further, faster or more frequesntly than my fitness level will allow. This leads to frustration, which leads to discouragement, which leads to the thought, “maybe I’m just not cut out for running.” 🙂

    I’ve heard from enough runners like you to understand that nice and easy if the way to get started and stay at it.

    Thanks for the great tips.

    • Always remember the Hare and Tortoise fable! This relates so well to beginners running, slow and steady is the way to go when starting out…
      My advice would be to run (& walk as needed, but try to keep it at running pace) three times a week with a gap day inbetween. Starting off with a mile distance the first week, and increase mileage by half a mile each week. Then when comfortably running (not walking) 3 miles start training for a 10k and follow a training program. For me 3 miles was the milestone, once I could run 5k I knew I had potential to do more. I’ve never seen the Couch to 5k program – will have to check it out and see how it compares.

  3. Exercise is really important but it’s so hard to find the time. I wish it could be easier.


  1. […] wanted to let you all know that there’s a Guest Post I wrote over at Minimalist At Home. It includes my Top 5 Countdown to getting motivated and building momentum when starting to get […]

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