Have you found yourself working out less than used to a year, or even a month, ago? Will any excuse do to keep you off of the trail or out of the gym? This is of course not uncommon and something that plagues even the most motivated of workout fiends. What I have found is that the feeling creeps in whenever I stop enjoying my regular workout regimen. Over my 20 years of working out, being running, lifting weights or doing the Bar Method, I have found that these are 3 fool proof ways to shake the exercise 'blahs' and get me back out there, sometimes even with a smile on my face.
1. Do it with someone.
Whether you are going on a run, heading to the gym, or participating in an exercise class -- do it with someone! Humans are born to be in groups. The benefits of doing your workout with someone or in groups are immense. First, accountability. When other people are involved you become accountable to that group or partner, whether that means just showing up or that you will work harder because you are surrounded by people. Second, make new friends! I have seen many women who started as strangers become close friends in our studios. Not just acquaintances, but friendships that carry into everyday life. We all know that it gets harder to make these close friends later in life, but there is something about the shared exercise experience that really brings people together. Finally, working out with someone ups the intensity of the workout. When you are working with someone, you tend to push yourself more and feed off the energy of others.
2. Mix it up.
Mix up what you do from running to biking and weight lifting to yoga. Not only will this make your workouts more enjoyable but it will make your body stronger and keep you from overusing individual muscles and joints which it turn lead to injuries. Your body needs time to repair itself so focusing on different muscles during the week will give the other muscles that time to rest and repair. Even if you stay with the same type of exercise, bringing in a bit of variety will make them more effective. If you run the same distance at the same pace everyday, you will plateau. Instead, add in a few exercises classes to your routine or vary the pace of your runs. You will be amazed at how much stronger you feel in your runs, not to mention how much more enjoyable they will be. You have chosen to carve that hour out of your day to exercise, make it worth it!
3. Set achievable, but challenging goals.
Set yourself up for success going in to each workout. If you haven't run for a year, start out with something small. When you first set a goal you are energetic and fully motivated but overzealous goals will push you to do too much, too soon, which could cause you to miss your goal, or worse, injure yourself. Breaking a big goal into smaller, more achievable goals can help you both mentally and physically. This method can also help you improve your fitness level gradually and safely, which helps you build confidence. If the goal you set is only achievable in 3 months or more, break it down so that you have something that you can hit after 2 or 3 weeks. Whatever your workout is, there is always a goal you can set, be it a distance in a run, a height in a climb or a rep in an exercise class -- go in to each workout with a goal and persevere to hit it!
Exercise is so important for the mind and the body, make it an enjoyable part of your day rather than something you dread and just want to be over. Like most things in life, we are more successful at things we enjoy, so do what you can to keep your workouts as enjoyable as possible!