Ahh…the gym. Back on Dec 31 when you were toasting your New Year’s Resolutions, the gym seemed like a perfectly reasonable goal to sneak into you weekly schedule here and there. But somewhere between writing papers and going to parties, the gym just doesn’t seem as important as watching the season finale of The Bachelor. Sometimes all you need, though, is a fresh approach, so I’ve pulled together my top 5 tips to stay motivated to work out and reach your personal health and fitness goals. After all, bikini season will be here before we know it!
1. Trick the Clock
If every night you set your alarm for an ambition hour only to hit snooze every morning and miss you workout, you’re not doomed. Some people work out better in the morning, some at night, some in the afternoon, others at lunch time. Just because all your friends go for 6 am jogs doesn’t mean that time is right for you. Try working out at different times of day, and on different days of the week until you find the combination that works best for you. You may find yourself getting up early Saturdays to work out, while Tuesdays and Thursdays you prefer a pre-dinner routine. As long as you find the time that is easiest for you to maintain, that’s the right time for you. And don’t worry about all the hype about burning more fat first thing in the morning, the bottom line is, if you’re not able to get up and workout, you won’t burn any fat at all, so focus on finding a schedule that fits your needs, and the rest will be easy.
2. Inspiration Board
Sometimes all it takes is seeing another girl in great shape to kick our butts into gear, but with the cold weather still upon us, and everybody bundled up, it’s easy to overlook the envious bodies around us. That’s why an inspiration board can really help you get motivated. Put it somewhere you’ll look at not too often, but daily, like the inside of your closet door. Include cut-outs from fitness magazines of routines you like or body parts you wish you had (hey, those fitness models worked hard for those buns of steel, you might as well appreciate them). Don’t be afraid to include a snapshot or two of yourself when you were in particularly great shape to really motivate you to look your best.
3. Don’t Make Your Work-Out “Work”
Who says you have to go to the gym to have a great calorie-burning workout? If you’re sick of the treadmill routine, devote an hour or two to a fun activity that gets your heart pounding and your muscles aching. Why not try some pond hockey? Go snow-shoeing or cross-country skiing through trails in your area. Rent a board and take a quick lesson before hitting the hills on a snowboard. There are lots of ways to get out and get moving, even in the winter, where you’ll have so much fun you won’t even realize what great shape you’re getting in! Don’t like the chilly weather? Try signing up for a class at your gym, like pilates, or salsa dancing. The more different activities you incorporate into your workout routine, the more fun it will be, and the more motivate you’ll be to stay on track.
4. Get Social
A workout buddy is probably the best inspiration you can have. No one wants to make their friend go to the gym alone, and the more people in your fitness gang, the better, because there’s less chance that everyone is going to bail. Find some friends with similar fitness goals and work out at least one day a week when you can all exercise together. Having someone there to talk with (or maybe complain to) make things more fun and an activity you actually look forward to, rather than dread.
5. Grab the Gear
New work-out clothes alone can be motivation enough to hit the gym. Who wouldn’t want an excuse to show off their cute Victoria’s Secret Pink pants or lululemon top? Don’t forget a comfy pair of running shoes: talk to the sales person and explain what sort of activities you tend to do when you work out, they’ll help you find the best fit. For the high-tech girl, pedometers and heart rate monitors let you track your progress so you can set goals and see how far you’ve come without worrying about the number on the scale. Using fitness as an excuse for shopping is a fun way to reignite your motivation for working out.
How do you stay motivated to work out? What are your favourite non-gym activites to stay fit? Leave a comment and let me know! Everybody seems to go through a winter slump after the initial push of New Year’s. The good news is, if you can push yourself and get your butt in gear, the gym won’t be as packed as it was at the beginning of January, and you can feel that much better about yourself that you stuck to (or returned to) you goals to get fit and lead a healthy lifestyle. Something every college girl should know.