Working out is good for you. But my bed… just so comfortable. Being ripped and looking great sounds great. But sitting on the couch eating pizza also makes me happy.
If you’re having trouble with getting or staying motivated, here are a couple of dos and don’ts to help you get a proper motivation boost. So, how can you find fitness motivation again?
DO Think about how good you’ll feel after a workout
After a workout, I always feel energized, content and freed of stress. Like a Tri-rannosaurus Flex on Adderall.
Thinking about that feeling can give you an amazing motivation boost, too.
DON’T Stick to the same routine
If you’re doing the same workouts week in, week out, it can be hard to stay motivated. So instead of going down the line of machines, or doing the same routine you’ve been doing for the past months, mix it up!
Wear a funny hat, dance while resting between sets. And if that’s not your style, even something as simple as changing the order of exercises can make a workout feel different.
DO Try group fitness
Working out consistently takes discipline; even more so if you’re doing it on your own. This is why group workouts are so motivating. In the first place, there’s the added pressure to show up because there will be people waiting for you, which will only lead to you getting beat up in the locker rooms afterwards since nobody likes to be kept waiting.
Additionally, you’ll actually stick to it and finish the class. Nobody likes to be the one who taps out after half an hour and leaves while the class is still going. You know, the one the instructor stops the class for so everyone can point and laugh at them. Don’t worry, that won’t be you.
DON’T Think about your looks
A lot of people motivate themselves based on their appearance. But a focus on body parts you’re not satisfied with might actually have an adverse effect on motivation.
You might get discouraged because you don’t see change quickly enough. So instead of thinking about your looks, think about your health and your happiness. Thinking about looks comes afterwards. When you’re ‘miring yourself in the mirror, or standing by yourself in a bar flexing your muscles at random strangers.
DO Put on your workout clothes
If you feel particularly unmotivated, try putting on your workout clothes to put you in a different mind-set. You already changed into an outfit, you might as well give working out a go.
If that still doesn’t cut it, go outside in your workout clothes and walk around for a bit. That might make you feel silly enough to change course and head to the gym anyway.
DON’T Use excuses
- “My favourite show’s on!” Watch it later. This is why we have the internet. *cough* and torrents *cough*.
- “I’m too tired!” Go back to the top and read the first tip. Now.
- “My parents are in town!” They can wait for half an hour longer. Or better yet, invite them along on your workout. Nothing motivates you as much as an overbearing mother telling you your deadlift needs work.
DO At least try to do your warm-up routine
This is my go-to tactic for when I don’t feel motivated: I force myself to at least do a short warm-up like a push-up circuit or a couple of minutes with a jump rope. Anything to get the blood flowing, really.
Most of the times I’ll just keep going and before I know it, it’s an hour later. Great stuff. Especially when I’m hungover; a quick warm-up will make me forget all about my splitting headache and nausea and the rest of the workout always follows like it’s absolutely no effort at all. True story.
DO Reward yourself
If you are not in the habit of exercising regularly, you can easily turn it into a habit by employing a simple Cue-Routine-Reward loop. The cue is a trigger. This can be something like driving to the gym immediately after work. The trigger leads to the routine, which is your workout.
The final part is the reward, which could be something as simple as a smoothie or an episode of your favourite TV series when you get home. Don’t go overboard, though. A half-hour workout shouldn’t be rewarded with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. The point is, by associating rewards with a routine, you can make behavioural changes easier.
For example, when I get home from work, I’ll take off my shoes and sit on the couch (cue!), do a couple of bicep curls holding some everyday object like, let’s say, a bottle of beer, and afterwards, I reward myself with a half-hour nap.
DON’T Listen to people who doubt you
There might be that one friend or colleague who reacts to your new fitness resolutions with a resounding “Yeah right! You’ll never keep it up.” Or the guy next to you in the gym who’s snickering because you’re holding the bar wrong or because you’re not “supposed” to do shoulder presses while balancing your chair on an exercise ball.
Don’t listen to those guys. Well, except if that’s actually how you do shoulder presses. We care about your safety here, you know. But if that’s not the case: don’t listen to those guys. Turn them into motivation instead: show them wrong.
DO Use the buddy system
But what if group classes aren’t your thing; what if you’re a follower of the Church of Iron in all its reps-ilicious glory but can’t be bothered to go? Get a workout buddy! Hang around outside the gym and loudly ask passers-by if they want to lift together.
Alternatively, ask your friends or colleagues first. At any rate, someone to cheer you on and drag you to the gym when you’re feeling lazy can be indispensable for a consistent exercise routine. And let’s be honest, there’s nothing as fun as someone laughing at your rep-weight and asking if you even lift, bro.
There you go, now go forth and exercise!