How to Stay Motivated to Work Out
Motivation is a fleeting entity. Just like the wind, one minute it’s here and the next it’s gone. Even more so, this seems to especially be the case when it comes to fitness and motivation. If you're like most, there is no higher motivational level for fitness when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions. Then, just like over 80% who make resolutions, that motivation seems to be gone come March.
But what happens if you're looking for motivation to work out in the middle of summer or in the dead of winter? Where does determination come into play? First off, it helps to differentiate between motivation and determination, as the two are often interchanged.
Motivation vs. Determination
While often used in the same sense, there is a bit of a difference between the two factors.
Motivation at its essence comes from external, outside sources. Motivation is typically watched, read, or listened to and makes an individual want to act on their needs or wants in life.
Social media posts
These are things that essentially make you want to start something, like a workout.
Determination is derived from internal inspiration. It is the ability to find and have your own will to do something, start something, or make a change. It is in most neuro experts' opinion, the most powerful form of inspiration, and once driven, an individual is hardly persuaded in a different direction.
While both have an integral part to play in everyone's life, making that switch from motivated to internally driven, especially when it comes to fitness, is easier said than done. Sometimes all you need to be is motivated to have a better relationship and a health/life/play balance.
Finding That Drive
Here are some tips to stay motivated and different scenarios that you might face where that motivational drive isn't what you want it to be, and how you can find the means to stay with your fitness routine.
Working Out at Home
The wonderful thing about working out from home is that it offers numerous benefits. Being able to do it whenever you want, day or night, no waiting in line to use gym equipment, no commute to and from, the list goes on. Sometimes home workouts can have the exact opposite effect.
This typically arises because we are most comfortable in our own homes. Once we are done with the work day and back at home, it's all too easy to get comfortable and not want to get up and start that workout. So, how do you manage this?
Set aside time - Set aside specific times each day for exercise, making sure to block off calendars if it’s during the middle of the day, or carve out 20/30 minutes before or after work. That time is protected and you made plans for it.
Turn up the media - Really not feeling it? Blast some of your favorite pump-up jams or listen to a motivational speech or podcast.
Just start - Sometimes the hardest part is just starting, but once you get going, it's easier to find the drive along the way. Remember, nobody ever regretted finishing a workout.
Staying Committed to Exercising Daily
Sometimes it's not that we lack the motivation to work out, sometimes it is the motivation to work out consistently. That’s not to say that you have to work out seven days a week, 365 days a year, but staying adherent to consistency long-term leads to lifestyle changes.
So how can you find the motivation to exercise daily? Simple. Have active rest days. Active rest days can be utilized on a consistent basis to incorporate daily movement into your life, without overtaxing the body and nervous system. Here are some options to include on active rest days that have been shown to have numerous health benefits.
Outdoor walks/hikes in nature
Easy pace swims
Morning Workouts Before Starting the Day
One of the best ways to ensure that you get your workout in for the day is to do it before work or before the kids are up. Sometimes, that is easier said than done. Your bed ends up becoming too comfy and getting out from under the covers seems like a real struggle; the motivation becomes non-existent. Here's how to do it.
Getting into a good morning routine starts the night before in the evening time. This means developing a routine that becomes a habit.
Turning off electronics the last hour
Sleeping in a blacked-out environment
Getting to bed at the same time each night
Set out your workout clothes the night before
Simply incorporating a few key disciplines each night can help ensure you fall asleep quickly and get the most out of each sleep session. Then, when the alarm rings at 5 a.m. to get up for your workout, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to take on that 20 minute H.I.I.T. session.
While working out before work or taking the kiddos to school may be ideal for some, it may not be an option for others. So the only option is to work out post office hours. This can sometimes be a pitfall for motivational levels. You just put in an eight or more hour day, and now you need to find the energy to work out. How do you now find motivation when you don't want to work out?
Here are a couple of ways to help you get that motivation for working out at the end of the day.
Make it a priority - The excuses are easy to find once you’ve put in a full day's worth of work. The truth of the matter usually comes down to not wanting it bad enough. Finding your reason “why” you work out or have certain goals can certainly help when the motivation is not there.
Do it right away - The reason most fail with post-work exercise is that we get too comfy. Here is how you can combat that. Once you immediately get home from work/finish working remotely, don’t unwind just yet, get into those gym clothes, turn on your fitness app, and start your workout.
Family first - Other times it literally is not feasible to work out immediately following your nine-to-five. Some have to pick up kids, make dinner, help with homework, etc. That’s totally understandable. Here is that workaround.
Once the kids have gone to sleep and it has been at least an hour or 2 since you’ve eaten dinner, use that time for yourself and for your workout. You’ll feel great by ending the day with a sweat session and it will help you sleep better too!
Plan Then Execute
While life does tend to happen at times, throwing us a curveball, there are always plenty of opportunities and ways to get motivated to work out. It takes time, effort, strategy, and action to achieve your goals. And remember, we're all given the same amount of hours in a day, it's how we use them that truly matters.
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