5 Motivation Tips to Get Your Workout Mojo Back

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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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?

Wednesday Workout: Body Weight Tabata Workout

As I mentioned on Monday, I did a few Tabata workouts last week. One that I particularly liked was the body weight one that I did in my hotel room on Tuesday morning. There wasn’t a lot of space to workout, but the beauty of this workout is you don’t need a lot of room.

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If you’re new to tabata workouts, the idea is that you do 20 seconds “balls to the wall”, as I like to say, followed by 10 seconds of rest. You repeat this 8 times, for a total of 4 minutes. In a true tabata workout, you would do the same exercise for all 8 rounds, but for this one, I chose 2 different exercises per tabata to do in order to maximize my workout since I was limited on time. Side note: I usually jump around or jog in place during the 10 seconds to help bring my heart rate down; I don’t like going from crazy cardio or strength to nothing- I like to keep moving.

Body Weight Tabata Workout

As you can see, the exercises I did are very basic, but that’s the thing- if you’re giving them your all, you don’t need to do anything fancy.

If you have questions, let me know!

Have fun 🙂

Questions for you: Do you workout in your hotel when you travel? Do you like tabata workouts?

 

 

{Holiday Series} Wednesday Workout: Body Weight Upper Body Blast

Hi there! For the second week of your Holiday Series Wednesday Workout posts, I have decided to focus on the upper body. Again, in order to make this workout doable anywhere, it’s only using your body weight, which means you can get up and squeeze it in before work 😉

Body Weight Upper Body Blast

Here are links to some of the moves you may not be familiar with:

Push-Up to Side Plank
Plank Walk Out– This is also known as an “up-up-down-down plank”.
Down Dog Push-Up
Prone Pull Down
-For the handstand kick-ups, you’re going to basically be practicing trying to get into a handstand. We used to do this in yoga all the time and Athena and I recently did them in one of the MANIA sessions we attended, which made me remember how much I love this move! It’s great for your shoulders! If you feel like it makes you nervous to do this without doing them against the wall, use the wall! There’s no harm in that at all.

As it says in the instructions, this is a “for time” (CrossFit lingo) type of workout where you should do 4 rounds of these exercises as quickly as you can, but while also maintaining good form. I want you to try this next week to see if you can beat your time!

I hope you’re enjoying the “Holiday Series” I’m putting together. Next week will be all about core- get excited 🙂

Questions for you: How are you doing with managing your holiday parties this year? Are you still trying to fit in your workouts? Are any of these moves new to you?

Guest Post: It’s Not About Having Time, It’s About Making Time

Hey Friends! As promised, here is a guest blog from my friend, Athena. I was so happy when she agreed to write a guest post for my blog because, well, we are pretty much twinnies and share so much in common! I hope you all enjoy this post as much as I did. Thanks again, Athena!

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Hi, Burpees to Bubbly readers!  My name is Athena, and I blog over at Fitness & Feta.  I’m sure you have seen my name on Monique’s blog before, as we are constantly linking back and forth to each other in our blogging adventures.  Monique and I met years ago when we took several of the same classes at the Oak Square YMCA.  Back then, she was “the girl with the curly hair and glasses” that stood in the front row toward the right.  After a while, Monique started coming to my Thursday morning class, then started following my blog, then I hired her to teach at the Y, and now all of a sudden we chat almost every day.  I’m telling you, shared passions can lead to a lot of friendships!

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Monique and I are the same person in many ways.  We are both fitness instructors, obsessed with all things food and fitness, we both have just a little bit (ha!) of Type A in us, and I’d say we are probably the two busiest people I know.  We both work a full time 9-5 job, teach multiple fitness classes a week, and blog on top of making time for friends and family, attempting to get enough sleep, and (gasp) maybe even enjoying a little me time every now and then.

However, despite being really busy, both of us make our own well-being a priority in our lives.  Maintaining a (mostly) healthy lifestyle is important to us, and I think we agree that sometimes too many people pull the “I’m too busy” or “I don’t have time” excuse all too often.  I would actually say two of the most common things people say to me are either “how do you fit it all in?” or “I wish I could be like that.”  Well today I am here today to encourage you that you CAN be like that and that you CAN fit it all in.  It’s all about how you manage your time and what you are willing to move around to make a healthy commitment to yourself.

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That being said, I want to share my top five tips for making time in a busy schedule for healthy living:

Plan Ahead

Every Sunday I sit down with my planner and take a look at the week ahead.  After taking a look at what I have for work obligations and social events, I map out when I will fit in my workouts.  Each week I post a Weekly Workouts series on Fitness & Feta to help me stay on track and to inspire others to do the same.  I find that once I have made a commitment to myself and it’s on my calendar, I’m less likely to skip out on my exercise!  Every week I shoot for 5-6 workouts, that way if something comes up and have to miss 1 or 2, I am still getting a decent amount in.

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Prep, Prep, Prep

Along with making a workout plan at the beginning of the week, I also try and use Sundays as a way to get organized when it comes to food.  First I take inventory of what food I already have in the house and what’s on sale at the grocery store that week.  Then I map out what I’ll eat for lunch and dinner for the week, trying my best to use the ingredients from step one.  This helps keep my grocery budget down, even though many people think you can’t eat healthy food on a budget.  Finally, on either Sunday or Monday I will prep as many meals and snacks ahead of time as I can.  I wash and chop veggies, portion snacks out into baggies, and get lunches ready for the week.  This can be a lot of work up front, but it saves me over an hour a day during my busy weeks… which then in turn keeps my stress levels down!  It’s so worth it.  You can check out some of my weekly meal plan ideas in my Weekly Eats series.

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Maximize Your Workouts

If you feel like you can’t workout because you don’t have an extra hour in your day, guess what?  You don’t NEED an hour to work up a good sweat.  You can definitely use any of the following methods to squeeze in exercise into a busy schedule:

  • Split up cardio and strength and do one in the morning and one in the evening

  • Get your heart up with interval training so you get the most bang for your buck

  • Find a good 20 minute no equipment at home workout

  • Embrace compound exercises so you work upper body and lower body at the same time

  • Just move more!  Walk on your lunch break, go on three different ten minute power walks throughout the day, park further away from the building, take the stairs, print to a printer that isn’t close to your desk… you get my drift.

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Prioritize and Don’t Overcommit

If your schedule is nutso, ask yourself if you HAVE to participate in everything on your calendar.  Chances are, there are some events you’d rather not go to anyways!  Learning to say no is key.  Maybe you don’t have to go out to eat twice in one week, but the night you don’t go out you can try a new group exercise class or clean your house instead, both of which can reduce stress.  Sometimes we don’t want to admit it, but we have to pick and choose what’s more important.

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Find Balance and Start Small

Finally, I think just aiming for balance is the best thing you can do.  If you are so busy that fitting a workout in every day of the week is overwhelming, start with two or three days a week and work your way up.  Or maybe it’s too much to prep all your meals on Sundays, but chopping and washing veggies is something attainable for you.  Whatever it might be, remember that small changes can often times lead to big results.  You don’t have to start with something grand for it to be an accomplishment.

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What are your tips for staying healthy despite a hectic schedule?

Thank you for reading my tips, and a big thanks to Monique for asking me to guest post on her blog this week while she is away for work.  I hope you’ll stop by Fitness & Feta every now and then for more from me!  You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  It’s been fun!

Make sure you go check out Athena’s blog!! 🙂