I love working out. Whether it is running, a HIIT class or at my local Crossfit box; chances are most days of the week you can find me doing one form of exercise or another. Despite this I, like most people struggle, with motivation from time to time. There are days when I’d rather lie-in than get up at 5am for a morning run; and other days when I’ve had a busy day at work and all I want to do is go home eat and watch crappy TV.
No matter how much anyone loves fitness, very few people can remain motivated all the time. The problem is that to achieve any results from your workouts, from losing weight to getting stronger, working out on a consistent basis is the only way to be successful.
So how do you stay motivated with your workouts when all you want to do is stay in bed? Over the years I’ve found a few useful ways of motivating myself into heading to the gym when I’d rather be anywhere else!
Here are my tips for staying motivated with your workouts:
I’m old fashioned when it comes to any sort of writing and still prefer to use a physical diary where I can write down my week’s workouts in advance. I do this as it means I can organise other events around my workouts; for example if I’m meeting up with a friend on Saturday I can either schedule the meet-up around my workout or change the time of the workout to fit into my social life.
As well as this, one of the biggest excuses for not exercising is a lack of time. This is understandable as most of us lead extremely busy lives – juggling work, family responsibilities and social lives already, it can be difficult fitting in workouts. Pre-planning workouts by adding them into a calendar (physically writing it down or using a phone’s calendar) will help to fit the workout into a busy schedule.
Make a routine
I’m pretty much set in my ways when it comes to exercising. I know, for example, that Sunday mornings are when I do my long run of the week, while Tuesday nights tend to be when I’m at Crossfit. I find having this routine helps make it much easier to stay motivated simply because I’m used to working out at these times. Saying this, I think it is important to be flexible with your routine at times as well. I use my routine as a core foundation for my fitness, however if I feel that I’ve been over training and need a rest day I’ll take one instead of waiting for my standard rest day on Friday. The key to this, however, is to assess whether or not you are making an excuse to miss a workout or if you really need to alter your routine.
Have a goal
It would be an understatement to say I’m a goal orientated person…in fact, I love goals! I love making them, working towards them and, hopefully, achieving them. I also find that making goals are one of the most important motivational drivers for me. My goals tend to be orientated around races and competition – I’m always striving for a new PB and working towards achieving one is what gets me down the gym at 6.30am on a Monday morning. For many people weight loss is a goal, as well as working towards an event like a wedding or holiday. While these are great, setting new goals once your original one has been achieved will help to keep you motivated, for example once you get to a certain weight perhaps set a new goal such as completing 5k race?
Join a friendly gym
I’ve been going to gyms on-off since I was 16 years old and over that time I’ve noticed that I’ve had much more motivation to go to a gym where the instructors and coaches are friendly, supportive and approachable than those where they are not. A good traditional gym will have staff like this and I’m lucky that the gym I currently go to has an incredibly good fitness team; however one of the reasons Crossfit is becoming so popular is that it offers a friendly, community-based type of gym.
Crossfit boxes tend to be smaller than regular gyms, which means that the coaches there get to know individual members, as well as making it easier for other members to get to know each other. This can create a great friendly and motivational environment in which to train and helps make working out fun and something to look forward to after a long day in the office.
Allow yourself time off
Although I love my workouts there are times when I can’t face lacing up my trainers for a run and going to the gym just seems like a hassle. In short, for me there comes a point when I just need a break. Often if I’m going away on holiday I won’t workout and instead will give my body and mind a chance to completely rest from exercise. I know that taking a two week break once a year isn’t going to have a dramatic impact on my fitness, plus I won’t suddenly put on a stone in weight; instead it will give my body and mind a chance to refresh and will enable me to set new goals so that once my holiday is over I’m ready to hit the gym again.