With the end of March in sight, spring and summer are right around the corner. AKA we’re almost three months into our New Year’s resolutions! I thought it would be a fitting time to share some of my best tips to stay motivated to be active. Although I am by no means a certified or qualified fitness professional, I am someone who genuinely enjoys working out and staying fit. While it’s top of my list of priorities, I totally get how tough it can be to muster up the motivation to squeeze it into a day’s routine.
Unfortunately, as busy 20-somethings, exercise is often the first thing that gets cut out of a jam-packed schedule. It’s understandable, we have so much else on the go that letting go of the gym membership we signed up for in January seems like the logical thing to do. However, I’m a firm believer, backed by a pile of research, that fitting in exercise (even just a quick 30 minute walk or run) can help you re-focus and leave you feeling refreshed. Today I’m sharing my best tips and the things that I do regularly to ensure my workouts stay on track. Because after all, a healthy body = a healthy mind. How can we expect to perform our best at school and/or work if health isn’t a top priority?
Have a goal- One of the easiest ways to keep fitness at the top of your to-do list and to more importantly make sure it gets crossed off of that list is to have a purpose to exercise in the first place. As an avid runner, I like to sign up for races of different lengths. Knowing I have a race coming up ensures that I’ll squeeze in my runs, even on busy days, and it also motivates me to take my training to the next level. The feeling after you complete a race is all you need to sign up for that next one. No worries if you’re not a runner! There are tons of fun run/walks to sign up for where you won’t even feel as though you’re working out. Signing up for a 5km Colour Run this summer may be the exact boost you need to stay motivated and just enough of a challenge to improve your fitness.
Make it fun- It’s simple. If you don’t enjoy something, it’s very unlikely that you’re going to make a habit of doing it. This holds true for exercise, which is why it’s important to find a workout routine that you truly enjoy. Of course there are still the old favourites- yoga, swimming, biking, etc.. but today there are so many fun fitness classes out there to try. From Surfset, a class completed on a machine that looks like a real surfboard, to Barre fitness, where a ballet barre is used to help balance during pilates and yoga poses, to my favourite spin classes, I truly believe there is something for everyone. A lot of studios and gyms will offer free trial classes so I highly recommend speaking to someone or perusing the internet to see what they can offer you. This way you’ll be able to give the classes a try to see if you like them before committing to anything. And if you don’t like a class, don’t get discouraged! Try another and keep trying until you find your niche.
Find a Workout Buddy- Arranging to meet someone at the gym after work is probably one of the best ways to make sure you actually get there. Knowing that someone is waiting for you will definitely make you less likely to skip out and head home early. It’s a simple, yet effective, way to hold yourself accountable. And even better, you’ll be able to push each other to work that little bit harder. Added bonus: it can double as catchup time with a friend or be followed up with social smoothie or tea time.
Plan it- Whether you use your smartphone or a planner, treat your workout like an appointment or an important meeting and schedule it into your day. I keep a separate monthly calendar where I plan out my workouts for the week (scroll to the bottom to download and print our template!) and then I also schedule my exercise into my iCalendar to make sure it has its own timeslot in my day. If you’re working out in the morning, lay out your gear the night before so everything is ready to go. If you’re planning to hit the gym after work, bring your clothes and runners with you. Trust me, if you head home to change, you’ll end up finding 1000 other things to do and all of a sudden, without even realizing, it will be time to get ready for bed and another busy day.
Stay positive- Remember that you’re doing this for you. Celebrate small milestones in a healthy way to help you remember how far you’ve come and what you’ve achieved. A milestone can be anything from completing all of your scheduled workouts for a month to being able to run for 30 minutes without stopping. My favourite way to celebrate is to treat myself to some new workout apparel- it’s a win-win! I’m always extra motivated to workout when I have a new Lululemon tank top to wear! Look good, feel good, right!? But most importantly, stay positive. If you have a rough week and don’t make it to the gym, it’s ok! It happens to the best of us. Don’t throw in the towel, just work towards being better next week and the following weeks. It’s important that we make the effort in our 20s to establish routines that incorporate exercise into our busy lives because physical activity is a lifelong commitment and a lifetime of health is well worth the effort.