While scrolling through social media you might forget that 100% people struggle with motivation at some point. I don’t care who you are, it isn’t always easy. Some days I’m proud I showed up and made, while other days I’m proud I pushed myself and crushed a workout. Your fitness journey, much like life, is going to be full of ups and downs. There will be periods when you are keenly focused on your goals, motivation is high and you’re slaying personal records a couple times a month. But there will also be times when you have to work around injuries, intensely busy schedules, unplanned events, and the hectic nature of life. This is why people that set end goals to their fitness journey rarely ever achieve their goals or maintain their results. There is no finish line when it comes to health and fitness. It is an ongoing journey or success and failure. However, as long as you keep moving forward, two steps back is still further ahead than when you started.
When you want to give up, remember that change happens when you’re uncomfortable or doing something different. When you’re training hard, eating more or less that you’d like and showing up when you don’t want to. I’m not always motivated to train, despite loving it! Some days the only thing that gets me to the gym is the fact that it’s habitual, and I know I’ll feel better when I’m done. So if you struggle, remember you aren’t alone. I’m here cheering you on because I believe in you!
Below are some of my favourite ways to stay motivated. They aren’t perfect or mind blowing but they have kept me working out for over 2 and a half years. In that time I have’t taken more than a week off training. I’ve certainly taken tons of rest days, skipped the gym, laid around when I was sick, and relaxed when I traveled. But, making fitness fun and part of my life helped me to eliminate a lot of the excuses I had before. Prior to 2015 I only workout in preparation for events and trips. This meant I had very little consistency and made minimal progress.
1. Make your goals public.
Tell people about your fitness goals or what you’re working towards. Take a “before” picture and share it with someone you love. Telling others makes your journey real. Its not that you’re accountable to them, but knowing that others may be watching for changes from the sidelines can certainly push you to keep going.
2. Exercise shouldn’t be a chore.
Not all exercise is fun. What I think is fun might be a nightmare for someone else. Choose something YOU enjoy. If you aren’t looking forward to it, you’re dreading it. There are SO many kinds of fitness activities: weight lifting, spin class, HITT, tabata, pilates, yoga, spin, zumba, etc. No matter what your fitness level or age, there is definitely something for you out there!
3. Set a realistic goal for yourself.
It might be something simple like, go for a walk 3 times a week. Bike to work twice a week or join a fitness class. Start at a pace you’re comfortable with. You’ll likely be disappointed if you set unrealistic goals. I’d love to be able to bench press a plate (45 lbs) on each side but that’s currently an unrealistic goal. That doesn’t mean I can’t do it or won’t work towards it, it simply means I need to make a series of goals in order to achieve it.
4. Make a dope ass playlist.
Music is one of the greatest things to keep you going during a workout. It pumps you up and keeps you going. Think about the kinds of songs they play in spin classes or group fitness classes. The music is there to psych you up and keep you pushing.
5. Lay your workout clothes the night before
When your workout clothes are the first thing you see in the morning, it’s also a reminder of what you’re meant to do today! Every time you walk by them it’s a little push to get your butt in gear. Or…you can throw it all back in your drawer..but hopefully you’ll feel bad doing that!
6. Follow a program.
If you decide to go to the gym, follow a workout program. There are tons of free workout guides or exercise programs you can get (generally for free) online. Following a program means I’m going to work towards completing the list of exercises in front of me. It means I’m going to push to finish every set and rep laid out. For me, going to the gym without a plan means a little of this, a little of that and then I’ll call it quits before I’ve actually accomplished anything.
I’m currently using Katie Crewe’s guide Beginning Strength Guide. I personally think it’s great for beginners and people who have been working out for years! It’s got tons of info.
7. Have fun workout clothes.
Ask anyone who has ever bought new workout clothes how excited they are to work out! Having clothes that make you feel good puts you in the right frame of mind to be active. I’m not saying go out and spend tons of $$$. Places like Old Navy, Ross, Marshalls, Winners, Target have reasonably priced and great workout clothes. Just remember that no matter where you buy them from, you should squat in the change room and make sure not everyone can see your unmentionables!
8. Surround yourself with like minded people
If all your friends do is Netflix and chill while indulging in delicious but not so good for you foods, it’s going to be tough to have a conversation about fitness. All it takes is ONE person in your life to help and support you in your journey. One person to whine to about how tired and unmotivated you are. One person to lovingly give you a hard time until you workout. One person to push you and believe in you when you want to give up. One person to spot you at the gym. If you’ve got more than one, count yourself blessed!
9. Take progress pictures.
No matter where you’re at in your fitness regime, just starting or years in, taking pictures is an incredibly motivating thing. Seeing your body change is amazing and inspiring (yes, you can inspire yourself!). Like I’ve said before, the scale is not always your friend. Whenever I meet people who are just starting to work out I tell them to take a million pictures. Take pictures in your bra and undies. Take them from the front, from the back, from the side. Take pictures in clothes that are now a bit too snug. In a couple weeks (yes, you should definitely wait a couple weeks to see a change..lets say 4) take another photo and see where your hard work has gotten you.
10. Form a routine and schedule your workouts
If you keep skipping your workouts in the afternoon because you’re tired, or full of excuses, go in the morning. I personally prefer morning workouts because they set the tone for my day. Scheduling your workouts in like appointments is also helpful. Think of it as a way of not missing an important meeting with yourself. If you don’t make going negotiable, you’ll find yourself working out more regularly.
11. Workout with a friend or find someone to keep you accountable
I personally don’t workout with people often. I prefer to listen to my music, de-stress and zone out of work and personal stuff. However, if you’ve got a highly motivated friend who will go to the gym with or without you, chat with them. A good gym friend is hard to find! The key is choosing someone who won’t go along with your, “Let’s catch up on the bachelor instead” or “Screw it, let’s get ice cream instead” nonsense. I’ve had those friends, and as someone who can be easily swayed into doing something else fun, those friends won’t help you get ahead.
12. Instead of giving up negotiate with yourself
I realize this sounds strange but we all do it. “I should go for a run! Nah, i’m too tired maybe I’ll just watch tv.” Why not go for a walk instead. Sometimes finding that middle group is what gets you in the door. Many a time I’ve looked at my workout and been like there is no way I can do 3 sets of 10. Maybe I’ll just do 2 sets. Sure, it’s not ideal, and this kind of mentality won’t get you ahead. BUT, 2 sets is better then no sets. And sometimes you finish up that second set and think, what’s one more set. This is basically how I get through cardio. Okay okay, i’ll do 10 minutes. Hmm..that wasn’t so bad, I don’t think i’ll die if I do 5 more…and 30 minutes later. Champion status! YAS QUEEN YAS!