Trying to exercise more? I have to admit, I didn’t grow up as an overly active kid.
I mean, I joined my FIRST soccer league in my 30s! Most of my hobbies growing up included arts & crafts, reading, cooking, performing in plays and doing indoor activities. On the weekend, my parents would drag me grocery shopping or to the mall. As a result, my adult brain still doesn’t automatically think, “Let’s do something active and exercise!” Instead it thinks, “Oooohhh it’s kind of chilly outside, let’s stay in.” I really have to work at pushing myself to workout, to go to the gym and make being active a part of my lifestyle.
So I’ve developed a series of tricks to motivate myself to exercise. Here’s what I do:
1) Start Scheduling – I sit down with my planner and my laptop on Sunday and start booking myself into every workout class I want to take at the start of the week. Signing up makes me accountable and I can pick the days and times that work well for me. If I don’t show up and I don’t cancel in time, I still have to pay. So that really motivates me to drag myself to class. After about the first 15 minutes, I feel really good and never have any regrets about going.
2) Find a Workout You Like – It took me a bit of time to finally accept the fact that I hate the gym. I like working out with a trainer at the gym, but I find machines really boring and I just don’t push myself very hard. I need group exercise classes to keep me motivated. For now, I’m rotating between cardio barre, soccer, I started running and doing yoga classes. The best way to find a workout you like is to try a bunch of different things (buy Groupons or use Gilt City to save cash) and find out which exercise routine brings you the most joy.
3) Go With 2-3 Different Exercise Studios – The biggest reason why people don’t workout? They don’t have the time. I could never find classes that always worked with my ever-changing schedule. So finding 2-3 different exercise studios that offered a very wide schedule of classes made sure that I always had an option. At any time, there is a class starting in the next hour at a studio 15 minutes away from my house. So no excuses were left for me. I also like mixing things up so my body doesn’t get used to just one type of workout and I don’t get bored.
4) Put ON Your Workout Clothes – Pick out your workout outfit (complete with underwear and sports bra) the night before and put it on top of your dresser or a chair where you can see it. Put on your workout clothes as soon as you wake-up. Having clean exercise clothes ready to go is a big motivator. By actually putting on your gym clothes, you’re more motivated to actually go to class and workout. If you’re not prepared, your stuff is in the wash or you haven’t packed your gym bag – you’re more likely to slack.
5) Look Good. Feel Good. – Workout in clothes that makes you feel great! Get rid of the old, ratty, oversized t-shirts and put on a dri-fit tank that lets you see your muscles working. Performance wear makes a huge difference in comfort – so invest in one nice workout outfit that motivates you to exercise. If you stick to your routine for a whole month, reward yourself with a new sports bra or tank and start getting rid of anything that doesn’t fit or makes you feel bad.
6) Make a Kick-ass Playlist – Go into your iTunes account and download 10 new songs you are going to look forward to listening to. Don’t tell yourself you’re working out – tell yourself that you’re going to listen to music, relax, get your stress out and focus on you. Having new, fast-paced music to run to motivates me.
7) Schedule TV Around Gym Time – Do you have a favourite show you love to watch? Throw your gym clothes on and get to the gym 10 minutes before it starts. Do your stretches and spend your first 30 minutes watching it on the treadmill or elliptical and make it a reward for yourself.
How do you get motivated and stay motivated to exercise?