Some days, the idea of carving out 60 minutes for exercise seems as daunting as climbing Mt Everest. We’ve all been there: vowing to go to bed early for a morning sweat session, and then hitting snooze repeatedly the next day, skipping the workout all together, promising ourselves that it won’t happen again.
Finding the motivation to work out on a consistent basis isn’t easy, and getting into a routine is a struggle that many face, especially with work and a social life getting in the way. While motivation is a personal thing (what drives one individual may not have the same impact on another), below are tips to make getting in your workout as easy as possible. Remember: the hardest part is usually putting on your sneakers and showing up.
Love your workout
When it comes to getting your sweat on, there are a myriad of options for gym goers. From running to strength training to dancing, cycling, climbing or yoga, there’s a workout for just about anyone. Therefore, there is no need to suffer through a class or workout you absolutely hate just for the sake of exercise. When you find a workout that you actually enjoy doing, the motivation to move comes much more easily. While I’ve completed a half marathon in the past, these days I love interval and strength training, and the idea of a long run makes me shudder. I don’t force myself to run—I choose to focus on the workouts that I currently love instead, and have a much easier time getting them done instead of forcing myself to bang out multiple miles.
Find your optimal workout time
Unless your schedule is completely inflexible, working out during a time frame when you feel your best is key. For some, the idea of a 6 a.m. class is completely ridiculous, while morning exercisers bemoan the thought of working out after a long day in the office. Know what works best for you personally and plan accordingly. Different studies show that exercising during certain time frames is better for various goals (for example, working out in the morning to burn more fat during the day), but it ultimately comes down to when you personally feel your best.
Be accountable to someone
Having a workout partner can make all the difference in how you motivate yourself to get to the gym. A study by Santa Clara University revealed that social interaction during exercise is more enjoyable than exercising alone, particularly for females. In addition to being more fun, having someone waiting for you for a run or a strength training session will make you far more likely to stick to your plan. Hannah Holdren, a personal trainer at Crunch in San Francisco, says if you can’t find the motivation yourself, outsource it. Commit to a class, a friend, or hire a trainer to help you succeed. “Ultimately,” Holdren says, “the hope is that motivation becomes intrinsic. While you may like having a workout buddy, a community, or a class to hold you accountable, over time the goal is to get you to show up for yourself—and the companionship is just a plus.”
While some are motivated by abstract goals, such as the idea of losing 20 pounds or getting healthier, another way to maintain a commitment to fitness is through an actual reward system. For example, enjoying a post-workout massage or buying new workout attire after successfully going to the gym a certain number of times keeps people going back for more. There are apps that even track workouts and reward you accordingly, such as Gympact and Fitocracy, offering incentives to help you stay on track.
Working out is hugely mental—especially when you’re digging deep for the motivation to even get started. Zack Van Wagoner, a personal trainer at Crunch in San Francisco, advises his clients to think about all the work they’ve already put in, and how much better they will feel after a workout is over. “After your workout is done, you’ll feel better about the day, your effort, and ultimately yourself,” says Van Wagoner.
What motivates you to get to the gym and or get moving? Comment with your favorite tip below!