I often find myself lacking the motivation to hit the gym. Especially this time of the year when the days are shorter and colder. I’ve used the excuses I’m to tired, that I’m to busy, or I just simply don’t feel like going. Not long ago, if I didn’t feel like working out--I’d skip the gym session all together. I started getting in the habit of doing this and about a month ago I came to the realization that I needed to stop saying, “I’ll go tomorrow.” Fitness isn’t just about looking good, it’s also about being healthy.
I started thinking about the different approaches that I could take to actually feel motivated to workout. I began by researching different fitness motivation tips to figure out which would work best for me. I even became inspired to create some of my own. I found these tips to be most effective at getting me pumped up and ready for a kick-ass gym session.
Here are my fitness motivation tips. I've also added in some awesome workout ideas and strategies. Hopefully these will inspire you to get yourself into the gym and ensure a good workout!
- Before -
Gym Shop Around Before Making a Commitment
I’ll take a few things into consideration when I’m thinking of joining a gym like, prices, hours, locker room cleanliness, quality/variety of their fitness equipment, how helpful their staff is, and how crowded the gym is, especially at the times when I will be working out. Most gyms offer free passes where you can workout for a day, or even up to a week before you sign up.
Think About What You’re Trying to Achieve
A few years ago I was trying to lose weight but I had gotten sick of the treadmill, so I cut back on cardio and thought that with strength training I would burn enough calories to notice a difference. It doesn’t work like that. If you’re trying to lose weight make sure you get enough cardio, which is based on your daily physical activity level. If you’re happy with your weight and you’re just trying to tone up and build more muscle, focus more on strength training and do light cardio.
Eat Light Before a Workout
For me I can’t eat a big meal before a good gym session. If I do, I feel tired and feel like I’m lifting a thousand pounds. However, I do need to eat something light before I go. Here are some of my favorite healthy options that boost my energy levels:
Sundays Are For Planning
On Sunday evenings I like to plan for the week ahead. I’ll check my calendar and see what days and what times will be best to schedule in my workouts. I’ll then block off that period of time as if it were a meeting or an appointment. Planning ahead of time makes it easier for me to keep my commitment to the gym.
Work Around Your Schedule
I used to come home from work dead tired around 5pm. It didn’t help that I would walk home in the hot summer sun. I knew that I needed to get into the gym but how would I overcome my tiredness? Once I was at home, I’d eat something light, take a 30 minute power nap, and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go. The trick is finding what time of day (or night) works best for you, and incorporating that into your schedule.
Buy New Workout Gear
When I was little I loved going to school when I had something new to wear. The same goes for hitting the gym. Having a new outfit uplifts my mood and gets me motivated.
Youtube and Instagram
I get bored doing the same workout routines after a while, so I’ll search Youtube and Instagram for video tutorials of inspiring female trainers. I’ve organized folders to revert back to; one for arms and back, one for legs and butt, and one for abs. Here are some of my favorite trainers:
Get Inspired by Social Media
This goes back to Instagram. I follow a few fitness bloggers and when I see photos of them working out, it motivates me to put down the chips and put on my Nike’s. Be careful not to compare yourself to them (they do this for a living). Instead, use their photos as motivation to get you into the gym mode. Here are my favorite fitness bloggers:
- During -
Just Get In There
When I workout (three to four times a week), I like to spend anywhere from an hour to two hours in the gym. I’ll do forty five minutes to an hour of cardio, followed by strength training whichever muscle group I’m working on that day. I used to think if I was really tired that it wasn’t worth going in. Now I look at it like even if I can put in a half an hour--that’s better than nothing.
There’s nothing worse than being in the gym dying of thirst. I try to drink water before, during, and after my workout. Obviously gyms have water fountains, but it's just easier (and more hygenic) to bring my own water bottle.
Workout at Home
Recently I’ve incorporated resistance bands into my workout; especially on leg day. They also come in handy if I’m not able to make it into the gym. They’re easy to use and take up no space, making them the perfect at home (or traveling) gym accessory. Here’s a video of how to use them to get their maximum benefits.
AM vs PM
Some people love getting their workout done first thing in the morning--not me. I prefer working out in the evening when there’s less people in the gym, but everyone is different. Go at a time when you’re most awake and alert.
Rotate Muscle Groups
It’s a good idea to target muscle groups because if you work them all out in one gym session, you’re going to be very sore the following day. I like to alternate. I’ll start working out my legs and butt, then I’ll workout my arms and back, followed by my abs. I’ll never workout the same muscle groups two days in a row since my body needs time to recover.
Switch Up Your Routine
I like to switch up my gym routine time by time by going for a run or a hike in the canyons, and taking fitness classes. There are so many different ways to burn calories especially in Los Angeles, the capital of fitness. Some classes to try are SoulCycle, PureBarre, Barry’s Bootcamp, LIT Method, AIR Aerial Fitness, and CrossFit. Then, of course there’s boxing, kickboxing, pilates, beach yoga, and surfing lessons. Websites like ClassPass offer a variety of different classes you can take all over the US. I love this concept because it lets you try multiple classes per month (depending on your membership), so that you’re not committed to one studio or gym.
Don’t Be Intimidated
When I first started working out, I think back to how I was intimidated by all the equipment and how I had no idea what I was doing. When you’re in the gym, ask for help! That’s what trainers are there for. Start out small (five to ten pounds) and work your way up. Ask if your form is correct because you don’t want to pull a muscle. You can also head to the gym with an experienced friend to help you out.
I find that when I listen to upbeat tunes my workouts are better than when I’m listening to what's playing on the gym TV. My go to workout genres are EDM, hip hop, and classic rock. You can create your own Spotify playlist or you can follow mine which has a variety of kick-ass beats that will keep you energized throughout your workout.
- After -
After I’ve set some goals that I’ve accomplished, I like to give myself small rewards. I try to keep mine gym inspired like a new pair of kicks, or a new workout outfit.
Take Rest Days
I workout every other day so I take a rest day in between my workouts. If my muscles are sore and it’s a day that I should be working out, I’ll do something light like go for a hike, or go for a swim. It’s crucial to remember that just as important as getting physical activity is, getting rest in between matters too since your muscles and body need time to recover.
When I eat a well balanced diet of protein, fruits, and veggies, I’m more inclined to be in a “fitness mindset,” which makes me feel overall healthy and motivates me to workout. In the past year I’ve become a vegetarian so I have to find way to incorporate protein into my diet which as been challenging since I’m already a picky eater. I find myself reaching for my go-to cookbook called Thug Kitchen, which has recipes for amazing vegan meals. I also spend a lot of time at Whole Foods because they carry a lot of tasty options. I make it important to not deprive myself when I’m craving mac & cheese, pizza, or chocolate. It’s all about moderation. When I don’t feel like cooking I head to one of my favorite vegan or vegetarian restaurants:
One of the most important things I try to remember is how I feel after a good gym session. Full of energy, and the endorphin rush is an amazing high that totally lifts up my mood. When this occurs I know that I’ve succeeded in obtaining my workout goal for the day.
Have any fitness motivation tips? Share with our readers!