There are many benefits to working out, such as heart disease prevention, mood improvement, and better sleep. However, despite the many foreseeable benefits, it can still be difficult to find the motivation to get up and exercise. Regardless of workout experience, everyone struggles with it. Here are a couple of tips to prevent falling out of your routine!
1. Show up
That's 75% of the battle! But once you're there, you can't just stand around waiting for motivation to kick in (it won't). Instead, start moving. You'll likely find that your mind will follow suit as soon as your body gets into the flow of things. Setting aside time for a workout may not make sense if you're not feeling motivated, but it will be worth the effort.
2. Realize you don't have to give 100% every day
Your fitness results are the sum of all actions you take over a sustained period of time. There are going to be days when you feel less motivated, and if you have to compromise by not working as hard, that's okay. Again, 75% of the battle is just showing up! If you do a half-intensity workout for three days, that's more beneficial to your health than going full blast for one day and skipping the others. If you need to keep yourself honest, consider maintaining an exercise log to keep track of your intensity over time. (If you're feeling physically ill, though, you may want to consider resting or seeing a doctor.)
3. Shift your mindset
According to Today.com, reframing your usual distractions as inspirations can be extremely beneficial in eluding the procrastination that sometimes appears when you've got a workout on your schedule. As contributor Stephanie Mansour suggests, leaning in to your social media feed, for example, can be a great way to find support in nudging you to begin a workout. If you're looking for fitness motivation, you may be more likely to find it in a particularly engaging post made by someone you respect.
4. Try Morning Workouts
According to Military.com, switching your workout routine to earlier in the morning can be highly beneficial. Not only are you more likely to get up and complete your workout in the morning, but exercising in the morning allows you to feel awake and motivated for the rest of the day. If you have trouble getting up in the mornings, convincing yourself to go to the gym for something short (a 20-minute treadmill walk, 15-minute ab routine) can at least get you there. By the time you've started what got you to the gym, you may feel motivated to keep going with the rest of your routine!
5. Shorter Workouts
A common excuse is that there isn't enough time to fit a workout in. One way to avoid falling into this trap is to try shorter workouts. There are plenty of workout routines that are as short as ten minutes! Another tip is to make your shorter workouts more difficult, so you get what you want out of your workout despite the time.
6. Keep yourself entertained
Keep your mind engaged, and your body will follow – and although exercise involves intense movements that require your focus, you have options. Pairing some Bluetooth headphones with a smartphone means you have unlimited access to podcasts, music, or livestreams. You can also consider gamifying your workout with apps like Pokémon Go, Ingress, or similar that make physical movement a part of the game. Make it a point to really mentally hone in on your entertainment to get yourself through a bad day.
7. Set realistic goals
Chunking a larger workout into smaller, more palatable pieces can be extremely effective in jump-starting a workout when you're feeling less than motivated. One strategy is breaking down a 30-minute workout into 10-minute intervals--the warm up, the ramp up, and the peak. Thinking about a single section of the workout, a fraction at a time, can sustain you as you move through each portion with confidence. This can allow you to create a steady workout pace, which will also support healthy habit building, and help you accomplish your overall goals. And for the days when you are facing a time crunch, it can be helpful to modify your expectations by opting for a shorter workout, that will still be effective and aligned with your fitness ideals. Getting creative with your workouts will establish a sense of variety, and keeping things new will motivate you to continue.
8. Reward yourself
Consider your exercise program as a bank account that you make regular deposits into. To ensure you comply with the program, you can structure it using flexible building blocks and reward yourself at certain intervals. For example, make yourself a deal and write down that you'll buy yourself something you've had your eye on – but only after you've completed a total of 600 minutes of exercise over a certain timeframe first.
9. Make exercise a social activity
One surefire way to stick with your exercise routine is by having someone there to push you—and hold you accountable. Think of your workout buddy as a wingman: they'll cheer you on when things are tough and help keep you focused on your goals. And if they're in their rut? Then it's your turn to be their wingman and pull them through! If there's no one around to be your workout buddy, try joining an online community of people who have similar fitness goals: having others cheer you on can make a huge difference in how motivated you feel.
Wanting to work out and making yourself do it are two entirely different things. There will always be an excuse not to do something. However, staying consistent is the best way to form a habit; and while sometimes it's tough to stay on track, you can adapt and find what motivates you most.