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I often hear people say:
“I need to workout, but I just can’t get motivated enough to do it.”
Been there – done that. Everyone experiences this. Even seasoned athletes/exercisers experience the “ho hum’s” occasionally. It can be so easy to talk yourself out of a workout, but I want to help you find a way to inspire you to do it.
There are so many ways to motivate yourself to exercise, and I want to share some ideas that have helped me. Sure I’ve had days when I’ve struggled with exercise. Just like everyone else, there are days when I’m too tired, or have too many things scheduled to find time to exercise. With 2 full time jobs, 3 dogs, my own business and a hubby with 2 companies of his own, I have a plate full of responsibilities and everything seems to require top priority like right now. But my workout is my time for myself. This is when I destress and focus solely on myself. In order for me to be on top of game, I have to be on top of my physical game. With a clear mind and a healthy body, I can put my all into my life outside of the gym. And on days when I struggle to workout, I have a secret stash of motivational tips that keep me on the fitness trail. Here are a few of the reasons I give myself to get motivated to workout:
That post-workout high. I always feel on top of the world after a good workout. Knowing I just completed a challenging workout leaves me feeling strong, confident and like I can accomplish anything!!! There is NOTHING better than that feeling!
Get excited to have “Me Time”. This is your special time for yourself. While many of us make the time to take care of others (kids, spouse, other family members, co-workers, boss), we often neglect taking time out for ourselves. Make your “you” time a priority, and don’t break that exercise appointment.
REWARDS!!! After every fitness milestone, I reward myself with something. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive: a book, cute shoes, a pretty new nail polish, a bouquet of flowers or my favorite – a new purse. If I am having trouble getting motivated, I remind myself that after I reach my goal I will be sporting a new purse. (don’t judge me – I’m in a 12 step program for my addiction)
Fitting into “new” old clothes. Remember that outfit that you are just dying to wear again? Remember how amazing you felt the last time you wore it? Enough said – get moving so you can wear it again!
Stress relief. Stressed from a long day at the office or frazzled from your busy schedule? Get out and work it off. It really helps to have this physical outlet to let go of all that tension. Exercise releases feel good endorphins and you’ll walk away from a workout in a better mood.
Time for contemplation. Sometimes, I enjoy losing myself in my thoughts when I exercise. I’ve found it often helps me uncover solutions to daily problems. Some of my best ideas come to me while I am out for a run. Use this time to let your mind wander a bit and see where your thoughts take you.
Get a workout partner. Not only is it much more fun to exercise with a friend, you have a sense of responsibility to them to keep your workout appointment.
Hire a coach or trainer. Worth the money, if even just for the motivation and the accountability of having to keep an appointment. Need the name of an AWESOME trainer? Let me know…I think I might know someone. LOL!
Keep an exercise journal. People who keep a journal of their workout routine have a far better chance of success than those who do not. The journal is your own personal checkpoint to remind you where you came from, where you are now and what your intended goal is to be.
That dreaded of feeling disappointment from not exercising. I hate the guilt, frustration and feeling like I have missed something very important when I skip my workout especially when 30 minutes later when I know if I would have started when I wanted to I would be done by now.
Need more motivation? Check out this article that I wrote for Cut and Jacked to really light a fire under your buns.
“Working out is boring.”
Huh? Working out is boring? This to me is one of the lamest excuses out there. Where do people get the idea that exercise has to be doing a dull activity, in a place that you hate, on a boring piece of equipment, until you just can’t take the torture one second longer? Let me let you in on a little secret – it doesn’t have to be this way. If a particular workout is boring to you, then STOP DOING IT. No one said that you have to do an activity that you can’t stand for 60 minutes a day in order to get fit. There are a million different activities out there that you can do – you don’t have to limit yourself to the ones that you despise.
This may come as a shock to you, but exercise can be fun. Finding something that you enjoy & look forward to doing will make you excited about working out. You don’t need to waste valuable time plugging & chugging away on a Stairmaster if you really dread doing it. Find something that motivates you to get moving.
Here are some tips to help you find a workout that you enjoy:
Try new classes/exercises. This can be a great way to find what types of exercise you like or dislike. A few months ago I tried a rock climbing for beginners. I was positive that it was something that would be fun, but would hardly be a challenge to me (yes, insert a large head here). To my surprise, the class kicked my butt and my arms, and my abs. I was laughing, having a great time & I got an awesome workout. (PS – have you ever been to a “rock climbing gym”? Wowsa – those people are ripped!!!!) If you typically go to the gym and always hit the treadmill, try something a little different. Most gym offer classes to their members. Try kickboxing, take a Kettlebell class or join in on a Bootcamp session. Who knows? You might just find your new workout passion just by trying a new class.
Think outside of the box. If breaking out your boom box and dancing in your unitard and leg warmers to 80’s music gets your blood pumping – then dance away. Exercise doesn’t have to be limited to the inside of a gym! If you find something that you enjoy & gets you moving, then by all means DO IT. Running in the park like Phoebe, playing tag with your kids (or your dog – don’t judge me), creating your own bootcamp on the jungle gym are all different, unconventional workouts that are going to elevate your heart rate.
