Good morning! Happy Hump Day! I don’t have a workout for you today, but I do have a topic that I think is a fun thing to talk about: getting back into consistent workouts after a brief hiatus.
I was recently asked a question on Instagram that I thought would make a good topic for discussion on the blog. The question was:
“Have you ever gone a period of time without exercising and needed to get back into it? If so, what did you do to motivate yourself to get back to where you were?”
What a great question, right? I’m sure if this person is going through this, she’s not alone. In fact, I’m sure many of us can relate to this question in one way or another. While I can’t say I do this often, unless it is health related like a stomach flu, pneumonia, sinus infection, injury, etc. (being a fitness instructor teaching 3-5 classes a week makes it hard to go on a hiatus!), I can see how easily it is to choose after work drinks with coworkers over a workout on day, and then shopping after work the next day, and then “you just don’t feel like it” feelings the next day… and so on and so forth. You get the pattern. Pretty soon you look at your gym bag and sneakers in the corner of your room or backseat of your car and realize you haven’t used them in a week… or two weeks. Crazy how time flies like that, right?!
It happens. For one reason or another, if you don’t make the gym a priority in your day and schedule that time in, it happens. It’s all too easy to say “what’s one more day?” and end up skipping your workout. Trust me- I’ve had days where I’ve felt like skipping, but before I skip, I ask myself these questions:
1. Why don’t I want to go to the gym? Too tired? Too much going on/no time? Too sore? Not feeling well? Friends are getting together after work? Sheer laziness? Pending on what’s causing those feelings for me will determine whether or not I listen to my body and skip the gym or coax myself into going.
2. If I skip today, what do the next few days look like? Will I have time for workouts those days? If I’ve already planned a rest day because of a long day of travel or other commitments, I’ll usually suck it up and workout.
3. What will I be doing instead? If I have a long laundry list of things to do (say I just got home from a trip the day before and then worked all day), I think that’s a very valid excuse to skip the gym. During that time I can clean, do laundry, grocery shop, meal prep, etc.- all things I categorize as ‘active rest’. Now, some days you just want to go home and veg out in front of the TV and you know what? That’s ok, too! It’s all about balance, so if you find yourself doing that fairly often, it’s probably time to talk to a motivating friend and get your butt to the gym!
But, if you still find yourself skipping the gym regularly even after asking yourself those questions, here are 5 tips to get yourself motivated to get back into the groove of working out on a regular schedule:
1. Put it in your calendar- things on the calendar usually mean that they are something you’re looking forward to, right? And something you’re not likely to skip, right? Well, do this for yourself and put your workout on your calendar. If it’s a scheduled part of your day, you’re likely going to think about it, get excited about it and ultimately, not skip it.
2. Workout with a friend- If you know you have a friend counting on you to join them for a workout, whether it be a Zumba class, bike ride, jog or something else, you’re less likely to bail on the workout. You wouldn’t want to ditch your friend, right? And, look at it this way- you’re killing 2 birds with 1 stone: working out AND catching up!
3. Try something new- Whenever I’m about to go to a new class or try a new workout, I’m always way more motivated and excited. Even though a lot of the “boutique” studios in Boston can be quite pricey, most of them offer a “free first class”, so you can take advantage of that and jump around to all the places that offer that. Also, ClassPass is a great way to get motivated for your workouts- there are so many different places and classes to try that I found myself doubling up on workouts because I was so excited!
4. Plan out your workout in advance- If I’m not motivated for the gym and get there without a plan of attack, my motivation slips even more. You’re also more likely to waste time at the gym if you go there and wander around figuring out what to do next. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got way better things to do with my time than wander around a gym, wasting time. Another thing I like to do is check out fitness blogs for inspiration, motivation and new workout ideas (some of my favorites are here). When I read those blogs and see what they are doing and where they’re working out, I’m motivated to get out there and try some of those things myself! A friend of mine tells me all the time how she prints out my workouts to take to the gym with her on days I don’t teach- this is a great way to have a plan for your workout that day.
5. Treat yourself to some new gym clothes- It’s no shocker that I am a Lululemon addict, right? But if paying the hefty price that Lulu charges is not your thing, head over to a Tj Maxx, Marshalls or Old Navy where you’ll be able to find some super cute and super affordable new clothes. I promise, you’ll be way more motivated to get to the gym!
And, when all else fails, just give yourself some time. If you’re really not feeling the gym and can’t shake that feeling, maybe your body is telling you something. Maybe you should check out some other forms of exercise than the ones you’ve always done. There’s no right or wrong way to exercise (unless, of course, you’re doing something dangerous or incorrectly and therefore hurting yourself), so as long as you’re getting out there and being active when and where you can, the intense stuff (if you want it) will come along again. Our bodies are a lot smarter than we think and muscle memory is a wonderful thing. Although getting back into it may not be easy and likely won’t be comfortable, your body will remember what it was capable of doing before your workout hiatus and you will get back to that point- and likely even stronger and further- if you keep at it. Every bit counts and every workout is a step in the right direction. Just. Keep. Moving!
I hope that helps! As I was writing it I was actually becoming more and more motivated to workout- funny thing about that!
Questions for you: Have you ever gone on a workout hiatus? How do you motivate yourself to get to the gym or to do a workout? Do you like working out with friends?