Whether you’re an avid exerciser or just getting started, maintaining an exercise routine can be tough. These tips can help you get over the slump and make those workouts part of your life rather than something you dread.
Do you often feel like you don’t have the time or energy to get in a good workout? I promise, I know the feeling. Some mornings when my alarm goes off, all I want to do is unplug it and snooze for an extra hour instead of heading out for a run. It got especially hard when I started marathon training. As the runs got longer, my start time had to get earlier and earlier to keep my running schedule from interfering with my work day.
These little tricks helped me immensely during marathon training, and they’re definitely the reason that I’ve been able to keep up a regular running routine now that there’s nothing that I’m training for.
1. Drink less booze. This might seem like a no-brainer, but the night before your workout, skipping the booze in favor or water can make a big difference. Even low levels of dehydration can impact your workout, and you’ll have a much easier time exercising if you didn’t drink the night before. If just water seems a little boring, try whipping up a healthy mocktail, so you won’t feel left out.
2. Try intervals. If you’re getting tired of your routine or you feel like you’ve hit a plateau, working in some interval training can kick things into gear. Intervals are simple to do: you rotate between an easy and difficult pace. For example, on our Friday runs, my partner and I do two minutes of running as fast as we can, then two minutes of walking for our three mile route.
3. Take it outside. If you’re used to working out at the gym, try taking your workout outdoors. Walking, running, cycling, or even yoga outside is a whole different experience than inside a gym with all of the fluorescent lighting. One of the hardest runs I had during marathon training was on a treadmill, and it was less than half the distance of most of the runs in that training program.
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Tip: The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of exercise per week. That’s 30 minutes per day, Monday through Friday, or 50 minutes three times a week.
4. Prioritize it. A workout doesn’t have to take a long time, and it’s much easier to keep at it if you block out that time in your week. Put your workout on your calendar and think of it like any other appointment. Try not to skip your workout unless you have a really good reason, like illness or injury.
5. Get a buddy. You know those mornings when you’d rather take a hammer to the alarm clock than get up and go exercise? This is where a buddy is invaluable. It’s much harder to flake on your workout when you know that you’re ruining your buddy’s workout, too. It’s also nice to just have someone to chat with to pass the time while you’re exercising, and you guys can challenge each other.
6. Drink up. No, not booze! Bringing plenty of water can help your stamina while you’re exercising. If you’re doing longer workouts, you might consider investing in a water belt, so you can bring plenty of water with you without having to hold a bottle in your hand.
7. Just go. Don’t feel like going on a five mile run this morning? That’s OK! Often just getting started can help you push through that block. Tell yourself that you’re only going to do one mile. Or three miles. If you just do that much, you’ll be glad you got out there, and if you might just be able to push yourself to do your full workout after all.
What about you guys? Do you have any more tips on how to motivate yourself and jumpstart your workout? Let’s share more healthy inspiration in the comments!