Hire a Trainer. Personal Trainers brains are overflowing with ideas for different types of exercises. Let your trainer know your likes and dislikes with exercise and they will come up with some new & fun ideas for your next workout. We know lots of ways to get you moving and can come up with stuff that will be challenging yet enjoyable. 1 to 2 sessions should get you going in the right direction.
GET EXCITED TO MOVE! If you get excited about a particular workout, chances are you will stick to that routine. The key is finding something that motivates you to want to do your workout. For me, shoes are the key. Every time I buy a new pair of running shoes, I can’t wait to use them. All I want to do is run in my new, cute shoes. (Hey – I’m one of those girls with a SEVERE love for cute shoes. I can’t help it…I’m a shoe junkie.) I also get uber excited to workout every time I download new songs on my ipod. Nothing beats fresh, new music to help energize your workout. What works for you?
Challenge yourself. For those of you out there who have always worked out but you’ve lost your passion for exercise, here’s a tip for you. Challenge yourself. Just because you have always been a runner (or whatever you are into), doesn’t mean you have to be “just a runner. ” for the rest of your life. Try training for a sport that incorporates what you are already doing with something new – like a triathlon or a duathon. Heck, you can even try something completely new – like martial arts.
All in all – your perception of exercise is up to YOU. YOU and ONLY YOU decide what to make of it. If you choose to make it fun, it will be. If you want to keep using the excuse that working out is boring, then that is YOUR CHOICE and you have to live (or not) with it. It’s up to you.
“I can’t afford to buy fitness equipment or join a gym.”
This sounds like it could be a valid excuse, but it’s really not. In these tough economic times, people are losing their jobs, cutting back on expenses and just trying to make it another day. We are all scaling back on things that we don’t need, but your health is one thing you can’t afford to lose!
Working out doesn’t have be expensive. In fact, it can be totally FREE. NO ONE ever said that you need to be a member of a gym, spend ridiculous amounts of money or have the latest and greatest fitness gear to be fit. Big box gyms and the fitness gadget creators may advertise that without them you’ll never reach your weight loss goals, but that is SO not true. You don’t need a $3000 treadmill or a Gut Fat Blaster 2000 or a membership to a gym that charges $50 a month. All you need is to lose the excuses and get motivated. The last time I checked, most people owned a pair of sneakers and walking was still free. Slip on your shoes and go outside for a walk. FREE EXERCISE! Got a bike – ride it. NO COST WORKOUT! Want to do some strength training? Try body weight exercises like squats, lunges, pushups, pull-ups or tricep dips on a chair. If you feel like you need a little more resistance, fill an empty milk jug with water or sand. Now you have a 5-10 pound weight with a handy dandy handle. Do bicep curls, side lateral raises, one arm rows and overhead presses with your new homemade weight. Walking, running, biking (if you already own a bike), bodyweight exercises, self made weights – ALL FREE (well…except for the milk you had to drink to get the empty jug)!
This answer usually leads to another excuse –
“I walk (or bike or run) outside in the summer but it’s too cold to workout outside in the winter. I can’t afford to go to a gym to get my cardio.”
I live in Wisconsin and I get this excuse ALL the time. I get it! When it’s -5 outside, no one wants to be out there freezing your bits and pieces off. But you know what – no one said you had to. My answer to this is to introduce the “excuse-er” to circuit training. By doing exercises quickly back-to-back, you can get an amazing strength and cardio workout all in one. Try doing JUST 5 minutes of mountain climbers, pushups, burpees, tricep dips on a chair and pop squats and tell me that THAT didn’t get your heart rate up. Again – all of these exercises are FREE!
I love it when someone tells me they can’t afford to workout, but they have a pack a day smoking habit, spend their weekends drinking and eat out multiple times a week. What?!?! You can’t afford to take care of your body – THE ONE YOU LIVE IN – but you are willing to pay for something is killing it. If you can waste your money on cancer sticks, nights at the bar or fast food, you can afford to exercise. Actually, you can’t afford NOT to exercise. And when someone tells me this while they are sporting a $300 handbag on their shoulder I want to take that bag at knock them upside the head with it.
If something is important to you, you’ll be willing to go without in order to get it (ie that expensive handbag). Being healthy and enjoying a long life is important to me. If I have to go without my $3 coffee everyday in order to pay for a gym membership, I’m going do it. I might not like it, but I’ll sacrifice my sanity in the morning to be able to exercise and be healthy. Depending on what you choose to do, exercise can be free. You may need to invest a little money, but in the long run you are investing in your health. It’s up to you to make that choice. You need to decide what your health is worth. My philosophy is: even if you have to spend SOME money on exercising, it’s still going to be cheaper than daily medications, doctor visits and precious memories lost.
If you have any questions on this subject, please feel free to contact me firstname.lastname@example.org