Let’s face it, if going to the gym and working out was fun and easy everyone would be doing it. We would all be in tip-top shape, more productive, have more energy, and sleeping better. However the truth is working out is hard, I mean it is called working for a reason. I work out everyday, but this was by no means natural for me in the beginning. Pushing your body to do something physically strenuous daily takes a lot of discipline, motivation, and practice. This skill like any other needs to be learned and honed through trial and error. It comes down to first figuring out workouts not only you enjoy, but are also effective. Next is finding ways to motivate yourself to go and then lastly continuing to persuade yourself to go. Below are some of the tips and tricks that have worked for me in continuing to go for that daily sweat session. These may not work for everyone, but hopefully there will be something that you find useful. Enjoy!
We are all more likely to do something when we get an incentive to do it right? Part of the reason we go to work everyday is because we get paid money for doing so. Hopefully we also get self satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment from work, but the main reason is the pay. When you reward yourself for going to the gym and keeping up with a regular routine it helps to make the experience better. Try buying yourself new workout clothes. Trust me, if you have something you are excited about wearing it will help push you to want to go to the gym. Is there a new song or album you have been wanting to buy? Download songs that you can only listen to when you are at the gym or on a run. Sometimes I will get so anxious to hear that new pop song it makes me excited to get my morning run in. If you keep up with your workout routine for an entire month treat yourself to a massage. If you know the only way you are going to get a massage is by keeping up with your routine it helps keep you on track.
Know what you are working out for-
Equate gym time to what the ultimate pay offs are. For most people about 10 minutes of cardio exercise is a calorie burn of 100-150 calories. This means for 30 minutes of working out you can potentially burn about 300-400 calories. I try and eat healthy most of the time, so I use my exercise as my budget for what I can go above and beyond with. For instance if I know I want to go out with friends later that night I will push myself to do an extra 10 more minutes of cardio so I can have one more glass of wine which clocks in at about 130 calories a glass. For me finding ways to understand what burned calories actually equals helps me stay more disciplined. Knowing that about a dozen M & M’s is the equivalent of 10 minutes of cardio makes the food way less appealing.
Pre-Plan your gym time-
Have your gym routine planned out for the week in advance. I know every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I do spinning and every Tuesday I do Body Pump and every Thursday I do a Barre Class. Saturdays and Sundays are free days to do whatever I want. Typically this is running, or going on a hike, trying a new class, or taking a rest day if my body needs it. Having a routine helps take the guessing out of it. Since I know what I am doing every day during the week I just get up and do it. I don’t have time to question whether I should or should not, it is like going to work. It is just part of your day.
Prep for the day ahead-
Lay your gym clothes out the night before. This is simple and effective. The next morning when you are half asleep everything is already setup for you to get up and go. Same thing goes with working out in the afternoon. Pack your workout bag the night before so you can pick it up on your way out the door in the morning.
Be strict with yourself-
Don’t give yourself permission to skip the gym, but allow yourself to do only a light workout. On days I really don’t want to go to the gym I tell myself all I need to do is go for 15 minutes. I can do anything for 15 minutes, even stretch. I find 95% of the time once you are at the gym and working out you end up doing your whole workout routine anyways. Sometimes you just need to give yourself permission to do less and know it is ok if you do. Plus 15 minutes is way better then nothing!
Focus on the good-
Remind yourself how you will feel after you work out. Have you ever finished a workout and thought I wish I had not done that? No, typically you always feel pretty good when you have pushed yourself to do something your body was not sure it wanted to do. Reminding yourself of how you will feel after the workout instead of focusing on how you will feel during is a good mind trick. I never look forward to spinning, but I always love how I feel after I have really gotten a good sweat session in.