I feel like people have a love/hate relationship with working out and staying “fit”. Most people I know it’s either an everyday thing and they cannot miss a workout – or they’re kinda like “meh” whatever. If they go – great, if they don’t – whatever. If they soon realize a year has past – screw it! This was definitely the “screw it” girl up until last few years!
I’ve gone through waves of time in my life where working out was important and I really enjoyed it, to then feeling good and slacking off. That slacking off eventually turns into not going at all anymore – so I was constantly finding that I needed to re-motivate myself over and over to get back into a routine. I still struggle to define what “in shape” means to me and how that translates into a fitness routine. Over this past year I’ve been working really hard not only on my self confidence, but loving who I am and what I look like, no matter what my fitness routine at the time was. So how do you find fitness motivation? How do you find what fitness fits you so that you enjoy it… rather than looking at it as a daunting daily task? Most importantly… how do you stay motivated once you find it?
My eight ways to get motivated are as follows!
- Put on your workout clothes! Whether you lay it out before you go to bed and it’s there when you wake up, or ready for you as soon as you get home from work – change immediately! Once you’re in your clothes – you are halfway there and will have to give yourself a really good excuse for not going to workout after the clothes and shoes are on!
- Find a type of fitness that is fun for you, so it doesn’t feel like a workout! There are so many different things you can do now to work out! Yoga, aerial yoga, pilates, running, lifting, crossfit, playing a team sport, rock climbing, swimming, biking… you get the idea! Find something that is fun, but will also help you get to the results you’re looking for. This will make the journey something you look forward to everyday, rather than a daunting to-do on your list of daily tasks.
- Write down your workout, and how you felt after you finish! If I’m headed to the gym, I map out what my plan is and force myself to stick to it. When I’m done, I record my success and how I feel. You could feel like crap, you could be super winded, you could be sore, you could be pumped for hitting a goal, happy for just getting started, ran the farthest you’ve ever gone to date – whatever the feeling is, jot it down so you can track your feels and see how you progress on the day to day! This will keep you honest. Sometimes the days I literally force myself to get a workout in, are the days I kill it. Other days when I’m pumped to go – I feel terrible and leave the gym like whaaaaa just seriously happened? All OK and totally normal. Doing something is better than nothing – so jot down those feelings and use them for fuel.
- Make mini-challenges for yourself! This could be “I want to run 10 minutes longer than yesterday”, “I want to do one more set at a higher weight”, “I will get up at 5:00 am and workout in the morning”, “I will complete a orange theory class today”.. you get the picture. No challenge is a bad challenge and make them mini obtainable stretch goals!
- Set a long term goal! On top of your mini challenges, set a long range goal for yourself. This could be “I want to be able to run a 10k after 2 months of run training”, “I want to be able to complete the BBG (learn about this below) 12 week program”, “I want ride over 500 miles in one month on my bike”… this will help plan your activities, and push yourself daily to reach your longer term goal. Make this a challenge so you are constantly working towards a bigger end goal.
- Download an app to help track your progress! For running, swimming, and biking I recommend Strava! It helps you set weekly and monthly goals, and keeps a record of your workouts. It reports back to you stats and keeps you on track. You can also follow friends and other people on the app and get KUDDOS for workouts. My brother and I follow each other on this during our training’s – so cool to see what he’s doing daily – which is usually kicking my butt on laps and bike rides, ha! However there are tons out there for different types of exercise – pick one that works for what you’re trying to accomplish.
- Workout with people who will encourage you to keep going! Sometimes we feel we need to do things alone until we build up confidence or the “know how”. Working out with groups – whether you’re a beginner or a die-hard champion, is so much more fun! People will encourage you, support you, and it makes it enjoyable to see and meet a new group of people who will keep cheering you on. Plus they’ll hold you accountable if you don’t show up and give you crap for missing workouts!
- Think about where you started, and where you are today! This is huge. I remember the first couple days of BBG – dying. Didn’t think I could be so out of shape… but after week five – I was rocking and rolling and crushing those 7 minute circuits. It’s amazing to look back at your progress and keep pushing yourself to the end goal. Once you reach that goal – make a new one and keep going! Why stop when you’re seeing results and love how you feel… push for a new more challenging goal and stay motivated!
My story fitness story….
