Odds are if you’re reading this you’ve committed to a new fitness routine in 2017 – way to go! January is a great time to make a fresh start, no matter where you are in your fitness journey. Many people decide to do a different workout program, eat cleaner, follow a better nutrition plan or perhaps you’re giving this healthy living a try for the first time. No matter how long you’ve been working out we all find ourselves on some days having to muster up the motivation to get out of bed, off the couch, out of our warm cozy homes and get into the gym. I’ve been there before and I’ve been working out for what seems my entire life, but I’ve committed to strength training as my main form of fitness for the last six years. I too still have days and weeks where I just lose motivation and have to dig down deep to force myself to go train. I wanted to share a few of my tips for how to stay motivated after the new year.
Did you know that it takes 21 days to make a habit so right about now if you’ve been working out since January 1st you should be well on your way. By the third week into a new routine you should be feeling great and on a roll – but sometimes we slip up and that’s okay because that means you’re human! My first piece of advice to stay motivation is not to set goals that are not achievable. Don’t start working out and say you will do it seven days a week if you know you can’t commit to that every single week. We all need at least two rest days to recover and give our muscles a chance to rebuild, repair and recover. If you tell yourself you will work out seven days a week and miss a day or two, mentally you will think you failed. It would be better to say “I commit to at least getting in a workout four days a week” and if you make it in for six well then that’s fantastic! It’s better to set realistic goals so that you can stick to them and feel accomplished at the end of each week.
Some people like to work out solo and some people need a buddy to keep them accountable. Whatever works for you is what you should stick with and do. Me personally I like to work out alone and I enjoy putting on my headphones, listening to a great playlist of music and then zoning out. That’s what works best for me, therefore I wouldn’t plan to go workout with a friend because I know I wouldn’t get the best workout and I will likely not stick to my workout routine. If you need a friend to workout with to stay motivated, make sure that friend is committed and can assure you they will do the same amount of days each week. If your friend starts to bail on you it will start to make you skip days and lose motivation. Find what works best for you to stay committed.
This might seem silly, but I can’t tell you how much this has helped me over the years to stay motivated to get off my butt in the early morning and go to the gym; lay out your workout clothes the night before. Remember when your mom used to do this for you the night before the first day of school? That’s what I do and I’m in my 30s, lol. I like to make this part of my night time routine: take a shower, wash my face, lay out my gym clothes. Check, check, check. By putting my entire workout attire out on a dresser I not only have one less thing to worry about in the morning (have you ever tried to find a sports bra in the dark while your boyfriend or husband is sleeping, it’s not easy), but it also is a visually reminder before you go to bed that when you wake up you’re going to go work out, kick butt and take names. Plus if you’re a girly girl like me you like to match your gym clothes and it’s fun putting it all together from your sneakers to tights to baseball hat.
Even if you never post them or show them to anyone, take photos of yourself at the beginning of each week. Sometimes we don’t want to take images when we don’t feel our best, but you’ll be thankful you did later so you can look back at all the small strides you are making each week. I used to take images that I never shared and put them in a “fitness” folder on my iPhone and years later I’m so proud of how far I came. When you look in the mirror day in and day out at yourself you never see the true progress. It’s not until you look back months later and how your body has changed that you will say “damn, I’m proud of me!” That is one way I have always stayed motivated – knowing that every single workout was getting me closer to my goal. There’s a great saying I heard long ago, don’t know the author, but it went something like this, “You’ll never see the big picture if you’re still a part of the painting.” Write that down somewhere, it’s a goodie! Sometimes we need to step back and take a good look at ourselves and not nit pick everything.
My last piece of advice to stay motivated is join a gym where you feel comfortable. Work out where you never feel out of place, where you feel good when you walk in and the people there are motivating and encouraging. I have been a member of many gyms and some I just hated working out in; I didn’t feel like the people were as nice or it was too over crowded or people just were too busy watching everyone and making comments or interrupting. The gym I go to now has a lot of the same “crew” every morning and I feel like they are family. The ladies are so encouraging to one another and it’s a very no frills kind of place. I never felt like I didn’t belong and I always felt good working out in there. Some gyms have different crowds and I really find that when you feel good in your gym it keeps you motivated and excited to get back there every day. It’s nice when you walk in and know all the “regulars” and give a wave and smile.
Overall it isn’t easy sticking to a workout program. It takes time, dedication, sacrifice but in the end it’s helping you live a better, healthier more fulfilling life. Surround yourself with friends who will be there to support you, and even if your friends in real life don’t find people like the Crush Fit community who do. There’s no better motivation than seeing others on their journey too and feeling like your goals are reachable.
Now get out there and go lift things.