Over the past three years, I have slowly learned to adjust to workout at home. After spending over a decade in the gym, it has taken a while to really figure out, especially when it comes to staying motivated. Here are ten tips that I have found to be the most helpful.
Tip #1: It’s our choice
Ok, so this is something that took me a while to really fully internalize, but has changed everything for me. And that is understanding and accepting that what we do with our time is always our choice.
This has been empowering to me because usually when I lack motivation to workout at home, it’s because I didn’t prioritize it, or maybe I was tired from not getting enough sleep, or I put the workout off until too late in the day.
This helped me realize that if I didn’t feel motivated, it was because of the choices that I made, and so it become much easier to make the changes necessary to get that motivation back.
Tip #2: Eat the frog first
Mark Twain once write: “If the first thing you do in the morning is to eat the frog, then you can continue your day with the satisfaction of knowing that this is probably the worst thing that will happen to you all day.”
And while I don’t dislike working out, it is for many of us, the one thing that we are mostly likely to skip, especially if we save it for later on in the day. So it can be very helpful to make sure to your workout is the very first thing you do every morning.
That way, you don’t have to risk other factors that may come up throughout the day, which could throw you off course.
And if you can’t workout in the morning, I suggest at least trying to schedule it as the first thing you do when you can, whether it’s after you drop your kid off to school or after you get done with work.
For me, my daughter wakes up super early in the morning, so I don’t have enough time in then to do everything I’d like, so I split my workout up into two parts. I do the first 30-45 minutes or so in the morning, so at least I have that done that in case something unexpected come up, and then do the remaining 30-45 minutes in the afternoon as soon as I am done with my work.
Tip #3: Block your time
Another tip that is very simple, but I have found to be incredibly valuable, is blocking out my time on a daily calendar.
Sometimes all you need to do to stay motivated is it to ensure you have the time reserved, so that there is nothing else for you to do during that time except workout.
If you don’t have a time blocked out, it becomes much easier to say to yourself that you are too busy or need to get other things done. It’s an easy trap to fall into if you don’t follow a schedule.
Tip #4: Remove friction
I like to think of friction as how difficult it is, or how many steps it takes, to start a task. The more friction a task has, the more motivation I need to muster up in order to do it, so it’s best to remove as much of this friction as possible so that we don’t need to have quite as much motivation to workout.
So for example, when I want to workout in the morning, I will either sleep in or have all my workout clothes ready the night before , so that is one less thing I have to do in order to get started. I’ll also have everything I need to workout ready to go right where I need it. My cycling shoes next to my bike, or if I’m lifting, I’ll have everything organized for my next workout, because after I complete my workout, I make it part my cooldown to set everything up for my next workout – including refilling my water and even preparing the next shake.
While this may seem unnecessary to some, it does really help me need less motivation to actually begin my workout.
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Tip #5: Plan ahead
Planning your workouts ahead is another very important way to help remove friction. I will also make sure I have met workout decided at least the day before, if not well before that, whether it’s something that I have written or if it’s a Peloton class I want to take. If I don’t have to think about which workout I will being doing that day, it makes it a lot easier to just get started.
Tip #6: Reward consistency
Ok, so when it comes to working out at home, especially if you aren’t someone who particular enjoys working out, it can help to incentivize yourself further. Now I am not a fan of rewarding outcome goals like pounds lost or new personal records. I find that instead of focusing on outcomes, it is much more effective to focus on the systems and behaviors that will allow you to achieve those outcomes – consistency being the most crucial. Rewarding yourself for being consistent can be helpful.
One of the best ways to do this is to have some sort of visual that you see most of the day to track your progress. For example, a calendar on the wall where you mark a big X on the days you workout – even the satisfaction of not having to stare at a black space on the calendar can be enough of a reward to motivate you to stay consistent. But if you want to add an additional reward like buying something you really want if you workout X number of days this month can provide an additional boost of motivation should you need it.
Tip #7: Accountability
Now if you are really struggle to stay consistent with your home workouts, another really powerful strategy is to find someone to keep you accountable. If you have someone you think would be interested in working out with you, in person or even just talking over the phone, that can be really helpful.
Also helpful is just finding someone that you can check in on a regular basis with. This could be a family member or a friend or a coach. The reason coaches are generally the best choice is because they feel less obligated to let you make excuses, whereas family and friends may not feel as comfortable confronting you on your own bullshit.
Just make sure to lay out clearly that you want them to keep you accountable, and set up a system so that you talk with them about your daily results.
Tip #8: Mix it up
Sometimes you may not feel motivated if you feel your workout is boring, so in that case I would suggest to mix up what you are doing so it’s not quite as boring. Whether that means trying out new coaches on an online fitness program, or new workout styles, or even new types of workouts.
You can also try working out while watching a show on Netflix, listening to an audiobook, or anything else that you find entertaining. There are countless ways to do make working out more enjoyable and fun, you just need to actually try. If you feel bored and you dont change anything up, again, that’s a decision you have decided to make. So why not make a better choice?
Tip #9: Workout every day
Ok so working out everyday is probably going to be the most controversial tip on this list, and maybe this isn’t necessary for everyone, but for me it is much easier to stay consistent working out if I plan for it everyday.
Now look, rest days are extremely important if you want to actually progress and not burn out… but I plan my rest days like I plan my workout days. So instead of say a 30-minute workout in the morning, I plan for a 30-minute Mobiiyy or Yoga session, or even just a walk, but I plan for some sort of activity which keeps me moving is beneficial to my body. That way everyday, at the same time, I know that is the time dedicated to me and making myself better physically.
Tip #10: Do what you enjoy
Because ultimately it doesn’t really matter if doing one type of exercise is more beneficial than another, or you one method produces better results than another, if you don’t actually find any enjoyment with it. I don’t care what anyone says, consistency in working it is the single most important factor for any sort of results that you are looking for, and so you ultimately really do need to enjoy what you are doing.
I’m not saying that the workouts themselves need to always be fun, but they need to at least be enjoyable enough and make you feel good enough that you actually start wanting to work out, rather than always having it feel like its a chore or just another thing on your daily list that you need to check off.
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