In the past I’ve been a dancer (high school dance team), worked with personal trainers, ran outside a few miles a week, did random things on my own at the gym… etc. When I was about 27 my body started changing, and all the sudden I had to work a lot harder to maintain my healthy physique. A few years ago I started doing the Kayla Itsines BBG workouts, and this is what made me fall in love with working out again. Her workouts are 28 minutes long, and involve two different circuits. Each circuit has 4 different workouts in it, targeting an area of your body. You do the workout and the rep, the move to the second, then third, then fourth – if the 7 min timer hasn’t gone off yet, you start back at the top and go until the time is up. You rest for 30 seconds to minute and a half, then start the second circuit in the same process. You repeat each circuit twice for a total workout of 28 minutes. Whole thing takes about 35 minutes. AHHHHmazing! This can be done at home quickly, on a lunch break, in the morning before work… such a powerhouse workout wrapped up in half an hour. Three workouts a week – one day was arms and abs, the next was legs, third was whole body. In between days was light LISS training, or HITT training with one day of rest/stretching. The few things you need are dumbbells weights (5-10 lbs), yoga mat, and a medicine ball (8-15 lbs). You can easily buy these at any sporting goods store. Her entire program was delivered to my iPad for $65 dollars, and you can do this at home. There are some step up routines and things that require a bench of some kinda – I just used a dinner chair or my coffee table! This was the best for me because I could do this at the gym, in a park, or in the comfort of my own home! Also great if gym membership is not in your monthly budget. Kayla now has an app called Sweat – where her entire program is available for about $10-15/month, but it also includes workouts from two other women, is loaded with healthy meal recipes, music, and LISS and HITT workouts to follow.
If you want to try BBG… Anyone – I mean anyone can do these workouts. If you feel you’re looking good but want to tone, if you feel scrawny and want to bulk up, if you feel a little heavier than you’d like to be, if you love your shape regardless of what it is – but just want to feel better and have more energy – I encourage you to try these workouts.
The best part of finding your motivation and getting into a routine – you will see a difference! I think the hardest part of anything these days is we want INSTANT results. I started seeing a difference after about the third week of BBG and my triathlon training. Probably not noticeable to anyone else, but I felt better! I was sore AF, but a good sore, and noticed some definition coming in. After about 5-6 weeks my confidence was kinda in a new place it hadn’t been in a while – and that was what motivated me to keep going. This will be different for everyone – but stick with it because making a plan and staying motivated does work, and it will get easier to power through as you move along! Take your time in the beginning, and if you need to rest, chug water, lower your weights, lower your resistance… that’s OK! Just find your own rhythm and get through it one workout at a time.
Last year I started training for a triathlon – so lots of swimming, biking, and running. So my routine changed a little, but I still did BBG one or two times a week as a filler workout to keep up my strength. Man did I struggle with the running part of my tri training! I never was a great runner – and was always so envious of people who could just get up and run 10 miles in the morning! I always cramped really bad, and would just stop and start walking. However – once I learned how to breathe, and figured out the best things to snack on and drink before my runs, they became easier and much more enjoyable – and the cramping was manageable if it happened. Running then became a challenge and something I looked forward to. Each day I ran farther and farther without stopping and now I really enjoy it! Well not right now, I’m still not allowed to run from my surgery – but I cannot wait to get back out there!
Self improvement for YOU – is always a positive thing. For me it was mental and physical. People are always like “you’re sooooo skinny”, “omg you look like a toothpick in that photo” and while I’m sure that was meant to be a compliment in some way- sometimes it felt like they thought I was too skinny, or maybe not eating, or judging me because I was thin AND still working out. Honestly, don’t worry about who is saying what about you or who you think is judging you. If you want to improve yourself in any way, make yourself feel better, boost your confidence and work towards a goal… do it for you and stop worrying what others will think or say. Making a small effort daily is so much more than making none because you’re worried about others opinions. Yes, I am skinny. I can’t help it – I’ve just been this way my whole life. Whether someone else or myself views this as a blessing – I still am always going to work for a better version of me, but for me and not anyone else. Does it help to have some body revenge energy during a workout? OF COURSE! Some of my best runs/workouts were when I was pissed off at something or someone haha… “this will teach em” right? But in the end you gotta do it for yourself.
I touched on this in my Mother’s Day post… but my mother is 60+ ish years old (wont reveal haha). A couple years ago she just got up and joined a cute little gym down the street. Intimate classes, they focused on her and her progress, catered to an old injury, and were so encouraging throughout her journey. This woman now works out 5-6 times a week and is waking me up on Saturday mornings to go to the gym with her when I am home! She does yoga, barre, circuit classes, whatever they’re teaching and lost over 30 lbs in her first year. Rockstar! She is proof that it’s never too late to want to improve yourself or get motivated. She also is so much healthier in terms of eating better, controlling her blood pressure, cholesterol – you name it! Her doctor was really impressed! Regardless of the weight loss – my mom is happy and confident. She does so many more outdoor activities with my father, where before she would shy away from hiking, biking, etc because she didn’t want to be embarrassed if she couldn’t keep up. Proof is in the pudding… do it for you and the results will be that much more rewarding!
What are you favorite things to do for a great workout!?! Comment below!