Do you have a love/hate relationship with working out? Some mornings you wake up pumped to throw on gym clothes and HIIT your favorite circuit training sesh (pun totally intended) and others you just want to crawl back in bed and slap the snooze button for the 10th time. If this sounds like you then maybe your feelings around exercise have less to do with your motivation levels and more to do with your approach! Let's be honest, you'll never be truly motivated to do something you don't enjoy so why not focus instead on the things you do? Here are my 8 tips for how to love your workout, not loath it!
1. Stop Suffering Through Workouts You Dread! If you wake up with butterflies in your stomach just thinking about the bootcamp you signed yourself up for, chances are you're going to have a real tough time going back on a consistent basis. And when you're not consistent with a routine, neither are your results. Plus, when your workout stresses you out, your cortisol (stress hormone) levels shoot up making it much harder for your to burn fat and stay energized throughout the rest of your day. Catch 22? I'm afraid so!
2. Be a Trend-Setter Not a Follower! Just because Dr. Axe, celebrity nutritionists and your fit friends all tell you that burst training is the primo way to burn fat fast doesn't mean it's right for you. Yes, there are obvious benefits to high intensity interval training but if you find that you can't stand any of the workouts, you leave feeling defeated and you have knots in the pit of your stomach the day BEFORE the workout, you probably want to try something new. I will tell you that within 30 seconds of taking my first Barre class, it was SO not for me. I don't like holding poses for minutes that feel like hours, I'm not a big fan of grippy socks and I really have no desire to get back in touch with my elementary school ballet moves. But that is MY experience and should have no weight on your own. On the other hand, I absolutely LOVE workouts like Basecamp that combine strength training with short bursts of cardio and loud hip hop music. Not only is the workout short and sweet but the instructors are bubbling over with positive energy and the level at which you choose to push yourself is completely up to you! Bottom line: you and only you get to decide which workout is best for your body!
3. Shop Around! Apps like ClassPass.com make it easy and affordable to try out a whole variety of boutique gyms, classes and instructors to see which ones may be the right fit. Some studios offer an introductory rate for a month to get you in which is also a fab way to try out a certain style of exercise without making too big of a financial commitment. I've tried dozens of different classes which is the only way I've figured out my groove and been able to stick to a routine that I actually look forward to. Also, remember that it's not just the style of class (yoga, pilates, boxing etc) but it's all aspects that make you want to come back (the teacher, the music, the class size and the overall feel of the gym). I'll be honest, I've had instructors who are so intense and in your face that it makes me dread the workout but I've also had instructors that are so magnetic that I can't wait to see them every week. That being said, you may want to try a few different classes of the same style of workout before you decide if it's right for you. I still have weeks where I feel unmotivated and lazy so when that happens I try to remind myself it's time to switch things up and try something that gets me excited again!
4. Listen to Your Body. Sometimes your hand keeps hitting the snooze button because you need extra zzz's more than you actually needs an exhausting workout. If you had a shitty night's sleep, a long week or just feel generally run down, LISTEN to your body. First of all, if you're struggling to keep your eyes open during your pilates class chances are you're not fully present which means you're not reaping the full benefits of the class. And, second, when you don't get a good night's sleep, your hunger hormones and blood sugar levels get thrown way out of whack making it near impossible to make it through the day without craving sugar and carbs and crashing midday! Remember, sleep is one of the most important forms of self-care.
5. Switch up Your Workout Times. Have you ever said "I'm not morning person" so you force yourself to workout at night even though you're starving and tired? My challenge to you is to try waking up one hour earlier than you normally do and get your exercise in then. Make sure to eat a hearty breakfast of protein, fat and fiber afterwards and see how you feel. Often times, I find that when people get used to waking up earlier, they thoroughly enjoy getting the workout in first thing and then having an extra hour or so at night to spend with family, the hubs/wifey or just relaxing. Plus, if you wake up earlier you'll probably be ready for bed earlier too which could in turn help you get in a better night's sleep!
6. Get Accountable! Without accountability consistency can be pretty tough so I highly suggest seeking out a friend, a coach (like myself!) or an app like Class Pass to keep you committed! When you make a commitment to someone other than yourself (especially if they'll be checking in with you), you are WAY less likely to flake or cancel. And on top of it, working with someone else can make exercising a lot more fun!
7. Be Creative. You workouts DO NOT need to be inside. If you can't stand the florescent lights of the gym or you don't always feel like being in a class setting, there are so many other ways to move your body and get it in (plus Vitamin D does the body good!). Here are a few suggestions: walks in nature, hikes with a rewarding view, bike rides, stair climbing somewhere outdoors, swimming, contact sports, surfing! Just the other day I was attempting to go to a new workout class I signed up for and couldn't find the building anywhere so I ended up missing it. Instead of getting in "a mood" I decided to drive down to the beach and go for a walk instead. I did a brisk walk for 30 minutes followed by 5 sets of 50 crunches and 50 jumping jacks facing the beautiful ocean views. Not only did it feel amazing to be breathing in the fresh air and listening to the sounds of the seagulls, but the quiet of the morning was so peaceful and meditative. I went into my day much more centered and even discovered a new routine to add into my exercise regime!
8. Focus on What Your Body Can Do Not How Many Calories You'll Burn! When you go to the gym or take a workout class with the intention of punishing yourself for all the wine you drank over the weekend or the 4th meal that went down afterwards, you take away any form of enjoyment and replace it with guilt and shame. I hate to say it but one or two workouts after a crazy weekend will not make a huge difference but consistent workouts and nourishing foods will! If you can train your brain to focus on what your body can do physically instead of how many calories you'll burn, you will find that you have a much more positive goal and outlook than the latter. Experiment by going into your workout with goals like increasing the weight on your dumbbell curls every month, running a couple miles faster in your circuit class, touching your toes in yoga and learning how to do a pull-up without assistance! Like John Mayer once said, "you're body is a wonderland!"
Did you find these tips helpful? Visit me on Instagram and share some of your favorite ways to workout and the tips and tricks you find helpful for "getting it in!" Happy Fitness Friday everyone!