Over the past three years, I’ve slowly learned to adapt to working out at home. After spending over a decade in the gym, it took a while to really figure that out, especially when it came to staying motivated. Here are ten tips that I have found most helpful.
Tip #1: It’s our choice
Well, this is something that took me a while to fully digest, but it changed everything for me. And that is understanding and accepting that what we do with our time is always our choice.
This has been possible for me because usually when I lack motivation to work out at home, it’s because I haven’t prioritized it, or maybe I’m just tired from not getting enough sleep, or I put off working out until too late in the day.
This helped me realize that if I don’t feel motivated, it’s because of the choices I’ve made, and so it’s a lot easier to make the changes needed to get that motivation back.
Second tip: eat the frog first
Mark Twain once wrote, “If you eat a frog first thing in the morning, you can go about your day with the satisfaction of knowing that this is probably the worst thing that will happen to you all day.”
And while I don’t hate exercise, for many of us, it’s the one thing we’re most likely to skip, especially if we save it for later in the day. So it can be very helpful to make sure that exercise is the first thing you do every morning.
This way, you don’t have to risk other factors that may pop up throughout the day, that can derail you.
And if you can’t work out in the morning, I suggest at least trying to schedule it as the first thing you do when you can, whether it’s after dropping your child off at school or after you finish work.
For me, my daughter wakes up very early in the morning, so I don’t have enough time at that time to do whatever I want to do, so I split the exercise into two parts. I do the first 30-45 minutes or so in the morning, so at least I did that in case something unexpected came up, and then I do the rest of the 30-45 minutes in the afternoon once I’m done with my work.
Tip #3: Block your time
Another very simple tip, but one that I’ve found very valuable, is to block out my time on the daily calendar.
Sometimes all you have to do to stay motivated is make sure you have the time reserved, so that there is nothing else to do during that time except exercise.
If you don’t have a time block, it becomes a lot easier to tell yourself that you’re too busy or that you need to get other things done. It’s an easy trap to fall into if you don’t follow a schedule.
Tip #4: Remove friction
I like to think of friction as how hard or how many steps it takes to start a task. The more friction in a task, the more motivation I need to muster in order to do it, so it’s best to remove as much of that friction as possible so we don’t need more motivation to exercise.
So, for example, when I want to work out in the morning, I either sleep in or have all my workout clothes ready the night before, which is one less thing I have to do in order to get started. I will also have everything I need for a workout ready to go right where I need it. My cycling shoes are next to my bike, or if I’m lifting, I’ll have everything organized for the next workout, because after completing a workout, I make it part of my cool-down period to get everything ready for the next workout—including refilling my water and even preparing my next shake.
While this may seem superfluous to some, it really helps that I need less motivation to actually start working out.
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Tip #5: Plan ahead
Planning your workouts in advance is another very important way to help de-stress. I’ll also make sure I’ve met the workout scheduled at least the day before, if not much earlier, whether it’s something I’ve written or if I want to take a Peloton class. If I didn’t have to think about what exercise to do that day, it would be very easy to get started.
Tip #6: Reward consistency
Well, when it comes to working out at home, especially if you are not someone who particularly enjoys working out, it can help motivate yourself more. Now I’m not a fan of the resultant reward goals like pounds lost or new personal records. I find that rather than focusing on results, it is much more effective to focus on the systems and behaviors that will allow you to achieve those results – consistency is the most important. Rewarding yourself for being consistent can be helpful.
One of the best ways to do this is to have some kind of visual that you see most of the day to track your progress. For example, a calendar on the wall where you put a big X on your workout days—even the satisfaction of not having to stare at black space on the calendar can be reward enough to motivate you to stay consistent. But if you want to add an extra bonus like buying something you really want if you exercise X number of days this month can provide an extra boost of motivation if you need it.
Tip #7: Accountability
Now, if you’re really struggling to stay consistent with your home workouts, another solid strategy is to find someone to keep you accountable. If you have someone you think would be interested in working with you in person or even just talking on the phone, that can be really helpful.
It also helps to find someone you can check in with on a regular basis. It could be a family member, friend or coach. The reason coaches are generally the better option is because they feel less obligated to let you make excuses, while family and friends may not feel comfortable taking you up on bullshit.
Just be sure to make it clear that you want them to stay accountable to you, and create a system for you to talk to them about your daily results.
Tip #8: Mix it up
Sometimes you may not feel motivated if you feel like exercise is boring, so in this case I suggest you mix up what you do so it isn’t completely boring. Whether that means trying new trainers on an online fitness program, new workout methods, or even new types of workouts.
You can also try exercising while watching a show on Netflix, listening to an audiobook, or whatever else you find interesting. There are countless ways to make exercise more interesting and fun, you just have to really try. If you get bored and don’t change anything, again, that’s a decision you decided to make. So why not make a better choice?
Tip #9: Exercise every day
Well, working out daily is probably the most controversial piece of advice on this list, and it probably isn’t essential for everyone, but for me, it’s a lot easier to keep working out if I plan it out every single day.
Now look, rest days are super important if you want to actually progress and not burn out…but I plan my rest days like I plan my workout days. So instead of saying a 30-minute workout in the morning, I plan a 30-minute Mobiiyy or yoga session, or even just a walk, but I plan some kind of activity that gets me moving that’s good for my body. This way every day, at the same time, I know this is my time to make myself better physically.
Tip #10: Do what you enjoy
Because in the end it doesn’t really matter if doing one type of exercise is more beneficial than another, or one method produces better results than another, if you don’t find any pleasure in it. I don’t care what anyone says, consistency in action is the single most important factor for any kind of results you’re looking for and so in the end you need to enjoy what you do.
I’m not saying the workouts themselves should always be fun, but they do at least need to be fun enough and make you feel good enough that you actually start wanting to work out, rather than always feeling like a chore or just another thing on your daily list that you need. to check it out.
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