Fitness motivation has always come in bursts for me- lasting a few consecutive weeks- and then slowly fading away. I’ve never cared too much about exercising, but I was happy to go to the gym or run when the mood when strike.
The last few months have been different for me though. To my own surprise I’ve consistently worked out every single day for 3 months. Now 3 months doesn’t warrant an award by any means, and I’m not saying it to brag. I’m just being honest- 3 months is the longest I’ve routinely worked out without losing momentum (so far). Here are some of things I’ve been doing differently to keep my momentum.
- Find inspiration: I happened across @linnlowes instagram when searching for quick workout videos. I had never been inspired by a ‘fitness’ instagram before, but Linn’s ‘transformation’ is amazing to me. Her ‘before’ body looks very similar to mine! I was amazed to see a fitness story that I could relate to.My advice would be to find someone who inspires you, and follow their success. I suggest following someone who has/had a similar body type to yours so you can follow their results. Knowing that someone skinny and with a fairly straight body type could achieve muscle gains and those curves was incredibly inspiring to me! I think seeing realistic results makes success seem more obtainable.
- Create a BASIC routine: Previous fitness bursts would lead to me to finding intense workout plans that required a lot of time and energy. So far, this time, I’ve naturally fell into a simple pattern that works for me. I start every workout with 15 minutes of cardio and then focus on different areas on different days (upper, middle, lower).7 Day workout pattern (example):
Moving up my body
– legs (Day 1-lower)
-abs (Day 2-middle)
-arms and back (Day 3-upper)
Moving back down
-abs (Day 4-middle)
-legs (Day 5-lower)
-Rest (Day 6 -skipping abs)
-arms and back (Day 7-upper)
Nothing is necessarily set in stone as far as which exercises I HAVE to do or in which order. I simply focus on an area move up and then back down my body. Sometimes I add in a rest day, others I don’t, but because I am alternating I can always do a little something without feeling burnt out. A plan like this allows me to target each muscles group 2x a week! Plus it’s This simple enough that I don’t forget it.
- Mix it up: Trying different machines/workouts gave me a clear sense of what enjoy. I tried just about everything I could find- zumba, yoga, running, lifting, cycling. Mixing it up will not allow you to work different muscles, it will help you eventually find what brings you the most satisfaction. Even now, that I am focusing on lifting weights, I try to focus on using different machines and trying variations so my muscles are trained in a balanced method.
- Start with a 15-25 minute warmup: Warming up obviously helps your muscles, but it also gets me in the right mindset. I usually do 15 minute warmups by either riding a stationary bike, walking on a treadmill, or climbing the stair master. Warming up allows me to fit in cardio and get my blood morning without feeling exhausted. Cardio isn’t everyone’s shtick and if it isn’t yours then you’ll love these 15 minute blips of it. As a side note- If you’re working on arms/back then make sure you spend some time “activating’ those muscles before you start lifting.
- Find the right music: Whether I’m working towards a 5k or lifting I found that music plays a huge role in my attitude! I normally listen to pretty mellow music in my day to day life, and guess what..when I run to it I run MUCH SLOWER. It’s been worthwhile for me to make a couple of playlists to amp me up depending on my goal for the day. I’ve found that so much of working out depends on my state of mind- music is one way to help get me where I want to be mentally.
- Build confidence: I’ve always felt very confident doing cardio because no one talks to me while I’m on the treadmill, and I know how to work the machine. Because of that I used to spend MOST OF MY TIME just doing cardio! I’m at the point now here my fitness goals are to gain more muscle and curves. That means that I need to start lifting, but I felt really insecure on that side of the gym. I felt that it was mostly men and everyone already knew what they were doing except for me.Honestly, there were a few times when I felt so insecure in the weight section that I ended up just leaving the gym without finishing my workout. I knew I needed to gain more confidence.
– Watch workout videos at home. Note the muscle group being used and the proper form.
-Save/pin/archive different workouts you want to try. That way when you are at the gym they are easily accessible.
-Ask the staff! This one may seem really obvious to you, but my gym is HUGE and I always felt too intimidating to ask. Now if I can’t figure out a machine, I just ask a trainer to give me a quick run-through. They are always happy to show me the proper technique and to recommend a starting number of sets/reps.
– Get headphones (if you’re antisocial like me lol). When I am at the gym I am there for one reason only. I am not interested in talking to men or making friends. Wearing headphones is my way of saying to the world, “please don’t talk to me”. They help me feel more confident because I don’t have tow sorry about being approached. Is that mean? IDK but it’s how I feel.
- Take progress photos: I had been working out for a month straight and I knew I felt stronger, but I couldn’t see any results. I looked exactly the same…at least I thought I did until I looked at my 1 month apart ‘progress photos’. The difference was subtle, but I definitely could see small changes! Now I take photos monthly around the middle of the month. I’m really looking forward to see my growth in the months to come. I take 3 a month- front, side, and back. I keep it simple and wear the same outfit.
- Find the right clothes: I’ll be honest, buying expensive workout clothes just isn’t in my budget, BUT I do feel better when my active clothes are comfortable and fit well. I bought myself a couple of trendy workout pants that are perfect for the type of workouts I enjoy. They are sketchy & high waisted, so I am able to do a range of movements without feeling they are going to bust open! If you enjoy running, then get yourself a cute pair of the proper shoes! We don’t all have to spend a ton of money, but feeling good is sort of what this whole thing is about right?
- Give your body the right fuel: That is drink plenty of water, and eat the right food/energy your body will need for what you’re looking to accomplish. An easy way for me to drink water is to simply just bring my refillable water bottle with me everywhere I go. I notice having it around me means I drink WAY more water than I would have otherwise. I also make sure I am getting enough protein and adding healthier snacks to my diet. I am not a health or diet expert, and I certainly eat my fair share of Girl Scout Cookies, but being mindful of what my body needs has definitely helped keep up my stamina.
- Decide what you’re working for: Are you working to lose weight, gain muscle, lower blood pressure, increase overall health? What’s your goal and what’s your real motivation. Find out and keep that at the forefront of your mind.
Ultimately I workout because I want to use my body to it’s potential. I think it’s waste to use it only to walk to and from my car or sit at my desk at work. The human body is truly amazing to me, so I want to push it to its limits and treat mine well. I’m hoping to turn my 3 month workout streak into lifestyle. I hope these tips help you if you’re in the same boat!