Workout motivation, or as I would call it: gym-tivation, is tough to come by if you are overwhelmed with responsibilities, sleep-deprived or are just bored out of your mind.
After skipping the gym for days, I had a great workout today. Here are some tips to motivate yourself to move (indoors or outdoors):
- Sleep. When I lack sleep, I can’t exercise as well, and when I don’t exercise, I don’t sleep well (bad cycle). Break out of this pattern by ensuring you get a good night’s rest.
- Look the part. Never underestimate the power of cute workout clothes and accessories. I am not saying that you must shell out a fortune, but wear something that is comfortable and makes you look good. When you look good, you will feel good and motivated. Set out your clothes, shoes and accessories the night before so that they are within your line of sight as soon as you are ready to workout. Even if you don’t feel like working out, put on your workout clothes anyway. As long as you’re dressed for the part, you are more likely to exercise.
- Warm up. Have some green tea and relax before the workout. Breathe deeply. Listen to upbeat music and do some stretches.
- Have fun. Find out what you enjoy to do physically (run, dance, jump, jog, yoga, pull, push). Take a new class that you had been curious about and try something new.
- Do something (anything). If you are just not feeling it, give yourself some measure or goal to reach. For example, aim to stay on the treadmill for X minutes, run at least Y miles, or until you burn Z amount of calories. Even a short workout is better than none. Reaching an attainable goal will make you feel more productive and more likely to exercise again. For when you feel really exhausted, try something relaxing like yoga.
- Music. I love listening to music when working out. It’s my chance to disconnect from the world, social media, all sorts of nagging thoughts about what I need to get done, and just enjoy my alone time. Depending on my mood, my workout repertoire can be either upbeat or relaxing.
- Get support. A gym buddy can either help or detract. I tend to workout best alone, but I also keep promises I make to other people. So when I really need motivation to exercise, I ask a friend to join me to go for a walk or take a new class.
- Schedule. Put it in your schedule / day planner. Not only will it be a good reminder, but when you schedule something, you can visualize what your day looks like and what type of workout fits in with the rest of the day’s activities. On a similar note, sometimes, scheduled classes offered at gyms or studios help me stay on track.
- Make it a habit. It becomes easier to do something if you make it habit. You don’t need motivation to brush your teeth in the morning or take a shower, do you? It’s because those activities have been so ingrained that you don’t question whether you should do them. For tips on how to change or form new habits, see Changing Habits.
- Rest. The frequency and intensity of your workout sessions will depend on your schedule, personality and body. However, everyone needs some rest. Allow yourself at least one or two rest days each week to give your body a chance to heal and become stronger.
What’s your gym-tivation?