“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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Just Do Something

As part of one of my book clubs, we read The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck, by Mark Manson. This book was incredible- a true must-read for everyone (seriously), and while I could talk about so many things, I want to first talk about one part/method that really aligned with my views regarding getting sh*t done. What he calls it is the “Do Something” principle.

In this section, Mark talks about how we have it all wrong when it comes to trying to get something done. Generally speaking, we operate in an Inspiration ->  Motivation -> Action circle, which basically means that we think in order to get things done, we first need to be inspired, which will in turn motivate us to take action.

But what about when you are having trouble getting inspired? What do you do then? Nothing, right?  It’s all too overwhelming and frustrating not being able to find inspiration to do whatever it is you need to do (work, design, workout, clean, homework, project, shopping, meal prepping, etc.).

However, the  “Do Something” principle is all about showing us that the aforementioned chain is not really the best way to go about accomplishing a task. Instead, he says that we need to DO something. Anything, really, just to get started. Once we get started, we will usually get some inspiration and then motivation to keep going and continue taking action, getting more inspired and more motivated. Make sense? In other words:

Action-> Inspiration -> Motivation

As soon as I read this, it all made so much sense, and it aligns so well with one of the messages I try to get out through my blog.  Take this list for instance (all things I talk about a lot on the blog):

  • Grocery Shopping
  • Meal Prepping
  • Working out
  • Responding to emails
  • Picking up the clutter in your house
  • Working on a big project

Am I right saying that when these are weighing on you, it’s hard to get motivation to do them. Maybe it’s too overwhelming to think about how much you have to do or how long it will take. Maybe it’s just dread because you simply don’t want to do them.

However, when you apply the “Do Something” principle to these tasks, it simply means that you just have to start. Just do something towards reaching your end goal, and that could look a little something like this:

  • Looking through your cabinents & refridgerator and making a grocery list
  • Making a meal plan for the week
  • Getting your workout clothes on, new playlist downloaded or finding a new workout to try
  • Opening your inbox and deleting all of the junk/spam/not important/no response required emails so as to knock your “unread” count down a bit
  • Creating a timeline or a “big picture” outline of what needs to go into the project

By breaking it down into small, mini-steps it does a few things: 1. It makes it seem easier and more doable and 2. Allows you to focus on what’s in front of you and what needs to get done first, rather than feeling overwhelmed by thinking about the item as a whole. The key thing here, though, is that if you just DO SOMETHING in relation to any of these things, you’re one step closer to accomplishing said task/project, and for me, that right there gives me motivation to keep going. I celebrate each small victory (making the grocery list, getting my workout clothes on and to the gym, etc.), which helps push me towards the end goal.

I just recently talked about how if I don’t want to meal prep, I tell myself to just cut up vegetables, or set a timer and see what I can get done in 30 minutes, and usually I end up going longer because the simple action of doing something motivated me to continue doing something. Same thing for the gym- if I don’t want to workout, I give myself a small goal: 10 minutes or just start by walking or just do one circuit. And again, 99% of the time once I get going, I’m motivated to keep going.

These are just a few examples, but I’m hoping that they shed a little light into ways to help you start working towards whatever it is that’s weighing on you or that’s something you dread by following the “Do Something” principle and just starting. Not worrying about finishing or the steps along the way, but just starting.

Questions for you: Have you read this book yet? What are your thoughts on it? How do you get yourself to do something you may not feel like doing? Does any of this resonate with you?

You Never Know Who You May Be Inspiring

Last week was an interesting week- I worked my normal 40+ hour work week at my day job and taught 4 classes in 3 days (3 of those classes in 1 day). But, I was also able to get to the gym after work to take a class one day and then on another, I was able to come right home after work, which never happens. RM and I were even able to go out for a mid-week drink, which also never happens! It was a good mix of work and play, and even though it was tiring because of long days, there were were so many times when I felt really thankful for what I am able to do on a daily basis.

Blogging, teaching, sharing workouts, organizing workouts, etc., while so rewarding, can also be time consuming and hard “jobs”. It takes a lot of behind the scenes prep work and execution in order to make things go smoothly or to have content to share, and while I get to see people benefit from the work I put into making playlists, planning workouts, trying out new moves, etc., blogging doesn’t always provide me with such clear “rewards”. Often times- especially lately- I wonder if anyone is even reading, enjoying or relating to the posts that I write.

Do people even do the workouts I share? Do people relate to any of the more personal topics I share and talk about? Are the time saving, meal prepping, organization tips valuable or useful to anyone who might be reading this little blog?

