Staying motivated and engaged in your workout can be challenging. Whether you are a runner, biker or like to lift weights, staying on target to reach your fitness goals isn’t always easy. Of course, if it was easy everyone would do it. As they say in A League of Their Own, “It’s the hard that makes what we do special.”
1. Scheduling Workouts
Many people find it helpful to actually schedule workouts like any other obligation. Having workouts on the calendar forces you to see it, and also to schedule other items around that time-slot. This is why some people like to join classes or have regularly scheduled runs with friends on the calendar.
2. Training Buddy
A training buddy (or buddies) can prove helpful in showing up on a regular basis. This can be a women’s running group, a friend who meets you at the gym, or even a dog! (More on running groups as a source of motivation coming up later in the blog!)
3. Did someone say dog?
The dog doesn’t care how slowly you run, doesn’t mind if it’s raining or snowing, and is always ready to go. While recovering from pneumonia, my dog literally kept me moving and sane! I purchased myself a hands-free running leash, a harness for my dog, and was ready to hit the road!
4. Joining a Group
Another way to stay motivated is to join a running group. When some women started up a local chapter of She Runs This Town, I was anxious to join them. There is a core group of women who meets a couple of times a week, but there is a larger group that posts their workouts and invites people to join in.
Groups like may push you to leave your comfort zone, run a little faster, or even toe the line for a race you may not have otherwise tried!
My local group plans a girl’s night out, hosts runs and has theme events. (More on theme events to come!) Hosting a run the night of a professional football game gives you an easy theme that everyone will enjoy! (See photo)
5. Make It Easy to Succeed
While I enjoy working out with others in a structured setting, sometimes life gets overwhelming and if I relied on getting to a class, I know I would not go. One way I ensured my own success was setting up a workout room in my home. I’m fortunate as I have room for a treadmill and elliptical. I also bought a trainer for my bicycle to turn my favorite road bike into something I could do in my basement through the winter.
I realized early that without spending a lot of money I could get a quality cross-training workout completed in the comfort of my own home. Recognizing that not everyone has space or money to create a home gym, I would argue you could fit everything you need into one tote.
6. Build Your Own Workout on a Shoestring Budget
All of the pictured items fit into that tote: 10, 5 and 3-pound hand weights, 12-pound kettlebell, jump rope, yoga mat, yoga block, and a foam roller. It’s amazing what I can accomplish using very little space using only my body weight and the things in the photo!
Especially in the dead of winter, I find once I am in the comfort of my own home, I am hesitant to go back into the cold. Having a home gym pushes me to stop making excuses and just get it done.
7. Fun Events
My running group hosts so many fun events that help keep all of us motivated. For example, to celebrate Independence Day there was a red white and blue theme run. One woman even brought fairy wings for everyone!
We have held tutu runs, margarita runs and speed runs. While some women prefer to run solitary, many find knowing there is a group meeting every Saturday morning a reliable excuse to pencil in the long run. Knowing a group of women is counting on you is often just what you need to push yourself out the door!
8. Sign Up for a Class
Others feel if they pay for something, they are more likely to stay committed. Anyone who has visited a gym early January knows that is not necessarily true; however, for some people, it works. If I need the motivation to move, I sometimes find a class and register. Knowing that an instructor and group of workout buddies are looking for me every week is a huge motivation factor for me, personally.
9. Goal Setting
Another great way to encourage yourself to workout is to set a personal goal. This can be as simple as to weight lift twice a week, drop five pounds or train for a 15K race. I find if I say a goal out loud it has more teeth, so I often tell everyone in my women’s group what that goal is. This group accountability can be helpful.
Short and long term goals are both helpful in life and in fitness. When making life changes, setting small, achievable goals helps one to feel success. For example, it might help a non-runner to start with a goal to run/walk three times each week for the first month. After achieving that, a jump that would make sense would be to move to four nights a week, with set run/walk intervals.
Jumping into a regime too ambitiously can lead to feeling demoralized, which is a recipe for failure. The goal is success!
10. Register for a Race
As a runner, registering for a race keeps me on track. This is especially true if it is a race I am not currently conditioned to run. Signing up for a 5K doesn’t really push me to train hard because that is a distance I am always trained to run. However, if I want to increase my base mileage, signing up for a 15K will encourage me to set a plan to achieve that goal.
It Looks Different for Everyone
When asking yourself, “How can I stay motivated in my workouts and fitness life?” the best answer is that it looks different for everyone. For me, a combination of the above items helps keep me moving and focused. For you, the equation for success will be different.
The main point is to pick a few tactics, implement them in a way that won’t be a huge shock to your body, and start moving. The results will be worth it! You’re worth it!