Updated: Mar 29, 2021
How to stay motivated to workout.
It's difficult to stay on track! I was always active when I was younger. I danced and was a cheerleader. And then I went to college and didn't have a regular routine. I was never one to go to the gym on my own to workout. During my college years any workouts I did was usually with friends, joining them for group fitness class or run/walking on the treadmill and watching America's Next Top Model.
There was one period where I was consistently going to the gym for classes, or running outside. The motivation? Spring Break and bathing suit season (eye roll). That routine carried me into my mid 20's where I would do a fitness program like P90X (if you remember that) and writing down everything I ate constantly and doing at least 60 minutes a day. And once again the motivation was strictly superficial. Getting in shape for my wedding or a trip etc.
I started working out with friends. I had a corporate job that I didn't love and needed something to do during the weekdays other than going home and watching tv. I started training for 5Ks. Then 10ks and then ran a half marathon. I didn't love running but I loved the accomplishment of crossing that finish line and feeling stronger. Note that I said stronger NOT skinnier.
Then I walked into a barre studio. We did 45 minutes of a surprisingly difficult class. I say surprisingly because I was a dancer! I figured how hard can it be. Ha! I didn't know my legs could shake so much. We ended class with a meditative cooldown and I had 3-5 minutes just to breathe. I have had anxiety every since I can remember. I've never been on any medication for it (no judgement if you are), and this was the first time in a long time that I felt at peace in my own mind. I was hooked. I tried to go to classes as much as I could because I wanted to chase down that feeling. I fell in love with the classes and movements. I could slowly start to see muscles forming. I was getting lower and using heavier weights. Slowly but surely I was falling in love with fitness. I continued taking classes while I was pregnant and safely postpartum. I tried other types of workouts and despite being a busy new parent, I found a routine that worked for me.
My routine has changed a lot over the years because of kids, changes in my career etc. But one thing that has been a constant is that I feel BETTER when I workout. My motivation was no longer about being thinner, or looking good in a bathing suit. My body was changing but that wasn't my WHY. My purpose was feeling better mentally. I'm less agitated when I workout. My anxiety is significantly better. I have more energy. I'm a better mom, spouse, friend, employee, etc when I set that time aside for myself to move my body.
Find Your Why
Do you currently workout or have a routine? What motivates you to do it?
There is no shame in wanting to workout to get in shape. Just make sure that you are doing it in a healthy way. Eat enough food. Drink all the water. You don't have to restrict what you eat. Just be smart about what you're eating. I've always found that eating clean has helped me feel my best. Lean proteins like chicken and turkey, lots of fruits and veggies. I try to stay away from anything in a box like meal starter kits, or frozen meals. If you need to do frozen, get frozen fruit and veggies. Once in a while I'll get Trader Joes frozen food for a quick meal. They have a lot of healthier options. I don't believe in cheat meals. I believe in moderation. If I want to go crazy on a cheese plate, I go for it. I just make sure that the next day I fill up on some veggies to help my stomach feel better. If I want that piece of chocolate, or some other form of a snack, I don't deny myself. I just try not to eat the entire bag. It's all about balance. I definitely understand that not all body types are created equal, and what works for some won't work for all. The key is listening to YOUR body both with eating and workouts.
Having trouble staying motivated? Think about why you really want or need to exercise. Do you want to be healthy for your kids? Do you need it to better your mental health? Find an exercise that you love or at least tolerate to start. Bring a friend. Keep a journal and write down how you feel after class. If you had a really positive experience and are having trouble finding the motivation to take class again, go back to that journal entry.
Sign up for classes early and write out your schedule down on paper or put it in your phone. Set reminders and all the alarms if it's an early workout. Find an accountability buddy! There are times where I wanted to hit snooze and not do my workout. But if I knew that I was 'meeting' a friend during a virtual class, I didn't want to stand them up.
I'm not perfect. I hit snooze and skip workouts just like everyone else. But I know that I'll feel better both mentally and physically after I finish a class. Consistency is key. Start with one or two workouts a week for a few weeks. Add on a few more after you've consistently stayed with that schedule. Know that you are doing yourself a disservice if you are breaking that promise to yourself to move your body. After a while it will become routine and something you don't have to think about as much. Of course I go through phases where I'm killing it and working out consistently and feeling great and others where I have to force myself. It's balance and well worth the reward of better mental and physical health.