Look, staying motivated after starting a fitness plan isn’t easy, and details surrounding project and goals can fall through the cracks as we move through life. Sometimes there are certain variables (like an unexpected work meeting) that get in the way of our daily routines and send our schedules out of whack. I don’t have children, but for some of you, that may be a factor. I wouldn’t want to go to the gym if a little cupcake had kept me up all night either – but these are still excuses. While everyone’s goals are different, and some people are more hard-lined about their levels of commitment to their sport, one fact remains the same; we must show up. Being present at the gym is the first and primary objective.
One school of thought says not to bother showing up if you’re not going to give 120%. I don’t agree with that. Many of us fail at our fitness goals due to the mere fact that we find it difficult to stick to a routine or we “don’t have time.” Don’t break your routine! Make time!
When I’m hungover I”ll usually still go to the gym. Not only to prove to myself that I can get through it (and sweat out the alcohol) but also as a punishment for putting myself here in the first place. It’s going to suck for a while, but it must occur. Don’t skip days because, every day that you go, you get one step closer to your goal. Think of your current level of fitness as your hangover. You got yourself into this mess, and you’re the only one that has the power to pull yourself out!
Whether your goal is to lose weight, lift heavier, or simply to maintain your current level of fitness, these tips are for you.
1.) Make it as ‘smooth’ as possible
You don’t have to make this any harder than it needs to be. Have a drawer for your gym clothes, keep extra water bottles on hand, have an apple in your gym bag for emergency sustenance, your headphones on the ready, and anything else you can think of to get you out that door and into your fitness center. If you forget your headphones, that’s okay! Instead of going home, use this as an opportunity to search inward during your workout for that extra lift that music brings. Some of the best workouts of my life happened once I surrendered to the idea of going sans music.
2.) Don’t make excuses
A wise guy once said, “Do or do not. There is no try.” He’s right. Everyone is tired, and unless you’re a teenager, you’re just going to get progressively more and more tired. Grab some coffee, a pre-workout or whatever puts a little pep in your step. Once you start your workout, your natural endorphins will take effect and hopefully help you along. We’re just trying to get you through that door.
3.) Remind yourself of why you workout
It’s helpful to look at a goal picture or to reflect on why you decided to make this lifestyle change. No one is going to make you get out of bed, or up your one-rep max. That has to come from within; You’ll be damn sure that if you can’t get out of bed, there’s no way you’ll be able to push yourself mentally in your workouts.
4.) Think about how you’ll feel when you’ve accomplished the task
When I’m thinking of skipping the gym, I reflect on how I’ll feel when my friends or family ask me about my daily workout. Their interest helps hold me accountable because I don’t want to have to say I failed. The same theory goes for things like food journals. If you have someone you show regularly, you’re less likely to hit that Taco Bell drive-thru knowing they’ll see it.
5.) Realize that you don’t need a gym
Calisthenics have been a central part of exercise programs for centuries, dating back to 600 BC. The idea that you need anything other than your body to hold a fitness practice is simply untrue. Think back to when you were in school to all the things they’d make you do without a gym. Here’s a quick guide to getting the most out of your home workout:
- Warm up with jumping jacks or running in place.
- Work from your biggest muscle group down to your smallest. I usually do Legs, Back, Chest, biceps, triceps, shoulders, abs.
- BUT, you don’t need to do them all on the same day. Rather than a full body workout, you could partition your workouts into an upper body/ and lower body split.
- If you’re trying to burn fat, have an “active rest” by doing mountain climbers, burpees, or jumping jacks between sets.
- Whatever you chose, you will do strength training every other day, and 20-40 minutes of cardio between days.
- Always take at least one day off, and try never to go more than 72 hours without getting active.
If you check out the above list, you’ll notice dumbbells are used a lot. I suggest picking some up. They’ll usually cost you $1 per pound. I recommend getting 7.5 lbs and 10 lbs. If you can’t buy dumbbells, use cans of food! You can use your toddler for some barbell exercises too! Get creative and remember that anything that you can safely keep a hold on, you can use for strength and resistance training. Find more exercises you can do using only your bodyweight here.
6.) Remember that no one is perfect
No matter what you do, sometimes it won’t be enough. You’ll fuck up your meal plan, or you just won’t be able to muster it. That’s okay! No one is infallible and to assume so is setting yourself up for failure. One glitch does not a failure make. There are few other things in life other than “diets” that, once people mess up, they’ll quit. Let’s say you’re doing dishes, and you drop a plate, and it breaks. You wouldn’t swear off chores for the rest of your life! You’d pick it up and keep going. The same should be true here. So maybe you spontaneously took a long weekend and you screwed up only five days into your “diet.” On Monday jump back up and into the swing of things. It’s never too late, and as long as you’re constantly evolving, that’s success!
Visualize yourself overcoming the obstacles in your path, and the joy you will feel upon the completion or realization of your goal. Always remember who you are and keep your intention in the forefront of your mind.
What phase of fitness are you in? Would access to free workout programs help you? How do you stay motivated?
Tell us in the comments below!
*Note: You should always consult your doctor before starting, ending, or changing an exercise program.