“How can I get motivated to workout?”

Over the past couple of months, I’ve had a handful of people come up to me and say that they’ve been lacking the motivation to workout. They say they see me post workouts that seem doable, they say they definitely can find the time to take 10-20 minutes to do something, they say they WANT to move more, but, for some reason, they just don’t do it.

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Does this sound familiar? I get it – I think we can all say we’ve been there a time or two (or more!), but the key here, is how to figure out when to push through and find something to motivate you to get back into it vs. when it’s time to listen to your body and honor it’s desire to rest a bit more than usual.

When I’m lacking motivation to workout, it’s usually a result of something else that’s going on in my life:

  • stressful times at work & long hours
  • teaching lots of classes
  • season changes
  • being sick
  • being busy & having little to no “down time”
  • general life stresses
  • grinding hard in my workouts for an extended period of time

Any of these, or a combination of them, can cause me to have less motivation to workout, or less motivation to workout at my normal intensity. I think for me, the biggest culprit is when I’m teaching a lot of classes. That, combined with a full time job leaves little time to workout on my own, and I’m generally pretty worn out so I just don’t have it in me to do an intense workout.

That said, when I’m faced with any of these things, I listen to my body and take it down a notch- that may means going for a walk instead of something intense, doing a bodyweight workout instead of lifting weights, doing just a 10 minute workout to help get the blood flowing and give me some energy to get through the day, etc.

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On the flip side, we may find ourselves lacking motivation, but not for any specific reasons that I may have listed above. We may have just fallen out of our groove because of too many days of skipping workouts in favor of getting drinks, going out to dinner, or working late. It happens! The key here, though, is figuring out how to get back into it, which is what I hope this post will help you do!

Here are some things that help motivate me to workout when I’m not feeling it – hopefully they will help you, too!

  1. Start small – pick a small goal that you know you can do. Maybe it’s just 5 minutes of stretching, a 10 minute walk, or even just some squats and jumping jacks. Whatever it is, is better than nothing, right? And sometimes just that little bit of movement triggers the memory of how good it feels to move and workout. Remember that post I wrote a while back called “just do something”Action -> Inspiration -> Motivation. The simple act of doing SOMETHING generally leads to motivation to keep going. It’s as simple as that.
  2. Buy a new workout top – Whenever I buy something new to workout in (shoes, top, pants, sports bra, etc.), I’m instantly motivated to workout because I want to wear whatever it is what I bought! It doesn’t have to be expensive, either – you can find great, affordable things at Old Navy, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, etc.
  3. Download new music – This is another great way for me to get motivated! I love finding new music to workout to. You can follow me on Spotify (mgagnon85) if you want to see what I’m using in my classes these days!
  4. Make a workout date – Having the accountability from a workout buddy is usually enough to make it so that you don’t skip your workout. Plus, working out with a friend is more fun. My sister and I try to do weekly gym dates where we will find a class that we both want to go to and then go to it together. Sometimes we will get drinks after!
  5. Find a new studio/gym/class to go to – Sometimes we lack motivation to workout simply because we are bored with our workouts. This is a huge culprit for why I lack motivation sometimes! Whenever I try out a new class, gym or workout, I instantly feel more excited about working out! This is another reason why I try to get to other instructors’ classes – I’m often reminded of exercises I like, but have forgotten about, I learn new combos, new formats, etc.

I could go on and on, but these are probably my top 5. At the end of the day, even if these things don’t help you feel motivated to workout, it’s ok! There’s no need to beat yourself up over it. Start small, do something (doesn’t have to be anything big or formal), and honor your body. The motivation will come back – I promise!

Questions for you: Did I miss any of your “go to” ways to get motivated to workout? Do you tend to be more or less motivated to workout when you have life stressors? 

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I Sometimes Create My Own Stressful Situations

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Over the weekend, I created a very busy day for myself on Saturday. I didn’t need to, but I have a tendency to over-book, over-commit and over schedule myself (WHY?!). Granted, if everything worked out time-wise how it should (or how it does in my mind), it would be a different story, but we all know that is generally not the case. Something is delayed, something takes longer than we anticipate and something doesn’t go as smoothly as we planned, which in turn means it takes longer to complete.

Here’s the way I thought my day was going to go:

  • get up, eat breakfast, make workout & get new playlist
  • Leave the house at 9:30 to bike to the Y
  • Teach 10-11 then do a quickie workout on my own
  • Leave the gym at 11:15
  • Shower quickly and head to a hair appointment at 12:30
  • 12:30-1:15 – hair cut
  • After hair, go to the grocery store to pick up other things we needed for the night
  • While this was all going on, Roberto would be getting ground pork in the North End
  • 3:15-3:30 leave for Jessi and Chuck’s

I mean, just looking at that written out now makes it so clear that I was setting myself up for a stressful day by jamming my schedule so full of different things. If ONE thing got delayed or took longer, it would literally throw off the rest of the day, so when multiple things don’t go as planned (as was the case for me on Saturday), I was left feeling anxious and like I was running out of time to get things done. It was not a relaxing day, even though it was filled with lots of my favorite things.

