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How I Stay Motivated to Work Out

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Okay, so we all know exercise is good for us. Time and time again, research proves that it can reduce blood pressure, decrease inflammation, improve blood flow, and so much more. But let’s face it: in this busy world of ours, exercising consistently can be hard. In today’s post, I’ll share tips that I’ve used over many, many years to make sure I stay active.

1. Know thyself.

I know who I am shameless gif

Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself when figuring out what form of exercise would be the best fit:

• Do you prefer working out solo or with a group?

• At home or in a gym?

• Someone telling you what to do or making it up yourself?

• Cardio or weights?

• High impact or low impact?

• Inside or outside?

• With an encouraging coach or no one’s involvement?

• Short and sweet or slow and steady?

There are no right answers here! It’s just about getting to know what your preferences are so that you pick something that’s a good fit (and therefore easier to maintain).

For those of you who prefer group workouts, enjoy cardio, and don’t know what to do on your own, Orange Theory or F45 might be a good choice. If you like working out at home alone, videos from something like BeachBody On Demand might be a better choice.

2. Set realistic goals.

I get it: when you don’t feel your best, it’s tempting to commit yourself to 90-minute workouts five times a week. However, this is completely unsustainable and will likely wear you out physically and mentally. And when that happens, it’s easy to say, “See!? This is why I hate working out!”

Set goals that are compatible with your life and err on the side of caution. In other words, if your ideal scenario would be to exercise five days a week, start at three days a week and work your way up. And remember that working out is about quality over quantity, meaning you do NOT have to spend hours on end at the gym to get a good workout.

3. Work with your body, not against it.

I prefer high-intensity workouts so sweating through an intense weight training session or bike ride outside makes me feel recharged and rejuvenated. However, let’s rewind to November/December of last year when all of a sudden, these usual workouts were making me feel lethargic and unmotivated.

It occurred to me that this made perfect sense from a physiological perspective: given that I was under very high levels of stress at the time, my nervous system was already working overtime and pumping cortisol and adrenaline through my body on a day-to-day basis. And yet, here I was doing extremely stimulating forms of exercise. It wasn’t what my body needed at all; in fact, it needed low-impact training like yoga, walking, pilates, and the like.

The point is, pick a form of exercise that works with your body and nervous system and be flexible with yourself. If the idea of a 5km run feels too much one day, do a 5km walk instead. This doesn’t mean you’ve “failed,” it means that you’re simply giving your body what it needs—and you’re still getting more exercise than the person watching Netflix on the couch!

4. Redefine your “why.”