I’ll be honest when I say that I probably question these things too much, which is a big reason behind why I haven’t been blogging as much over the past few months (although I am trying to make it more of a priority!)- why bother if no one is reading?

But last week, I had validation from three different people telling me that you guys actually DO read this little blog. You DO try the workouts. You DO relate to stories or situations I share. You DO appreciate the tips I share to make healthy living a little easier.

And while this may not seem like a big deal, it means the world to me to hear these things. To know that I am helping you in one way or another validates all of the time I spend on thinking of topics to write about and then actually writing them.

In the world of fitness, I also had validation that I am motivating and inspiring people, which is both amazing, but also humbling. I put so much time and energy into making myself the best instructor that I can be, to create challenging yet doable workouts, to connect with the members, to lead by example in my own workouts, etc., so to have people tell me that I inspired them to try something new or to get a workout in even when they didn’t want to or that they pushed themselves harder in class because they saw me pushing hard, is crazy, but crazy awesome.

And it just goes to show you that you never know who you might be inspiring by your daily actions. A simple smile, holding the door, offering your help, nailing a presentation, lifting heavy weights, doing burpees, cooking a nice meal, etc. All of those things can impact others around you without you even realizing it.

I want to challenge you this week to tell someone if they inspire or motivate you- whether it’s at work, at the gym, at home or somewhere else. Because, although simple, it could help make someone’s day (or week), and maybe even inspire or motivate them to share the love.

So, I want to thank all of you for your support and for letting me be a bit of inspiration or motivation – you guys are what make it all worth it.

If you want to hear more about why I teach and why I love it so much, check out this video. I’m really proud of how it came out 🙂

 

I love this tip to help you move more

Last week, I posted a blog post that I had a lot of fun writing, as well as reading your responses to it. In case you missed it, check it out here, then come back and read this post: How I Stay Active Working A “9-5” Desk Job

With the permission of Lisa, I wanted to share a really great tip to stay motivated to move more, as well as ways to get the movement in. Here was her response to my post- I’ve bolded the parts that really stood out to me:

I work as a 911 dispatcher overnight. I work a long week of 12 hour shifts (7pm-7am every night except Wednesday night off) then a short week (off every night and only work 4 hours Tuesday night and 12 hours Wednesday night). I also have a one hour commute each way. I’ve gained about 20lbs since going back to this schedule about 7 months ago. When I was working during the day, I was going to OrangeTheory classes in the evening and doing some weights at another gym on my own. When I went back to working nights (by choice), there are literally no OrangeTheory class times that I can go to, other than in my short week. I didn’t feel like paying what I was paying to only be able to to OTF every other week and ended my membership. So, I used excuse after excuse. We are also, literally, tethered to our desks at work with our headsets and can’t just freely get up and go to the bathroom when we want. There has to be a certain number of people answering the phones and working the radios at all times so we have to wait for someone to take our spot when we need to use the restroom – definitely hinders the water drinking.

Finally, about 6 weeks ago, I decided enough was enough. I started using the treadmill desk at work when I can. I had forgotten we had it – it’s at the other end of the room from where I usually sit when I’m on the call-taking side of my job. I can’t really walk very fast and I have to stop when I’m doing a lot of typing, but it’s better than sitting. We are allowed several breaks during our shifts so I’m utilizing those better as well. I also have myself on a better sleeping schedule during my long week. I don’t really have time to get to the gym before I have to turn around and head back into work, but I have accumulated a stability ball, yoga mat, and a few weights at home and I use those daily. Between those things, and YouTube videos (yoga, dance, barre), I make sure I get in at least some activity every day before I go back into work.

On my short work weeks, I go to the gym as much as possible and either do some cardio on the bike or arc trainer plus some weights.

Between that and getting my eating on track, I’m down about 10lbs. (<– !!!!!B2B insert)

I also tend to lose sight of the “everyday” if that makes sense. I’m constantly looking back and realizing 3 months, 6 months, 1 year…have passed and I could’ve been at my goal like 10 times over. So, I put a yearly calendar up on my wall and I mark an X over every day that I consciously moved – could be a gym workout, could be 10 minutes of abs on the floor while watching Netflix, any kind of activity that got me off my butt. It has helped me tremendously to visually watch the days pass by.

THIS! This right here gives me ALL.THE.FEELS. There are so many amazing things going on in this post: self-reflection, tough-love/being real, breaking things down, taking it one day at a time, embracing doing what you can, when you can & every little bit counts.

