Picture this: It is January 1st. You are peering into the mirror, focusing on all the flabs and undesirable curves that you are oh so critical about. You decide that you want to work out more.
Fast forward to March. You went on 3 morning runs, realized how terrible exercising feels, and faded out of it. The next thing you know, you’ve slept in until 10:30am, you’ve eaten a whole sleeve of crackers with dollops of spreadable cheese (this may or may not be based on a real life situation…) and your arm flaps have grown considerably.
In case you couldn’t tell, I’ve been there.
I am now in the habit of working out 5 times a week for at least 30 minutes at a time. I noticed a change in my appetite, sleep quality, and mood almost immediately. There are several factors that have kept me motivated to continue this pattern of working out daily.
1. Start out slow
You may feel super pumped about your first workout in months, but that does not mean you need to push yourself way above your limit all at once. Start out with a light workout and work up to more intensity. If you over do it on your first go, you’ll probably feel way too sore to get back to it for awhile.
2. Buy new workout gear
If I go buy myself a brand new sports bra and running shoes, heck yeah I’m going to want to use them! Although I do not suggest this being the primary source of motivation (that would get pretty pricey), a good kick-start to working out is to buy some gear that you want to show off.
This tip also works great if you are trying to drink more water. Buying a new water bottle automatically makes me more excited to drink.
3. Find a workout buddy
My roommate and I have committed ourselves to going to the gym for at least half an hour five times a week. When one of us slacks, the other tries to motivate. Having a gym or running buddy also saves money on gas and makes first-time gym members less scared to try things (because you can both look silly as you attempt that workout machine in improper form instead of one of you. Story of my life).
Don’t have a friend who wants to workout? Simply ask someone to keep you accountable. Even if your friend doesn’t hit the gym with you, they can send you a text reminding you to keep doing it! This works even better if your accountability friend lives with you, because they can make your butt get out of bed for morning workouts.
4. Give yourself incentives
When you first start working out it can literally feel like near death. After my first gym session, which I went way too hard in, it hurt to move during and after my workout. When that happens, it can be hard to stay motivated. That is when incentives come in. This can be a number of things. One way you could implement this is by giving yourself an allowance of $10.00 for every extra 10 minutes that you run. If you’re looking for something that doesn’t break the bank, you could also simply allow yourself another episode of your favorite show that evening for doing an extra set of sit ups. The incentive possibilities are endless.
5. Don’t do it for the weight loss
Losing weight may be the initial motivator to start working out, but I want to put out there that there is more benefit to working out than weight loss. There are so many great health benefits that come from workouts! Working out aids your digestion and reduces bloating, boosts your metabolism, lifts your mood and even lowers your cholesterol. I could go on too. Becoming and staying motivated roots from understanding why you are doing it. Weight loss can be a slow and frustrating process, which is discouraging. But understanding all the ways you are aiding your body every time you workout will make it an easier process.
6. Have a BOMB workout playlist ready
All of my suggestions here are important, however, I would almost argue that in terms of making it through an entire workout without quitting, workout music is the most important. If I don’t have my earbuds in, I can hear my heavy breathing the entire time I’m on the treadmill. It becomes the only thing I can focus on and that has always been discouraging for me. Music helps me filter out my body saying “stahp” when I really need to keep going (though please do know your limits and don’t push too much). My favorite genres for working out is fast-paced hip hop and intense metal.
Have any workout motivation tips yourself? Feel free to share them below!