As we drove to Jessi and Chuck’s house (which was the thing I was most excited about!), 30 minutes late, mind you, RM asked what was wrong. We were stuck in traffic and I hate being late and when I told him these things and how anxious they were making me feel, he quite bluntly said, “Monique, you do realize that you created a busy day when you didn’t have to, right?”. Touché, RM, touché.

And, while I didn’t necessarily like being called out on this ( 😉 ), the guy did have a point. I could’ve spared myself a whole lot of stress, rushing around, and anxiety if I had just not filled my schedule so much. Committed to one less thing. Given myself time to enjoy fewer things rather than rush through them. RESTED and relaxed, maybe!

While I’ve gotten better at this since meeting RM (he, unlike me, much prefers not having plans and just going with the flow in terms of what he’s feeling on any particular day, especially the weekends), I still have the occasional self-imposed busy/stressful day like I did last weekend. Or even just the need to fill up “free” time with things I always wish I could do if I had more free time. However, I am really working on doing less of this, because at the end of the day it robs me of the enjoyment of each activity – and there’s no fun in that!

I’d love to hear from you – if you tend to be like me in terms of filling up your schedule, how do you force yourself to slow down? To not overbook or over commit? To “go with the flow” rather than have everything planned out?

And, if you’re not like me, but rather more like RM in that you prefer to not have plans scheduled out, what’s a tip you have for people to be like that? 

For me, before I over-book myself thinking that I’m a super woman who can handle it all, I’m going to think about what I REALLY want to do and what can wait. For the thing (or things if they’re spread out) I really want to do – that will be my focus and if nothing else happens that day then it’s no big deal. Bonus- if I get other things done based on time, that’s just things I don’t have to do another day!

Hub on Wheels Citywide Bike Ride

If you follow me on Social Media, then you know RM and I got bikes last year and have really enjoyed our bike rides all over Newton, Watertown, Waltham, Cambridge and Boston. That said, when I was contacted to see if I wanted to be part of the press team in the Hub on Wheels citywide bike ride to support pediatric cancer research at Boston Children’s Hospital, we were both all for it.

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Going into the event, neither one of us really knew what to expect, but I’ll tell you this – I was not expecting the event to be of the magnitude it was! There were over six thousand riders, either doing 10 (but really 12) miles or 40 miles in and around Boston – I couldn’t believe it! Due to the types of bikes we have, we opted for the shorter ride, but some day I would like to have a bike that would allow me to do longer rides more comfortably.

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Shortly after 8am, we were off and riding. The weather was pretty gloomy & cool, but it made for good riding weather. One of the coolest parts about the experience was getting to ride down a car-free Storrow Drive… something I’ve never experienced! We rode down towards Brighton and then turned around at the Harvard field. We got off at Fenway and rode down a car-free Comm. Ave, around the Commons and ended back at City Hall Plaza. It was a great route and I loved being up and about in Boston while most people were still sleeping. A quiet Boston is a nice change!

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There were lots of my favorite vendors set up in City Hall Plaza, including Purity Organics, Hint water, Food Should Taste Good, Larabar and more!

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After the ride, we got breakfast at Metropolis Cafe in the South End and we both talked about how happy we were that we were able to participate in such a cool event that was raising money for such a wonderful cause. I hope to be invited to ride again next year!

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Questions for you: Do you enjoy bike riding or would you rather do a run instead? Have you ever rode in this fundraiser?

Thoughts On Food Judgement

“Oh, wow. I didn’t think you would eat pizza!”

“You’re not going to sub out the french fries for a salad?”

“Of course you go for the salad first….”

“Wow. I didn’t think you would eat that!”

“You won’t like this – it’s definitely not healthy.”

“I bet you’ll work that off later today!”

….

Get my point? Can anyone else relate? I just want to put this out there: just because my side hustle is all about health and fitness doesn’t mean that it’s all there is to my life. I do not eat a strict salad with grilled chicken diet (although I do love a good salad with grilled chicken on it). I do not avoid fats, carbs, sugars, dairy, alcohol, etc. in their entirety. I do not let food define me, and I certainly do not “earn” my foods/drinks by doing extra in the gym.

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At this point in my life (and it wasn’t always this way), I feel as though I have a pretty healthy relationship with food. I eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full (most of the time 😉 ). I try to eat a lot of fruits, veggies, lean proteins, healthy fats and carbs. I try to eat in a way that fuels me properly for my long days, workouts and teaching schedule. I try to eat in a way that makes me feel GOOD, rather than drag me down.

