Working out is hard. It’s also incredibly rewarding and thrilling and fun. The benefits far outweigh the negatives, but that doesn’t mean that it will always be easy. You will inevitably have days when you’re just not feeling it. Sometimes those days stretch out to weeks and that’s when you need to find the motivation to keep going. Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. Here are some of our favorite ways to get yourself up and moving when you really just want to sit on the couch.
Set attainable goals.
Sure, having a six-pack is a great goal, but it shouldn’t necessarily be your first or even seventh goal when building your workout routine. I’m not saying that rock-hard ads aren’t an attainable goal, but make sure you’re celebrating all of the smaller goals that you hit along the way. How about the first time you did a pull-up unassisted or lost 5 percent body fat? Or if you’re joining a sport, why not feel proud of the first goal you scored, the first 500 you swam or the fun run that you finished? It’ll make the long, hard road to abs that much easier to stay on.
Remember how your best workout felt.
Anyone who works out consistently has had those days were you’re just killing it! Everything seems a little easier and afterwards you’re walking around on a total endorphin high. Hold on to that feeling by writing it down, and then read it on days when you really need the motivation to get out there and move.
Why’d you start?
Sounds simple, but thinking about what made you want to get moving in the first place is a great way to stay motivated. Remember what it was like to be uncomfortable in your clothes, how out of breath you used to get walking up a flight of stairs or how difficult it was to run 10 minutes straight in the beginning. Maybe your list of whys isn’t that extreme, but thinking of what inspired you in the beginning helps you remember how far you’ve come and that all your hard work is paying off. Then let yourself imagine how far you’ll go if you keep going.
Sign up for classes.
It’s a lot easier to slack off when no one is looking. If you find yourself in a rut, try looking for a group class to help motivate and keep you accountable. It’s a great way to push yourself a little harder than you normally would.
Surround yourself with motivation.
Put it everywhere! Sticky notes declaring, “You got this!” on your bathroom mirror, quotes on the notes app in your phone, queue up some YouTube videos by motivational speakers on your laptop, set Eye of the Tiger as your ringtone. Make it so that everywhere you look you see something that encourages you to get moving.
Mix it up.
Bored with your usual run? Try a new route or run sprints instead. Sick of slap shots? Hit the gym for some weight training to strengthen your game. Can’t bring yourself to swim another lap? Go back to basics and do some drills that’ll help perfect your form. Sometimes it’s good to break up the monotony and move your body in a new way. You’ll be stronger for it when you get back into your regular routine.
Make it a friend meet up.
Playing sports, training for a race, even being a dedicated gym rat can take up a lot of time. When you feel like you’re missing out on time with friends, try to recruit them for a hike or run. Maybe have them join you at practice and then treat the group to a coffee. It’ll keep you connected to people you love and keep you on track with your workouts.
Use social media to boost your fitness game.
We all know that one guy who over-posts his weight routine and talks about his workouts way too much, but if used appropriately, social media can help keep you accountable and motivated. Let your Facebook friends know your plan to attend that 5 AM spin class and let them roast you if you flake. Put your game or race results on Instagram and reread the congratulatory comments when you need a little push. Most athletes and fitness experts have accounts that you can follow for tips or inspiration, too. Instead of mindlessly scrolling though memes all day, let Logan Couture, The Rock and Serena Williams show you what hard work and dedication can do for you.
Be kind to yourself!
Some days you just need a break, and that’s okay! Don’t beat yourself up for needing to rest. You can only work your body so hard for so long before it malfunctions. So go get a massage, soak in an Epson salt bath, or if you must move then go for a walk or do some light stretching. When your body is rested you’ll be able to work much more efficiently.