Staying Motivated for Fitness
Gathering the drive to exercise can be a daunting task, even under the most favorable conditions.
But when faced with the bleak and chilly days of January, the challenge intensifies.
Combating the frigid, unwelcoming weather and the struggle to even leave the warmth of your bed, let alone make it to the gym, can seem like an insurmountable hurdle.
To counter the January workout blues, we spoke to a handful of fitness experts for their top tips on how to stay motivated when you really, really don't want to work out.
Believe it or not, even fitness fanatics experience peaks and troughs in their motivation levels — it's only human.
Luckily for us, there are some trusty tricks of the trade that you can fall back on to make the prospect of working out a whole lot less daunting.
Starting is the hardest part
Clichéd as it may sound, it really is true what they say:
That first step is the hardest to take.
But, according to Ciana Glynn, personal trainer, holistic health coach and founder of The Wellness Primer, once you get into the swing of things, the feeling of exercising can actually become addictive.
"Once you start moving, this naturally changes your physiology and releases endorphins, shifting your mindset in a positive way that you will more likely follow through on your desired outcome," she said.
"Sometimes it's the initial thought that can feel overwhelming.
If this is the case, commit to, for example, the first five to ten minutes of your session.
Sometimes, just getting started is the hardest part.
Once you begin, you feel great doing it, that you'll more than likely continue to follow through."
Set realistic goals
It's all well and good to decide that you want to work out more in the new year to get healthier.
But what does that look like in practice?
Setting yourself bitesize, tangible goals is a surefire way to spur you on when you really don't want to work out.
Ali Malik, personal trainer and founder of Fit Labs Kensington, explained just how crucial it is to have realistic goals to work towards.
"Break down larger fitness objectives into smaller, achievable milestones.
This not only makes the journey more manageable but also provides a sense of accomplishment along the way."
And whenever you feel your motivation flagging, Jenni Tardiff, master trainer at The Gym Group, advised sharing your goals with others, to hold yourself more accountable.
Tell everyone what your goals are, write them down and record your progress.
You will be more likely to stay on track and achieve your fitness goals," she explained.
Any movement is better than nothing
When January rolls around, it can feel like everyone is suddenly flocking to the gym in their droves, swapping cocktails for protein shakes, signing up for ultra marathons and donning their running shoes at 6am.
But the reality is that it doesn't have to be all or nothing subtle, healthier changes to your routine can be much more sustainable.
As Jess McDonald, Les Mills instructor, TAP coach and presenter, explained, making small adjustments can make a huge difference when you don't want to work out.
"It can be tough to find motivation to work out, especially when it's cold and dark outside," she said.
"But remember, any activity is a workout! Remember that even a quick walk adds to our activity levels.
So, on days where you may feel tired, simply walk. Choose to walk rather than jumping in the car when you pop to the shops or if you're on the school run.
If you have a dog that you walk often, choose a slightly longer route and quicker pace as this adds to your activity too!"
Find a friend
Friends make everything better and working out is no exception.
Finding someone to tackle your goals with injects some much-needed fun into your workout routine.
Jess explained that finding an accountability partner massively helps when it comes to staying disciplined.
"It's always more fun to work out with your pals, as we can keep each other accountable and help each other when we feel we may back out!
When I know I'm lacking motivation, my friends help lift me out of it. And it's so much more fun to be with friends!"
"Organising and committing to meet someone at the gym makes it less likely for you to cancel as you don't want to let anyone down by not showing up.
They will likely be feeling the same and looking forward to seeing you to help with their motivation too."
According to Jenni, booking a group class can also make working out more fun.
"Booking a group exercise class is a great way to meet new training buddies and be part of a fitness community that provides social support and accountability.
Try various workouts/classes until you find something you enjoy and that way you are more likely to stick with it."
Remember your 'why'
When your alarm that you set the night before for an early morning workout blares and your room is still pitch black, it's easy to lose sight of why you're doing it in the first place.
Ciana said the key is reminding yourself of your fundamental motivation the reason why this life change is so important to you.
This will help you stay disciplined even when motivation is lacking in that particular moment. "Don't forget to remind yourself why you are doing what you're doing," she said.
"Remind yourself of how good you will feel afterwards. Feelings make the motivation stronger."
The opinions shared in the GymNation blog articles are solely those of the respective authors and may not represent the perspectives of GymNation or any member of the GymNation team.