It's Monday, you're drained, and a tough session seems like the worst thing ever. Here's how to convince yourself otherwise.
Staying motivated to work out is a topic we've addressed over and over again in our quest to find some sort of magic formula that will keep us all at the gym. Everyone knows how good it feels, and everyone has had the thought, at the peak of their training, "I'm going to do this forever; it's just a part of my life." But then, inevitably, you plateau, and getting to the gym or going for a run after work seems really hard.
Here are tips for staying motivated.
Find a gym/park that is convenient in terms of location. It should be a quick walk from where you sleep, work or study almost every day. This makes it a lot easier to develop a routine. They say that the hardest part of working out is actually getting inside the gym. It becomes a lot less painful (and a lot harder to make excuses) if it's a block away.
2. Do What You Enjoy
Choose exercises/activities you enjoy doing. The enjoyment may come from trying to out-lift the guy next to you. Whatever you do, you should derive some pleasure from it.
3. Make a Good Playlist
Make a great playlist or download one off the internet. A lot of fitness websites have suggestions. If music's not doing it for you, listen to a podcast or lecture. If you're going to be on a cardio machine, bring along a magazine or catalog for the pictures.
4. Find a Gym Buddy
Find a gym buddy. He or she doesn't have to do the same workout as you or be your best friend. It's more important to go with someone who has a similar daily schedule.
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5. Keep a Record
Keep a log of your workouts. There are great apps for iPhone/iPod Touch that make it really easy for you to keep track of your progress. You can also bring a weight-training journal to the gym if that's more your style. Some people like to take pictures of themselves every month. This can be used to visually keep track of how far you've come and what areas you want to focus on next. (Sidenote: I really don't recommend taking pics more than once a month. The change over a shorter time may be hard to see and, hence, discourage you.)
6. Set Goals
Small steps. Keep in mind that it's easier to implement a behavior and lifestyle change by doing it one step at a time. Set attainable goals that are realistic for your situation and body. Write down this goal in your workout log/journal, and once you've achieved it, write down your next goal.
7. Change Your Routine
Switch it up. After a certain period of doing the same workouts over and over again, your body will adapt to the routine and hit a plateau. Try to avoid this by basically throwing your body off-balance and keeping it from getting used to a certain routine. Mix in low-intensity days with high-intensity ones. Look online or around the gym for new exercises to try.
8. Schedule It In
Mindset. Make time for it. You're better off going to the gym for just 30 minutes than daydreaming or dozing off in your chair every 10 minutes. It's important to stop telling yourself that exercising is an option. It is a necessity that your body craves just like it does food, sleep and sex.