Ways to Stay Motivated to Work Out


Sometimes we all need an extra push. I am lucky to have the most disciplined training (and life) partner who never takes "No," or "I'm tired," or "I have too much work," for an answer, forcing me to show up every.single.time. Over the years we've lived and worked out together, we have developed a simple system where I pack my gym back at night while I prepare clothes, lunch and everything else for the next day. I work in the city and he works from home, so he brings my gear when we meet at the gym in the evenings. This saves me the trouble of lugging another bag on the subway and the temptation of reentering our cozy apartment. An added benefit -- since we can start our workout earlier, this routine gives us more time together at the end of the night. 

We both travel often for work and try to coordinate schedules so we go with each other. Unfortunately, that does not always line up the way we'd like and when I am home alone, I find it much easier to get out of my fitness routine. I am sharing some of my favorite ways to keep pushing yourself towards your fitness goals, even when the going feels tougher than usual.

Move everyday, even if it's only for 15 minutes. On days you can't fit in a full sweat session, get your heart pumping throughout the day with a quick set of jumping jacks before your morning shower, a brisk walk at lunch, or end the day with abdominal exercises and stretching before bedtime. After 15 minutes, push yourself to keep going another five minutes ... or 15. 

Mix up your workout routine. A few years ago, an illness forced me to scale back my workouts from heavy mileage and weights to beginner yoga classes, and the athlete within quickly grew bored. I started dreading, and then skipping classes, thinking of the hourlong sessions as an obligation, not a healing practice for my body and mind. Working with medical professionals, I slowly and carefully varied my schedule to stay safe yet feel challenged -- and my excitement for fitness returned.

Invest in a fitness tracker. We're supposed to walk at least 10,000 steps each day but those of us with desk jobs often barely hit half that number, instead spending most of the day literally on our butts. The Apple Watch was one of my Christmas gifts and I still get excited when I am notified I've hit one -- or all -- of my daily goals. This reminder is a gentle push when your mind is focused elsewhere. 

Get a good night's rest. The more you exercise, the more sleep your body needs to rest -- pretty logical, right? Despite that, most adults are perpetually behind on sleep. Burning the candle at both ends sometimes feels like a necessity, but to get the most out of a 7am class, we need to allow ourselves sufficient time to recover and recharge. 

If all else fails, bribe yourself. Set a plan for the week and reward yourself when you achieve miniature goals, like adding more veggies to your daily diet or going to the gym three days in a row. Do not treat yourself with dessert or a "cheat" meal, instead indulge with a pedicure or massage. One of my personal favorite gifts for myself is workout gear. It's never easier to get pumped up for barre class then when you have a new outfit to show off all your hard work.