How can you motivate yourself to exercise – even on those days you really want don’t want to? Read my top tips right here…
I may not be the most dedicated runner in the world. I might not track my workouts or be particularly bothered about lifting heavy at the gym. What I am really good at, however, is motivating myself to work out several times a week. I’m not someone who loves exercise. However, I am someone who recognises its value and knows how good it makes me feel when I do it. That’s what gets me out of bed when that little voice in my head is whispering at me to just hit the snooze button and lie in.
Let me give you an example. I didn’t work out on Saturday. I woke up feeling sluggish, tired and like I didn’t even want to get out of bed, let alone do anything. I eventually migrated from the bed to the sofa but even then I spent the rest of the day, unwashed, slumped under a blanket. Compare that to Sunday. I got up, went for a run, and then came back and had a super productive day of ordering frames for some prints I bought ages ago, wrapping a birthday present for my friend, and blogging. But most of all, my mind just felt a lot clearer. I wasn’t beating myself up for not exercising. I wasn’t prodding my stomach with my finger and feeling like I’d put on weight. I just felt lighter and brighter and healthier over the course of the day. That’s what exercise does. That’s the power it holds.
I can’t remember where I read it, but I remember someone saying that using energy creates energy. So when you expend energy during exercise that in turn creates energy, leaving you feeling fresh, invigorated, and ready to face the day. I know we’re all struggling with having to be inside all the time during this social distancing thing; it feels like the days are starting to blend into one. However, it’s more important than ever to try and get some exercise in every day, even if it’s just a brisk walk around the block. Here are my top tips for motivating yourself to work out during quarantine…
1. Do it first thing in the morning
My rationale is this: the longer the day goes on, the longer you have to talk yourself out of it, and that’s certainly what happens when I put it off and tell myself that I’ll go later. I just don’t end up going. My advice is to get up, have a cup of tea or coffee first if you like, and then get up and go.
2. Remember how good you’ll feel afterwards
Taking that first step out the door or pressing play on that workout video is always the hardest part. However, like I’ve talked about above, you just have to remind yourself how amazing you’ll feel afterwards. You’ll feel more awake, alert, energised and ready to get on with the rest of your day.
3. Save different workout videos on your phone
Some days I’ll bounce out of bed and be perfectly happy to do a 5km run and other days its feels like a struggle to get up at all. That’s why I have a number of different workouts I can choose from all bookmarked on my phone. On those days when I’m really not feeling it I do a five minute arm workout video, which seems a lot more manageable when I’m trying to get myself up. Although trust me, you can still sweat in five minutes! If you want to do more then you can just do it twice, right?
4. Have a good podcast series on the go
I’m pretty new to podcasts and I’m even newer to having them as an accompaniment to running. What I’ve found, though, is that they take your mind of what you’re actually doing even more so than music. My personal favourite is How to Fail with Elizabeth Day as she always has such honest conversations with her guests (Marian Keyes was a recent favourite) and I always come away so inspired. Love it.
5. Reward yourself with a tasty breakfast
Remind yourself that as soon as you get back from your run or workout you can have a hot shower and a tasty breakfast. For me, that’s another cup of tea served with porridge and blueberries, a bagel, or poached eggs on toast. It all sounds very carrot and donkey I know, but if that’s what works that’s what works! What do you like to have for breakfast after you workout?