Friday, March 10, 2017

8 Ways to Stay Motivated to Hit the Gym

Brooks gym shoes, running tights, gym towel and water bottle
I am no fitness guru... In fact, I am probably the world's worst gym procrastinator and let's face it - the newness has worn off of 2017 already and I'd say a fair few resolutions have not only been broken, but have also been completely forgotten. Personally, I can find pretty much any reason in the world to keep from going to the gym if I want to, but 2016 was a turning point for me and I'm doing well in 2017 with making fitness a priority, so I thought I'd share my tips for how I make sure I get my sweat sessions done and dusted, even when I really don't want to. I don't think I've figured out anything groundbreaking here, but I'm of the opinion that whatever works is good enough, especially when it comes to motivation for doing things that are good for us. These are some things that have worked for me when it comes to getting a workout in, even when I'm busy, tired or more interested in doing anything else...

"Will is a skill." - Jillian Michaels

1. Just get there and then, 5 more minutes...
My number one goal most of the time is just to show up. It's not warm here, so often the idea of going out into the cold feels overwhelming, especially in the morning when I'm tired. I often tell myself that I just have to go and if I don't get into it after 5 or 10 minutes, I can leave and that's okay. Usually I'm over the hump by the time I get on my way, but occasionally I am still not in the mood once I get there, so then I say to myself to give it 10 minutes. Sometimes I get over it and sometimes I don't, so I say to myself 5 more minutes and that almost always works. I find that for me personally, once I get my headphones on, get the stretching out of the way and hit the machine, I'm good to go. Very rarely, I'll be on the machine for 10 minutes and still not feel it. In those cases, I try 5 more minutes and if I still feel out of sorts, I let it go and head home. We all have bad days sometimes and I'm totally cool with that, but most of the time, the very act of walking to the gym is all that I need to motivate me so my only requirement most of the time is just to get there.

tying shoes

2. Dress for success.
If you're someone who loves to look fierce for work or social activities, you can apply this to your workouts as well. Invest in some great activewear pieces and only allow yourself to wear them when you're working out. Embrace your inner fashionista at the gym - new gear will get you excited to get your sweat on, especially if you aren't wearing it anywhere else.

Check out these fab workout gear finds to give your gym wardrobe an update!

3. Get it over with...
This has been majorly helpful for me... I noticed that the more time I had to think about going to the gym, the more I put it off or found something else I needed to do more in its place. So now I sometimes go in the mornings and I just get it over with, especially if I know I have a super packed day ahead so once it's done, there's nothing to keep me from going. I've noticed that I enjoy the rest of my day more without it looming over my head and I love how much I can relax in the evenings, cook dinner or do whatever without having to worry about fitting in a sweat sesh in the few remaining hours I have left after work. I can't always go to the gym in the morning, but even when I go in the evenings, I try to fit it in as early as possible so I have as much time as possible to wind down at home, have dinner and relax before bed. I've learned that leaving it too late is my worst enemy, so I try to go to the gym as early as I can whenever I can.

headphones, water bottle, sunglasses and iphone

4. Pump up the volume!
I can't hit the machines without a great playlist and it's one of the things I miss when I haven't gone to the gym in a while. I like to listen to music that inspires me to move with a range of tempos so that I can vary my pace. This is what works for me, but make sure you're listening to music that will inspire you to go and get a good workout. If classical makes you want to run like a gazelle, then that's your jam. My playlist is a mix of pumping rock, pop and vintage tunes and it never fails to motivate me to push a little harder or go a little longer.

This is my own personal gym play list - just put it on shuffle and rock your workout!

5. No regrets...
There's no shame in skipping a workout - we've all done it (3 times this week!). In my opinion, it's especially no big deal if there's a good reason for it. If I skip a workout for no reason or making excuses just to be lazy, I always regret it... I've now started asking myself, "Will I regret this?" A lot of times, the answer is yes so I put on my gear and go. When the answer is no, it might be because I have a special event in the diary, I'm not feeling well or because I'm celebrating something special with my husband. I don't give myself grief over these things, but when my reason is that I want to stay home and eat ice cream on the couch, I try to rally and get moving. It doesn't always work, but when it does, I always feel better for going.

"Wake up, work out, kick ass, repeat..." - unknown

6. It's an accomplishment we can control and feel good about.
When I feel as though nothing is going well, politics is stressing me out, I've had a bad day at work, the weather is terrible or any number of things beyond my control are getting me down, I have learned to take it to the gym and leave it on the floor. It's something I can control when everything else seems to be in a tailspin. I've heard a lot of people say that valuable gym time helped them get through a tough run at work, a bad breakup, an emotional crisis, the recent stressful election cycle or simply a bad personal time. You may not be able to control whether or not your electric bill is raised, but you can control whether or not you show up to the gym and some days, just getting one thing right is enough to make everything okay. It's also helpful to know that you're training and getting stronger for your struggles, the way pop stars train to have stamina on stage before they go on tour.

7. Treat yo'self!
We've all been warned about treating ourselves for workouts with food, but that doesn't mean we can't treat ourselves in other ways. I sometimes reward myself for going to the gym with all sorts of different things like new workout clothes, a nice new water bottle for the gym, a new gym towel, a new cookbook, a lovely bath soak to soothe my sore muscles or even something small like a smoothie or a fancy bottle of artisanal water. Whatever works, right?

These fun, fit finds are perfect treats for a job well done!

8. Make it social...
Get a gym buddy, go to the gym with someone in your family or make friends at the gym. If none of these are an option, there's always social media... Enlist a friend or family member to help you stay accountable, Facetime each other from the gym or even do your home workouts together via Skype. Have a chat or a coffee once a week to discuss your progress. Having a friend to help keep you accountable is a great way to make sure you get moving even when you don't want to.

water bottle, gym towel, running tights and trainers

These are my tips for staying motivated to work out or hit the gym. What are your tips for how to rally when your motivation is a bit low?

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