Have you ever gone to bed, determined to go to the gym the next morning? But then, when sunrise came, your duvet was just too comfortable to leave? And your resolve wavered. You turned your alarm off and snoozed on, feeling a little guilty. Because you could catch that workout another time.
We get it because we’ve been there. Getting into an exercise routine can be difficult, especially if you have a busy schedule. However, everyone has half an hour to spare, and your body needs you to spend it on fitness. In fact, recent statistics indicate that most people spend about three hours a day on social media alone. In other words, even if we don’t want to admit it, we do have time. We’re just too busy spending it on other things.
So how can you make sure that you stick to your resolve and work that workout, even when you don’t feel like it? Besides following Nike’s advice and Just Doing It, we can share a few tricks to make things easier and keep you on the straight and narrow.
1. Pick a routine that you enjoy
If you really don’t like swimming, but you feel like you need to swim if you want to get fit, it might be time to rethink your fitness routine. Instead of forcing yourself to do something you hate every other day, find a type of exercise you look forward to and do that. When you engage in exercises you love, you tend to forget that you’re burning calories because the activity is designed to be fun.
Obviously, the COVID-19 virus has impacted the range of options available due to social distancing and hygiene issues. Many gyms and centers are coming up with innovative ways to let you exercise without being at risk.
Once you’ve found an exercise type that you like, you’re much more likely to show up for it. Who doesn’t want to enjoy themselves and tone up while they’re at it? Once you’ve gotten into a rhythm of working out more regularly, it will be easier to engage in other types of exercises you usually enjoy less.
2. Work out when you’re at optimal performance
If you’re like me, then you enjoy optimal energy for working out in the early morning. Don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of extra sleep as much as the next person, but this happens to be when I enjoy my best workout. This is when I have the most energy. Not to mention after my workout, I have more energy than before. I feel more motivated, and I’m happier. I’ve already reached my fitness goal, and the day has barely begun. So I work to my strengths. And once I’m in a good rhythm, it becomes easier every time.
However, for many people, this routine depletes their energy levels, and they might struggle to get back their rhythm in the day. For them, it might be best to work out best in the afternoon, or in the evening.
It’s clear that timing your workout is important.
It can influence your performance, your focus and intensity, your productivity for the rest of your day, and even your mental health. So experiment with different times and ask yourself at what time of the day did your body function optimally. Once you know this, you can structure your day so that your workout is accommodated by your schedule.
If you’re serious about finding out, a DNA test can tell you everything you need to know about what your genes have been endowed with. This will determine what your body really needs when it comes to your fitness, including nutrition, flexibility, the amount of rest you need, what supplementation you require, and whether you need to focus more on weights or cardio.
3. Have everything readied the night before
If you’ve ever gone to bed thinking, I’ll wake up and decide whether to go or not, odds are you didn’t feel like going. So don’t leave this to chance. Pick your outfit and have it laid out for tomorrow morning. Pack your gym bag and put a bottle of water in the fridge, so you have fresh, cold water ready. If you need some sustenance, prepare a smoothie the night before, so you can grab and go. This brings us to the next point.
4. Eat For Performance
There is nothing worse than being dressed, present, and ready to work out, but not having the energy you need to really smash it. If you know you have a workout planned, make sure you take care of your body and energy levels. If you have a workout in the morning, enjoy a banana or a protein smoothie before you go, so your glucose levels don’t drop.
5. Workout with a buddy
If you know someone is waiting for you to exercise together (and has organized their day to accommodate your workout) you’re so much more likely to show up than when you’re working out alone. Not only that, but studies indicate that a workout buddy can help you to optimize your performance.
According to the results from a study conducted at the University of Aberdeen, when a new exercise partner is involved, people exercise more than when they stick to their regular exercise routine. Someone working out with you can also push you and motivate you to go harder. Especially if they have a higher fitness level than you are.
5. Cue the music
If you don’t believe in the power of music yet, simply try running on music first, and then without it. Music energizes us and can provide motivation when you need it most. If you’re feeling sluggish, a good fast-paced song can put you in the mood for a workout, and can even have an effect on your performance.
Studies show that when your favorite music is played, it can trigger the release of serotonin. Songs with a good beat can help you to go longer or further because you’re running or pedaling to their beat. Pick a good playlist for your workout, and it can even help you wake up faster if you have a morning workout coming up.
If you don’t plan for it, it’s probably not going to happen. So make things easier for yourself and prepare for a workout. After a while, it will become routine, and the habit will have formed.
Gilsenan, K. 2019. Global Web Index. 2019 In Review: Social Media Is Changing, And It’s Not A Bad Thing.
Pamela Rackow, Urte Scholz, Rainer Hornung. Received social support and exercising: An intervention study to test the enabling hypothesis. British Journal of Health Psychology, 2015; 20 (4): 763 DOI: 10.1111/bjhp.12139
Altenmüller, E., & Schlaug, G. (2012). Music, brain, and health: Exploring biological foundations of music’s health effects. In R. A. R. MacDonald, G. Kreutz, & L. Mitchell (Eds.), Music, health, and wellbeing, 12-24. New York: Oxford University Press.