Let’s face it: finding fitness motivation is hard. It’s been programmed in our bodies to save our energy and avoid strenuous activity, but in a modern world where transportation involves simply pushing a pedal and fast food joints are on every corner, that mindset and instinct hurt more than they help. Let’s be real here, lying on the couch and spending some quality time with our good friend Netflix sounds much more enticing than getting to the gym to fit in a workout!
Here are five ways to help get you up and moving and amp up your fitness motivation.
1. Plan it out
We all have busy, hectic lives. Whether you’re running errands, at work, cooking dinner, or trying to fit in quality time with friends and family, you’re probably feeling like there just isn’t enough time in the day to workout. I’ve found that scheduling your workout in your planner or calendar is critical to keeping to a solid fitness regime and can be one of the biggest factors in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Do you have a gap between dropping the kids off at school and when you need to go to the dentist? Perfect! Schedule in a workout – whether it be a walk around the neighborhood, fitness class, or swim – and stick to it. Writing down a planned workout will help keep you accountable and it’s much harder to make up an excuse as to why you can’t workout when you know you have the time scheduled in your day.
2. Eat a good breakfast
If you’re a morning exerciser like me, eating a healthy and energizing breakfast is fundamental to a successful workout. When I’m hungry, there’s no way I can put on my workout clothes and head to the gym or go for a run. Talk about a bad way to start off your day!
My mornings involve getting up early, immediately getting some coffee in my system, then either fixing myself some oatmeal with fruits and nuts, or scrambling up some eggs with vegetables. By fueling my body with healthy calories and nutrients, I’m setting the stage for a tough workout where I give it my all. If I’m feeling hungry or low on energy, my workouts are always lackluster and leave a lot to be desired. Try combining healthy carbs such as whole wheat bread, oatmeal, and fruits with a punch of protein to help keep you full and energized and make sure to give yourself enough time to digest before getting your sweat on!
3. Grab a friend
We all know how boring exercising alone can be. The time seems to crawl by and boredom can convince you to quit your workout early. To counter this, find a workout buddy! Not only will making plans with a friend to workout keep you accountable and more likely to exercise, but you’ll also be inspired to work harder.
Doing partner exercises like medicine ball passes and relay races can inspire you to give the workout your all instead of going halfway. And if you don’t have a workout buddy near you? That’s no problem at all – even a simple phone call to check in might suffice. Studies at Stanford University have shown that a check-in call every two weeks increased the amount of exercise that their participants did by 78% on average.
4. Make it fun
Exercising doesn’t need to be running for hours on the dreadmill or endless amounts of bicep curls; find your own personal version of happy fitness and do what makes your heart and body happy. If you plain hate running, don’t force yourself to jog every day of the week. If you make working out a punishment, your fitness motivation will go down the drain and you will be left feeling uninspired. I have friends who detest running, but have found that they love dancing, so plan their schedules around their favorite Zumba classes and don’t need coerce themselves into working out.
If you’re intimidated by the weight room, find a group exercise class that combines both cardio and weights to help you get comfortable. Is the gym not an option? Head on outside and go power walking with a friend or your dog. One of the fantastic things about fitness is that it isn’t a one-mold fits all aspect of your life. Tune your exercise to the channel that resonates with you and watch how much easier it gets to workout.
5. Change your mentality about health
With all the magazines and push for women to get smaller and men to get bigger it gets easy to get lost in the mindset that the shape of your body is the most defining character of health.
Real talk: it’s not.
Fitness is measured by more than your weight on the scale or how bulgy your biceps are looking today. Your fitness extends out to being able to play with your kids in the pool, explore places abroad when you travel, do basic chores around the house with ease, and so much more. Think long-term. By adjusting how you think of fitness, you’re bound to change your mindset and gain more motivation to succeed with your workout plan.
For example, studies have shown that weight lifting for women plays a role in preventing osteoporosis, which could be a huge factor in terms of setting yourself up for a better quality of life when older: weight-bearing exercises such as strength training, running, and even dancing can help prevent decline of muscle mass and strengthen bones. Doing regular cardio helps keep your heart strong and pumping, improve your mood by releasing endorphins, reduce stress, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
By thinking long-term and realizing that fitness plays a key role in determining your future quality of life, you’ll find your inner drive to work harder to take care of yourself.