Fitness motivation naturally wanes. Some days you look forward to your exercise routine. Other days, it's all you can do to walk into the gym. For many people, the COVID-19 lockdowns gave their motivation an extra hit. Now, they're finding it difficult to make working out a habit once again.
Anytime your fitness habit is disrupted, it can impact your motivation. One day away from the gym can easily lead to two or three. Before you know it, your workout routine has become a non-workout routine. Your motivation is gone and you're not sure how to get it back.
COVID has made it even more challenging to stay motivated. If you normally exercise at a gym, what do you do when it's suddenly closed? If you don't have a home gym, your options may feel limited. A survey of runners found that even home exercisers have had a lack of motivation post-pandemic.
Add to that the increased stress that many have felt during the pandemic and it can feel easier to just sit on the couch. You lack the energy to tend to your fitness when you have other matters to attend to. Maybe you lost your job and need to look for work. Or a family member catches the virus and you need to look after them or help pick up the slack. So, how do you get your motivation back?
The good news is that you can restore your lost motivation, returning it to pre-pandemic levels. The process doesn't have to be overwhelming either. These 10 tips can help get you started. Try one or two and you'll be back into your routine in no time at all.
It's often said that if you can see it, you will believe it. Use this to your advantage by visualizing yourself restarting your exercise habit. Every day, take a few minutes and mentally picture yourself putting your workouts back into your routine. Pay attention to how good this makes you feel. Use this feeling to inspire you to increase your physical activity.
Setting a fitness goal gives you something to work toward. When that goal is in the near future, it makes taking action more pressing. You can't put exercise off because there's no time. Decide how much weight you want to lose in the next 30 days. Or maybe your goal is to gain a certain amount of muscle. Once you have your goal in place, plan out the steps that will help you achieve that amount of weight loss or muscle gain. Add a reward so you look forward to reaching that goal even more. Even something as simple as setting a rest day once or twice a week can motivate you to show up on your exercise days.
A 2020 study found that many gym enthusiasts found their post-COVID motivation with the help of music. It's like when your favorite song comes on the radio. It can make you smile no matter how you were feeling moments before. Create a playlist of songs that make you want to exercise. Use it to power you through your workout. Play it every time you want to skip the gym for added motivation.
The good thing about a morning exercise session is that once it's done, it's done. You can go about your day without that nagging feeling that you should be working out. Get ready the night before so you don't have any excuse for not exercising after your alarm goes off. If you go to the gym, set your gym bag by the door. If you work out at home, set your workout clothes on the bathroom counter and change into them right when you wake up.
Sometimes a lack of motivation comes from boredom with your workout plan. You're tired of doing the same thing over and over again. If this is the case, find a new exercise to try. If you normally work out with dumbbells as part of your strength training routine, use a kettlebell instead. If you typically end your workout with stretches, swap them out for a yoga pose or two. Find a YouTube workout to try an entirely new exercise. Be creative and it will give your motivation a boost.
What happens when you get new workout clothes? You want to wear them and show them off! This is a great way to spark your exercise energy. You don't have to spend a lot either. Aim to add one new piece of clothing every week or two. Pick up items with similar color patterns so you can mix and match them as you wish. (If you want to go all out, add smart clothing to your workout wardrobe.)
It's difficult to get motivated when you're tired. The idea of doing a tough workout on minimal sleep isn't likely to be appealing. So, if you want to get back on your fitness journey, make sure you get adequate rest. Help your mind shut down at night with a 10-minute meditation session or by doing relaxation breathing exercises right before bed. If you wake up in the middle of the night, consciously relax your muscles. Start at your head and work your way down your body. You'll likely be asleep before you even reach your toes.
If you find it easy to talk yourself out of restarting your exercise routine, getting a workout buddy can help. This person will help hold you accountable. Plus, it's hard to not go to the gym when you know they're there waiting for you. The best workout partner is one who won't easily let you off the hook. You want someone who will tell you when you're making too many excuses or taking too much time off. Ideally, this person is also someone who motivates you to want to show up. You like spending time with them and they inspire you to want to become a better version of yourself.
Sometimes it's not easy to find a workout partner. Or maybe you will hold yourself more accountable if you have to show up for someone other than a family member or friend. A personal trainer or coach can serve this same purpose. It's also beneficial to take this route if you want a new routine or want to try a new type of exercise. A trainer can help you decide what options can help you best hit your goal, whether that goal is muscle gain or fat loss. A trainer can also provide additional tips for living a healthy lifestyle, including those related to diet and getting yourself in a mental space that supports an exercise habit.
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