There are people in this world that enjoy working out. They say it produces endorphins. They say it’s addictive. I’ve never experienced this. I don’t recognize this feeling. Never felt a “runner’s high”. Don’t know that life.
If you’re like me, and working out is a constant struggle and internal war between being fit and binging another show on Netflix, I understand you. I see you. And I have a few tips to help you make working out a habit:
1. Pick a workout you actually like
I didn’t start working out regularly until I found a workout that I enjoyed. I hate the gym (because if given a change to bs my way through my workout, I will take it) so I knew I needed to find a studio where I could take group classes. Having a trainer pushing you and a room full of people around you makes you feel like you can’t slack off and keeps you going when you want to quit. What I love about my studio, Air Aerial Fitness, is that I’m not working out for the sake of working out. I’m working out so that I can become strong enough to learn new, more advanced aerial tricks. Traditional workouts tend to feel a bit mudane to me. When you’re conditioning towards a sport or activity, every exercise is targeted toward making you better at it, which is what keeps me going back.
2. Take classes and pay for them ahead of time
No one likes to waste money. When you pay for something, you want to get what you paid for. Buying a pack of group classes or signing up for a service like ClassPass keeps you accountable because you’ve already paid for the classes, so you may as well go. Although not everyone has the luxury of paying a ton of money for classes, I’ve found that the more money I pay, the more likely I am to go. It’s a financial sacrifice, but it’s worth it. Skipping out on a $30 class hurts more than skipping the gym that you pay $30/month to attend.
3. Schedule everything in your phone with reminders
This is honestly all about guilt. I have a reminder on my phone to study French every night at 8pm, and every night at 8pm I don’t study French. This may seem counteractive to the point I’m trying to make, but every time that reminder pops up on my phone, I feel guilty for not doing it. Now the reality is that studying French is not super high on my priority list, but if you’re looking to workout more frequently, chances are that guilt and constant reminder may just be the nudge you need.
4. Find a workout buddy
Misery loves company, right? If you hate working out, find someone with similar goals as you to do it with. This can be someone who also hates working out who needs the support as much as you do, or someone who loves working out who can motivate you to step your game up. All of the ladies in my Air class have become like family to me, because we’ve seen each other through a lot of shit. Find your people.
5. Don’t think, just go
If you’re a morning person, workout the second you roll out of bed. Set an alarm and just go. Don’t think about it, don’t hit snooze. Don’t give yourself time to talk yourself out of it. The hardest part is getting up and getting there. For the rest of us, working out after work is more realistic. I’ve gotten in the habit of driving directly to my studio, even if I have to wait an hour for my class to start. I’d rather kill time in a coffee shop than at home, because once you go home, your chances of leaving your house again are slim. If you integrate working out into your regular schedule, going to the gym becomes something you don’t have to think about. Keep a gym bag in your car so there are no excuses. Be consistent and after a while it really will become second nature.
6. Keep track of your progress
If you’re working out with specific fitness goals in mind, keep track of your progress. Remember, it’s not about the number on the scale (muscle weighs more than fat, so that number can be deceiving). Don’t focus on that. Instead, jot down your measurements in a journal or take progress pics so that you can see your body changing over time. There are also apps that will help you manage your fitness journey. The idea is that once you know it’s actually working, you’re more likely to keep at it.
7. Reward yourself when you meet small goals
Change is gradual and, since you see your body every day, you may not notice that your workouts are paying off. Instead of waiting until you hit your final goal to reward yourself, set up small, achievable goals that you can check off as you go to keep you motivated. When you reach one of those goals—whether it’s dropping a pant size, losing an inch, being able to do 10 push-ups, etc.—celebrate your progress. Buy a new pair of jeans that you’ve been wanting or have a much-deserved cheat day. Whatever you need to Pavlov your way into maintaining your workout regimen. Do what you gotta do.