Let’s face it: Working out isn’t easy. Some days are tougher than others and sometimes we can lose our motivation to exercise. There can even be times when we start to make excuses to not work out, even though we know we really need to. We’ve all been there, especially when 5:00pm rolls around and a bar stool at the after-work happy hour sounds a lot more appealing than a seat on the stationary bike. I get it. If you struggle with finding your fitness motivation, here are a few ways to help you push yourself.
Channel Your Inner Fitness Motivation
Channeling your inner fitness motivation is often easier said than done. You already know there are all kinds of benefits to getting fit, but which of these benefits matter most to you? Something as simple as taking a walk after dinner every night can help to control your weight, strengthen your bones, enhance your muscles, and reduce your risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. To keep your motivation to exercise elevated over time, you may also need to tap into additional internal motivators other than those related staying healthy and living longer, such as looking and feeling better all around.
Set Personal Goals to Boost Your Fitness Motivation
Setting realistic fitness goals is a great way to boost your fitness motivation. At a minimum, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) recommends that adults perform the following activities every week:
- 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise
- 2 or more weight training routines that target all major muscle groups
Again, that’s PER WEEK. To some this may sound like an ambitious goal, but it’s a great place to start. If you’re getting winded just thinking about these routines, look at it this way… This baseline recommendation set by the CDC means you should roughly be performing the equivalent of a 30-minute walk five days per week PLUS two weight training routines that target your quadriceps (legs), back, abdomen (abdominal), pectorals (chest), deltoids (shoulders) and arms. Keep in mind that all of this doesn’t have to be some brutal workout you would likely see on The Biggest Loser, where the contestants look half-dead midway through their routine. And it doesn’t necessarily require fancy equipment and gym memberships. You can perform all of these routines in and around the comfort of your own home.
Now, if you want to maximize your time, feel free to kick this up a notch by jogging or running for 15 minutes instead of walking for 30. The point is, set weekly goals and gradually add more time and intensity as your stamina and confidence improve. At the end of each week, take a moment to reflect on how you did. Did you reach your goals? Good. Now celebrate.
Do What You Love to Improve Your Fitness Motivation
Stop thinking of exercise as exercise. Instead, look at exercise as something you enjoy doing while remembering how great you always feel afterwards. Remember, you don’t have to hit the gym everyday to get a good workout. It’s all about moving more, no matter how you do it.
For some people, going to the gym provides a structured routine that helps them focus and achieve a sense of accomplishment when they’re done. For others, it’s a chore – one they wind up avoiding as often as they can. If you think about it, you’re constantly surrounded by opportunities to get more active. Find the opportunities that get you excited about getting and staying fit. When you’re enthusiastic about something, you’re more likely to keep doing it.
Pencil in Routines to Keep Your Fitness Motivation on Course
Do you have a “crazy-busy” schedule? Sure, we all do. If you’re serious about fitness and improving your fitness motivation, learn to work your routines into your hectic lifestyle. If you can negotiate some flexibility into your schedule and plan for occasional potholes in the road to fitness, you’re more likely to stay on course.
Don’t Get Discouraged if Your Fitness Motivation Reaches a Low Point
Lean to bounce back from setbacks. One of the most common reasons people stop pursuing a fit lifestyle is because they have a day or two of unhealthy eating or missing a routine, and then they completely throw in the towel. Avoid this mindset at all costs. Look ahead to tomorrow, which is another opportunity to get back on track. If you start to get discouraged, stop… Take time for a mental attitude adjustment so you don’t completely lose your fitness motivation and desire to exercise.
With these simple tips, you can integrate exercise back into your life. The opportunity for exercise is all around; go out there and catch it.