But, I think the biggest takeaway that I have after reading this- and the reason why I wanted to share it with you- is the fact that she a. acknowledged the excuses she was making for not being able to workout or simply be more active and b. that she took action. Nothing huge, but I think that’s exactly why she’s been successful in keeping up with her goal of moving more and losing weight.

So often we get caught up with how overwhelming it can be to make a change like this. We know what we want: to make healthier choices, to be more active, to make movement a priority, to lose weight, but when it comes down to taking those first steps towards making these changes, it can be really scary. What Lisa has done, though, to take these first steps is what is so great. She isn’t telling herself that she needs to get up at 3am to get in an intense workout before working a 12 hour day or that she needs to go to the gym after she’s done. She isn’t saying that the only workout that counts is an hour at the gym. She isn’t doing an all or nothing approach- she is doing her best to to make small choices to get more movement in, which add up to so much more in the end:

She started with using a treadmill desk, which she’s lucky enough to have in her office.  She’s also utilizing her breaks- I know I’ve been guilty of just working all day and not breaking, but the days I step out even for a 5 or 10 minute walk I feel so much better! She’s acquired a few pieces of at-home workout equipment to make it easier to fit workouts in. And, my favorite- she has a calendar hanging up and she uses it to mark off the days she moves. I think this is huge! Just the sheer act of being able to see how much movement you’re getting in is so helpful to continue to move. It reminds you to take it one day at a time, rather than getting overwhelmed with the bigger picture of weeks, months and even years. By focusing on each day, you can appreciate what you get in for movement in be happy about that… not to mention, it’s motivation to keep going!

If you find yourself looking for something new or different to help you meet goals or feel less scared about getting back into something, I really suggest this calendar idea. Start small and focus on what you are able to accomplish in each day. And, if you find yourself looking at the calendar and realizing days or weeks have gone by with no “X” marked off, you know it’s time to have a little chat with yourself (or a friend or a health coach!) to try and figure out why this is the case. Are you stressed? Tired? Busy? Once you pinpoint what is going on, you can probably figure out a way to sneak in even 10 minutes of movement (and notice how I say movement, and not workout- start small, remember?).

Again, I would love to hear your thoughts- do you have any tips to share? I’m always looking for new ways to get movement in, and to help share motivation to the B2B community. Thank you, Lisa, for sharing such great tips and for sharing your story- I absolutely love stories like this!

 

“I’ll Do My Best”

Which is all anyone can really ask for, right? As a group exercise instructor, I have the ability to work with various fitness abilities, ages, injuries, etc., which is one of the reasons why I love my job so much. Every class is different which keeps me on my toes, making sure I am able to adequately teach, help and push everyone. Before my sweat-KICK class at Foster Fitness last week, I had a fittie (that’s what Meghan calls her members- love it!) come up to me before class and say that she knew she wasn’t good, but she was going to do her best and keep coming because she loves the class.

Of course my first response to her comment was to assure her that she was good and that I see improvements from her every class. As long as they are safely sweating, I don’t care if they’re not on the same lead or not able to keep up with all the combos- that will come with time and more experience in my classes.

What I loved about my brief interaction with her was that she wasn’t going to let anything like not getting the combos or not being able to do pushups on her toes get her down or stop her from coming. And, what I loved even more was hearing her say “I’ll do my best” because that is all I ever ask my members/fitties to do. We are all different and each day our bodies react to exercise differently based on how much sleep we’ve had, what we’ve eaten, how much stress we are under, etc., so I don’t ever ask them to be better than they were yesterday. I just ask that they do their best THAT DAY.

By going into a workout (or anything, really), with the mindset of doing our best rather than comparing ourselves to someone else or how we did something on another day, we are allowing ourselves to appreciate everything we can do. If my best one day is only running 2 miles or doing incline pushups or squatting 100 pounds, then what good does it do me to compare myself to someone who posted on Instagram their “awesome 5 miler” or “easing back into it with 150 pounds today” or even what I did last week? You’re right. It doesn’t do me any good. Rather, appreciating what you were able to do THAT DAY leaves you with a much better feeling, right? If you give it your all, no matter whether your “all” is more or less than your neighbor’s or what you’ve done previously, then you’re doing your best and that’s great.

So I challenge you to do your best today- whether it’s with a work project, participating in a meeting, getting to the gym or a class or anything else you may face. And even more, I want you to soak in the feeling of appreciating your best TODAY. Not yesterday or last week or even where you want to get. But your best today. Soak it in, give yourself a pat on the back and thank yourself for doing your best. Because at the end of the day, that’s all anyone can really ask of you.

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Photo credit: Janelle Carmela Photography