Even the most elite athletes struggle with motivation from time to time, but it’s especially challenging for those looking to make exercise an upgraded priority in life. We’re not going to sugar-coat it: when you first start working out, it’s hard work, both physically and mentally. Your body yells “STOP!” as soon as fatigue kicks, forcing you to summon the deepest will power to push past the pain and achieve the results you’re after.
So how do you keep going, when the going gets tough? It’s not easy, but with these tips in mind, you can avoid calling it quits and keep motivation strong throughout any exercise.
Fit Fitness into Your Schedule
What’s the number one excuse for skipping a workout? Everyone claims, “I have no time!” but the fact of the matter, is that no matter how busy or chaotic your schedule may be, you can always squeeze in a quick workout.
We have some great tips on how to fit a workout plan into your busy schedule, but it all comes down to shifting your mentality and making exercise a priority. That might mean waking up a little bit earlier or using your lunch break to bust a quick sweat. Do kids have soccer practice? Bring your yoga mat along and find a grassy area to do a short ab circuit. Simply taking the stairs over the elevator, or walking versus driving can help you stay active when you’re short on time.
Choose Flexible Workout Routines
Another way to fit working out into your hectic schedule is to find indoor exercises you can do at home. Not only can this save you a trip to the gym (and the cost of membership), but it also allows you to knock out multiple tasks at once.
From squats to lunges, planks to pushups, all of these activities can be done while catching up on your favorite T.V. show or supervising the children’s playtime. And hey, if you turn into their own personal jungle gym, a little extra weight could be just the strength challenge you need!
Make it More Comfortable
If you’re uncomfortable before the workout even begins, you’ll hardly feel motivated to lace up your shoes, let alone take them for a run around the block. Ditch the old Converse and invest in the best running shoes that can keep feet feeling fresh and legs feeling strong as the miles add up. When you’re in less pain, you’ll be way less likely to look at your Fitbit and wonder “How much longer do I have to do this?”
Keep in mind, post-workout recovery is just as important when it comes to preventing pain. Your muscles deserve some dedicated TLC after all the work you put them through, so always remember to stretch and hydrate after a day’s exercise. It’ll only take a few minutes, but it can save you from a world of soreness the next morning.
Add Some Fun into the Mix
If you’re struggling in the motivation department, try making your workouts more fun! For some people, “cardio” sounds more like a six-letter cussword, but there are ways to sneak it in to make it far more enjoyable.
Take up tennis lessons, join your kids while they horse around on the basketball court, or maybe give Zumba a shot. If you can find a family-friendly hobby that you look forward to, being active will become effortless.
Tag a Workout Buddy
Company and accountability can go a really long way, especially on days when you’re lacking the drive to get up and get moving. It can be as simple as asking a neighbor to join you on your nightly walks or challenging a friend to register as your teammate on an upcoming 5K.
Conversation can make the time pass by as the calories burn, and collective accomplishment with a feel-good high-five will really get those endorphins flowing once the workout is over—and they’ll be done before you know it. Even if you can’t get together, the words of encouragement you’ll receive after sharing your progress with someone close to you can give you a pat on the back (or push out the door) the next time motivation is low.
What keeps you motivated while working out? Let us know in the comments below.