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Fit4ADV: Finding Motivation

Can Lisa turn a slothful me into a graceful adventuress?

When I signed up for Lisa Thomas’ Fit4ADV Black Dress Challenge, I had no doubt I could trust Lisa’s advice. Lisa and Simon are both fitness professionals, ADV veterans and just genuinely awesome people, so I knew I was in good hands.

Fit4ADV: Finding Motivation
Lisa’s Alaska Office

It wasn’t Lisa’s exercise routine and food tips that worried me. It was myself. I knew that finding motivation was going to be the biggest challenge: I was always suspicious of gyms and jogging, so committing to a daily exercise routine sounded – how shall I put it mildly –enormously, impossibly huge.

After the first wobbly week, Lisa suggested that instead of looking at exercise as a chore, I’d try making it fun instead. And since I wrote an entire article about finding creative new purposes and meanings in things… I’ve kinda got myself cornered.

So here’s what happened on Week Two of the Black Dress Challenge:

Day 1, Medellin, Colombia

Got up all excited: okay, I’ll just have a cup of coffee, change my attitude real quick, do a bunch of exercises and start my day like a boss.

Hmm, maybe I should have done the workout before having coffee. Now I’m feeling full. I’ve also wasted a whole hour on Facebook, instead of doing Something Very Important.

Dang. Ok, rewind, restart. Reluctantly did the stretches, twenty squats, and ten push-ups.

I think maybe I’ll have more coffee.

Fit4ADV: Finding Motivation

Day 2, Medellin

There’s two of us now!! Chatting to Xenia Sagesser of XT Adventures, I realized I wasn’t alone in my fitness struggles. Xenia says she wants to join the Black Dress Challenge – and that means there are now more people to turn to when motivation dwindles. This is going to be great!

Did the stretches, squats and push ups before having coffee. Much better. Still can’t quit the milk, though. Black coffee tastes acidic and uninspired, so I keep drinking the glorious lattes.

Day 3, Medellin

Stretch stretchy stretch. I wonder if I can ever put my palms on the floor, like those magnificent, lithe yoga girls. For now, I feel more like the Kung Fu Panda. I do my squats while brushing my teeth, so I don’t think about the fact that I’m doing squats, which feels a little silly. The push ups feel sort of cool, as if I was a tough boxer, maybe someone like Hillary Swank in Million Dollar Baby.

Still can’t quit the latte, though. We’re renting an AirBnB apartment, and they have a coffee machine. I can’t help myself.

At least I’m eating right, though. Lots of leafy greens, broccoli, kefir (probiotics!) and fresh fruit.

I’m such a saint, really.

Day 4, Medellin

Deborah from Wild Feathers is in!! What!! There are now three of us, plus Lisa to guide us along, so now, we’re totally unstoppable. I’m so looking forward to all the sharing and cheering each other on. And all the bitching and moaning. Yay!

Fit4ADV: Finding Motivation

Did all the stretches and exercises super quickly so I could have my coffee (black! Paul used all the milk for his cereal) and get on Facebook to see  what Xenia, Deborah and Lisa are up to.

OMG! It’s a tribe!

Day 5, Medellin

Feel v.virtuous because on top of the exercises, we walked around all day long. Did I mention Medellin has hills? A thousand of them? Yep.

I did have a bucketful of Starbucks, though. It’s rare that I get one: we’re usually staying in small towns out in the sticks, so I just couldn’t resist.

Felt really full and a little sick afterwards, though. Maybe Medellin has funny Starbucks?

Fit4ADV: Finding Motivation

Day 6, Medellin

Had to get up earlier because today is a day of Finding Things. Finding tires, finding a metal shop to grind a few millimeters off my side stand which is rubbing against the swingarm, finding spokes… lots of crazy traffic, sweating in the riding suit, and lots of manana (“tomorrow” – a traditional Colombian way of promising things).

Maybe it’s OK that I skipped the morning exercise because I think I’d sweated enough for a whole week today.

Day 7, Medellin

Lisa’s got this new exercise routine, The Perfect Body Wake Up, and I’ve tried it this morning. Couldn’t do the steps because I usually hide in the bathroom to exercise but did all the rest. So much easier to just follow a routine than making my own up!

Getting excited. The three-pack, however, is still there. It hasn’t shrunk one tiny bit. Hm…

So if Lisa was here…

  • How do you stay motivated long-term, when results aren’t instant?

Lisa: I remind myself that time is working against me, and if I do nothing, I’m  allowing time, age, weight increase, lethargy and poor health win!

I love what I do- I love riding a motorcycle- I love going to new places and trying new things and if I take the time to service my equipment and my motorcycle, it makes sense to look after and maintain myself. 

I’m determined to stay as healthy and as fit for as long as possible, that way I get to decide what I can and can’t do, not my body!  This is my motivation.

  • What’s a good way to warm up in a confined space?

Lisa: Knee raise/elbows touch for 3 mins or walking on the spot or a combination of the two movements. If you’re inside and the ceiling height allows, fast walking on the spot, lifting your knees waist height whilst lifting your hands above your head.

  • What’s the best strategy to form a habit?

Lisa: Focus for 20 -30 seconds on the positive benefits of the action, each time before actually performing the action.  Remember the hardest part of each workout is the first ten seconds and once you get half-way through your chosen workout you may as well just finish it! We cant control much in life, but the one things we can control is what we do with our bodies- and choosing to workout and choosing to take care of your own is empowering.

Bearing in mind, cleaning your teeth is a habit.  Its not enjoyable, it’s not something you do for fun, but we all do it everyday regardless.  If you don’t actually enjoy exercise, doing it frequently enough can become just as straight forward as cleaning your teeth. A workout does not have to be an hour or two marathon, a workout can easily be a 10 -20 min blitz.

 Photos: Simon Thomas, rtwPaul, Pixabay

Have questions? Want to join the Black Dress Challenge? Email me:







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1 comment

Pat Jacques 2018 August 17 at 11:56 AM

Way to go, Egle! You got this! For me, the biggest shift in working out was my shift in perspective. I replaced “Ugh. I HAVE to work out!” With “I am giving myself the gift of good health.” Thanks for sharing your experience!


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