When was the last time you did a pushup? If it takes you more than 10 seconds to remember, then the answer is probably high school PE class or the last time you lost a bet. This needs to change and fast!
By now, you probably know you should be exercising if you want to live a healthy life, but sitting on the couch browsing through the latest releases from your favorite binge-watching platform is far more comfortable, right?
Working out is hard but not impossible. What’s harder is keeping up your dedication and continuing to stay motivated even on those days you barely want to get out of bed. And, before you get there, how do you push yourself to start working out if you haven’t been doing so in years?
One way to start motivating yourself is to start seeing the bigger picture. Physical activity is not only good for your body, but for your mind as well. When you exercise, your brain releases hormones called endorphins, which are responsible for the “feel good” vibe you get after a good workout.
With that being said, here’s a little plan to keep you motivated in your workout routine.
Invest in quality workout gear
I know this is not exactly part of the routine, but getting some nice workout clothes and accessories can help give you the boost you need to start working out.
When it comes to shopping for workout clothes, try to stay away from brands that are not specialized in designing sportswear, as their workout line is usually more designed for fashion than actual sports. Instead, look for online websites that have sportswear as their main products. Don’t be afraid you are going to but a hole in your pocket, as many websites offer discounts or have various promotions going on. For example, you can easily find some Finish Line coupons and promo codes that will give you at least 10% off of your purchase.
Invest in two or three full outfits, so that you can change them around depending on the weather, your laundry routine and other circumstances.
Don’t push yourself too much from the start
Especially if you haven’t been working out in a long time, trying to do everything from the start will overwhelm you both mentally and physically. Take things slowly and give yourself time to adjust to your new habits.
A rigorous routine on the first day you start working out will feel too much to deal with, and that’s normal. Keep in mind that, even if you are in good shape, you may not be as physically fit as you think, and that perfectly OK.
Start with 10-20 minutes of exercise a day and, as you start getting accustomed to it and gaining more strength, you can lengthen your routine. Keep it simple and treat the first few weeks as a continuous warmup. Low-intensity workouts will help your body get used to the activity, frequency and duration of your new routine.
Set a goal that keeps you motivated
What are you trying to achieve by working out? Do you just want to become a more active person, or are you looking to lose some extra pounds? Just like anything else in life, when you have a goal, it is much easier to quit procrastinating and start doing something to achieve that goal.
If you have been planning to start working out to lose those few extra pounds, but failed to keep up, maybe a shift in approach will help. Instead of deciding what you want to achieve, think of how this achievement will help improve your life. Do you want to be able to keep up with your kids as you get older? Are you planning a backpacking trip to a remote location and you need to be in shape for that? Find your inspiration, and your motivation will follow.
Monitor your progress
Besides your main goal, it helps to also set up small goals that can be tackled one at a time. This way, you can monitor your progress much easier and find out how much you have accomplished. Determine a small goal for each week and try to make it happen.
Setting up and, most importantly, achieving these small goals will help you maintain your focus and motivation. As you start accomplishing things that seemed hard to do at first, the rewards will start coming, and you will soon start to be very proud of your journey.
Keep track of your progress from the very moment you start working out, to see how much you are improving day by day. If you can’t do it yourself, there are plenty of fitness apps you can try. Do a bit of research, and you will surely find something to fir your routine.
Plan for potential setbacks
Sometimes, life just happens, and it prevents us from keeping up with our plans. If you don’t feel well one day or have to skip a workout, it does not mean you need to stop your progress. Everyone experiences setbacks from time to time, and for some, it may happen sooner than they expect.
Remember that your goal is not to do everything perfectly, but to practice and get better in time. Don’t give up just because you had a strong headache and were not able to work out for two days. Just like you wouldn’t quit your job because you faced a challenging day.
Here’s what you can do when things don’t go as planned:
- No energy to do your workout this morning? Don’t push yourself if you don’t feel like it. Just focus on eating well and staying hydrated and try again in the evening. Do a light workout to relax and call it a day.
- Lost motivation? Ditch workout for the day, do some things that make you feel good and remind yourself why you are doing all of this. Keep your main goal in mind, and motivation will start coming.
Skipped a few days of workout? No one likes to be sloppy, but all that’s left to do is learn something from this. Don’t punish yourself too much and pick up right where you left off.