While I too like pictures of beautiful lean bodies with defined abs and zero cellulite, it’s not what motivates me to go to go to the gym or get my sweat on. These are the top 9 things that keep me motivated and working hard!
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.
Personally I’m a huge fan Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide (BBG). You can do most of the workouts at home! Her program gives you 3 resistance workouts per week and asks you to do some LISS (low intensity steady state) cardio like light walking 3 days a week. Personally I find her program absolutely amazing. Her online community is also incredibly supportive and motivating. You can even download a free one week trial from her website here.
There are also some incredible plans at bodybuilding.com that help you to select plans based on your goals. My absolute favourite part about their plans is that you can click on the exercises in the plan (while you’re working out) to watch a 1 minute instructional video on how to do it. I find myself using the videos at least once a week to double check what the correct form looks like. My personal favourite 12 week plan is from Jamie Eason. I’ve found doing her program and BBG have really improved my fitness level and strength.
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.