Whether you want to lose weight, tone up, or just be healthier, exercise is an absolute must. However, and despite knowing how important exercise is, many of us don’t do enough. In fact, if you have a desk or a driving job, you probably spend so much time sat down that you could be classed as sedentary.
Being sedentary is believed to be one of the leading causes of weight gain and ill health in the modern world. Sitting down all day is literally killing us!
I like exercising but that wasn’t always how I felt. Even now, there are still days when I wake up and think “I’d rather not exercise today”. However, most of the time, I manage to overcome the urge to go back to sleep and, instead, get up and get moving.
You know you need to exercise so here are some motivation tips to help get you up off your butt and being more physically active. More about motivation on this article.
1. Set targets and goals
It’s good to decide to do more exercise but how much more? Having no real idea of how much you need to do or how much you have done means you may not do enough. Set goals and targets to make sure your exercise plan has a focus. Here are some good exercise goals and targets that are realistic but also challenging enough to improve your fitness and help you lose weight:
- Using a pedometer, do 10,000 steps per day
- Do three 20-minute cardio sessions per week – run, walk, cycle, swim etc.
- Go to three group exercise classes per week
- Go to the gym and lift weights four times a week
- Take a 15 to 30-minute walk each and every lunchtime at work or school
- Start each day with 20 push-ups, 30 squats, and a 40-second plank
You don’t have to do all or even any of these things – set your own daily and weekly goals and targets.
2. Put your alarm clock out of reach
Do you plan to exercise in the morning but, on waking, hit the snooze button and go back to sleep instead? I used to do this all the time! So, now, I put my alarm clock on the other side of my bedroom so I have to get up to turn it off. I leave my workout clothes next to my alarm clock so, as I’m up, I might as well put them on. My coffee machine is on a timer too so my coffee is ready as soon as I go into the kitchen. Basically, if I’m up, dressed, and got my coffee, I might as well work out!
3. Choose workouts you like
A close friend of mine told me I ought to try yoga so I did. But, after a few weeks, I realized I didn’t like it. I started missing the occasional class and then, after a few weeks, realized I’d missed three classes in a row and was no longer exercising regularly. Yoga is a good workout for some people but, for me, it just wasn’t my thing.
But, I DO love to run and run most days of the week. For me, running is fun, enjoyable, liberating, and a real stress-buster. Because I love to run, I find it easy to do regularly and never feel like I want to miss a workout.
Find a workout that you really look forward to doing and you are much less likely to miss it on purpose. It doesn’t matter what your workout is; if you enjoy it and you do it frequently and regularly, it will do you good!
4. Exercise with a friend
If you find it hard to get or stay motivated to exercise, get yourself an exercise buddy. If you are unmotivated and feel like skipping your workout, when you exercise alone the only person you need to justify your inactions to is yourself. But, when you have an exercise buddy, you’ll need to justify yourself to them too. Suddenly, that excuse of “oh I was too busy to exercise” will sound pretty lame.
Exercise buddies will help keep you honest and accountable. It’s a form of peer pressure and peer pressure can be very powerful. The best exercise buddy is someone with the same workout and fitness goals as you who is also reliable and will get on your case if you start to skip workouts. Remember though, you need to do the exact same things for them!
5. Make a bet
If there is one thing most people hate, it’s losing money. You can use this phenomenon to help you stick to your workout plan.
Let’s imagine you want to do 20 workouts in a month – five a week with weekends off. Give a trustworthy friend $200 – $10 for each workout you are planning to do. Every time you do a workout, they give you $10 of your money back. Every time you skip a workout, they get to keep $10. Needless to say, with money on the line, you are much less likely to skip your workouts.
6. Hire a personal trainer
Personal trainers are very useful when you lack the motivation to work out on your own. Firstly, by making a booking with a PT, you are much less likely to not show up at the gym. Also, the personal trainer will ensure your workout is effective and that you work hard enough.
If you block book multiple session, you will also have made a financial commitment and if you miss your session, most PTs will not refund your money without 24-hours’ notice. This is another motivating factor. All in all, hiring a personal trainer often makes it easier to stick to your workout plan.
7. Make a workout appointment
If you have an appointment to see your doctor, dentist, lawyer, architect or whatever, how likely is it that you will miss it? Not very I expect. Once you agree to be in a certain place at a certain time, only a real emergency will make you break your commitment.
You can use this same strategy for exercise. In your diary, book out your workouts so that you commit to exercising on certain days at specific times. For me, this is 7am Tuesday, 7am Thursday, and 9am Saturday. If anyone asks me am I free at these times, I tell them no – I have a prior appointment.
Treat your workouts like the important appointments they are and you’ll be much less likely to miss or skip them.
Remember, the best exercise is the exercise you can do regularly and consistently. The occasional workout won’t help you get and stay fit; you need to stick with it. Look for ways to exercise three or more times each week. It’s only when you exercise consistently for weeks and months at a time that you feel and see the benefit.