But does that mean that I do not choose french fries over a side salad, that I’ll pass on a night of pizza or wings or that I won’t suggest going out for ice cream? HELL NO.

Why? Because those things make me happy and those things have a time and a place in my life, too. And I see no need to cut them out entirely, but that doesn’t mean that I should be judged when I eat them or that it should be the topic of conversation. Similarly, if I choose to eat the “healthier” food option on any given day, I also do not want to be judged for that.

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Food is just food, but when we put labels on it in terms of “good” and “bad” it gives it more power than necessary.

So, while I tend to eat a lot of yogurt, fruit, veggies, nuts, salads, chicken, etc., it doesn’t mean that that’s all I eat or that I feel badly if I go out for pizza or wings. If it’s something I truly enjoy eating, then it is worth it to me and there’s no need for any sort of food guilt after I eat it.

At the end of the day, how I eat is my business and how you eat is your business. We don’t need to spend our time judging how other people are choosing to eat on any particular day, in any particular setting.

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Rant, over. Thanks for listening 😉 But seriously, I’d love to know how you feel about this – do you feel as though you get judged for how you eat? Do you find yourself apologizing for what you choose to eat or feel as though you have to explain yourself? Do you sometimes choose your food options based on who is around?

Five on Friday {9.8.17}

Hey there! Happy Friday! I know it was a long weekend, meaning this was technically a short week, but does anyone else feel like it was a long one? Friday couldn’t come fast enough! I have some fun things to share with you today, so I hope you enjoy it!

  • Vegan Pesto – Roberto watched the documentary “What the health” and it has caused him to think about his diet and the amount of animal products he (we) consume. In an effort to try and reduce some of this (but definitely not eliminating entirely), he has made a few changes here and there. He found a recipe for Vegan Pesto and he made it the other night and it was incredible! We used Nutritional Yeast which actually did taste just like cheese, plus it has vitamins in it! We used some brown rice pasta and topped it with tomatoes and I added grilled chicken to mine. SO good!

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  • Booty By Brabants There was a sale on BBB last week and I finally took the plunge and bought myself a pair. It seems as though EVERYONE is wearing them, so I had to see what the rave was all about. The verdict? I love them! While they feel a little snug going on, they are actually incredibly comfortable. I’ve seen them be a bit see through on some people, and while I initially didn’t think that was a problem for me, last night they did look a little see through when I squatted. Luckily, it’s dark in the room so I hope no one noticed 😉 Next time I will have to try out the thicker version of the pants (the Croco’s, I think).

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  • Get Sh*t Done – Erol and I have been connected through social media for years now, so when I saw his latest endeavor (I Digress Podcast) and the awesome tanks he was selling to go along with it, I just had to buy one. Get Sh*t Done is basically my life motto, lol. If you’re interested, reach out to him via Instagram! It was $20 + $3 shipping.

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  • Planet Fitness 25 Year Anniversary Sale – Now that summer is nearly over, you may find yourself in the gym more often. If you cancelled your gym membership over the summer (I’ve talked to a bunch of people who did this), you might want to consider checking out Planet Fitness. As part of its 25th anniversary celebration, new members can join the Judgement Free Zone® for only 25 cents, then $10 a month, with no commitment. The offer kicks off in Massachusetts and New Hampshire on Sept. 5 and then nationally on Sept. 11, continuing through Sept. 13.
  • 2017 Hub on Wheels Citywide Bike Tour – On Sunday, September 17th, TD and the City of Boston will host the 2017 Hub on Wheels Citywide Bike Tour. This year’s ride will benefit pediatric cancer research at Boston Children’s Hospital. I’m so excited to be taking part in the event this year, and I wanted to share details with you in case you’re looking for a fun activity to do an great way to raise money to help fight kids cancer. The bike ride (10 or 40 miles, your choice!) will take you down a car-free Storrow Drive and all around Boston and its surrounding neighborhoods. What’s really cool about this event this year is that Hub on Wheels is proud to support Boston Children’s Hospital, with $5 of each $50 registration fee automatically going to support the efforts to find a cure for pediatric cancer. Riders may also consider becoming Hope Riders , fundraising before the big day with 100% of donations supporting kids cancer research at Boston Children’s Hospital. Check out any of the links above to get more information, or shoot me a comment. I would love to have some friends/familiar faces to ride with!

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That about does it for me! I  hope you all have a great Friday and a fantastic weekend. Hoping to pop in with a few good posts next week!

Questions for you: What was a highlight of your week? Did you get in any good workouts? Did you do anything different or fun? What’s on tap for the weekend?