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Fitness Fairy

People spend millions of dollars each year on products, books, coaches, etc. to help motivate them to exercise. The other day, I saw a “smart” water bottle online that syncs to your phone and tells you when to exercise. I kid you not. Granted, we all need to drink more water, but very clever marketers saw all of us fitness procrastinators coming. A sucker is born every minute, huh? As the Fitness Fairy says, “This stuff is expensive!”

I’ll admit that some of these wacky devices might help, but the vast majority do not. It’s because exercising is a very personal thing. Very personal. For me, it’s a constant quarrel within my brain between the sensible part that says, “Girl, you need to move your butt,” and the lazy, coddled part that says, “Nah, you’re good.” My body is just a piece of meat caught in the middle.

So, what motivates you to be active? Here are six inexpensive things, in order of importance, that work for me:

Tipping the Scales

I used to weigh myself every day, and sometimes more than once a day if I was focused on losing weight. In fact, finding out that I weighed more than Capt’n Clean (by 15 pounds) inspired me to start Wimpy Girl.

Many moons ago, I taught Jazzercise, BodyPump™, and BodyAttack™. I worked at gyms and even owned a gym. I love sweating and working out. But as much as exercise has been a big part of my life, actually getting out and doing it when I don’t have to or am not being paid to do it, is sometimes tough.

But when you outweigh your husband, well, for me, it’s motivation to get with it.

Kodak Moments

I’ve heard that when you are on TV, the camera makes you look at least 10-20 pounds heavier. Have you heard that? For me, any camera makes me look, well, fat. I know how to fix images in Photoshop, but unfortunately, anyone who snaps a pic of me doesn’t let me “have at it” before they share it with others or, heaven forbid, post it online.

If you are feeling like you just don’t want to go for your morning walk or get to the gym, pull out a photo album that houses a few “fat” pictures of your lovely self. It works for me every time.


I have frequently praised FitBit on this site. Capt’n Clean and I don’t leave home without our FitBits wrapped around our wrists. They serve as a continual reminder for us to MOVE throughout the day. Moreover, when your FitBit vibrates and tells you that you’ve done your 10,000 steps for the day, well, for me, it’s a momentous occasion.

Tracking Miles

This may seem tedious, but I’ve been doing it for long that it’s part of me. If I didn’t do it, it just wouldn’t feel right.

In my Planner Pad, I daily keep track of how many miles I’ve run, seriously walked, or done at the gym. Then on Sunday afternoon, I total the miles for the week. Just ordinary steps, like for Fitbit, don’t count. It has to be running, walking at a brisk pace, or working out at the gym to get entered into Planner Pad.

My goal for each week is 15-20 miles. My yearly goal used to be 800 miles, but I bumped it up to 825 for 2023. The fact that we live in Mexico, don’t own a car, and get lost a lot helps.

This probably sounds really nerdy to most of you, and it takes a little time to do this every week, but hey, I am a nerd and make it a priority. Like Hooked on Phonics, it works for me. (if you are a younger Wimpy Girl and have no clue what Hooked on Phonics is, check this out.)


I love listening to audiobooks. I have my earbuds blasting when I do my workout at the gym. My body may be sweating on the rowing machine, but my mind is exploring the clues and locating the murderer in my latest book.

Sometimes, when I’m at a really good part of whatever book I’m listening to, it actually motivates me to get to the gym so I can hear how things turn out.

Mirror, Mirror

This motivation tool is not for the faint-hearted. It takes a lot of guts to look at yourself in the mirror and honestly assess yourself. It takes superhero bravado to do it naked. If your belly pooches a little more than you want it to, or your butt is not defying gravity like it used to, darlin’, get up and do something about it. You can do it, you know. It’s never too late.

Since my Fitness Fairy often has to help out her sisters with collecting teeth and changing pumpkins into carriages, she’s not very reliable. The bottom line is that it’s up to me, just like it’s up to you to stay on track with your exercise plan. After all, the only bad workout is the one you didn’t do.


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This work by Anel “Pookie” Ryan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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