When it comes to working out, everyone deserves a rest day, but when your days off start to exceed your gym days, it might be time to step it up. It's definitely no easy feat getting yourself to exercise, which is why it's good to know the important things to consider before skipping a workout, especially when they can help motivate you. Sometimes, all we need is a reminder of the good that can come from exercising, and the rest of our determination will follow.
"It's easy to be lazy or unmotivated when we work as hard as we do day in and day out," says Jessica Thiefels, owner and founder of HonestBodyFitness over email. "It's much more appealing to relax at home than push yourself through an hour-long workout. Learning how to overcome this feeling is important because it's not going to go away. Life is going to continue being busy, and relaxing will always sound more appealing than working out."
It's definitely important to listen to your body and take the day off when needed, but on those other days, we could use a little boost. I consulted with a few fitness experts to help come up with 11 things to consider before skipping a workout that will help motivate you to get moving.
1. What You Would Tell Your Best Friend?
"I ask myself: 'What would you say to my best friend if they were trying to skip their workout?' says says Sarajean Rudman, fitness expert at the Kripalu Center of Yoga & Health, over email. "The answer is probably: 'Go!' You will feel better after you do it!' By treating myself how I would treat someone that I care about a lot, I get more invested in my goals and motivated to stay on the path toward success."
2. Sometimes The Hardest Part Is Getting There
It's much easier to work out once you're dressed and at the gym. Sometimes all you need to do is get through the hardest part and just get yourself to where you physically need to be. "I'll set a goal for myself like: 'I'll just jog on the treadmill for 20 minutes and then I can leave'," says Thiefels. "Ninety-nine percent of the time I end up doing double what I intended to do because the hard part is just getting started."
3. You're Going To Feel Great When It's Over
No one ever regrets a good workout. "Try to remember how you felt at the end of your workout yesterday: accomplished, healthy, proud, energetic, strong, happy, and other positive affirmations will surely come to mind," Rudman. "I will often look upon the memory of the feeling of "I did it" and find my motivation to get off the couch and go do it again."
4. Think Of The FOMO
If you're in the habit of going to group fitness classes, think about all the fun the class is going to have without you — and they'll be sure to be talking about it next week. "Remembering that I will be missed if I don't show up for class can be a huge motivator," says Rudman. "I choose to surround myself with a community of people who work out with me to remain motivated and accountable. Going to classes is fun, community-driven, and keeps things fresh."
5. Look At Others For Inspiration
If you would rather be scrolling through Instagram on the couch, you might want to tune in to a fitness expert's page for a little boost of motivation. "I love seeing the quick videos workouts of pals in the industry," says fitness expert Christine Bullock over email. "I get inspired to try the innovative exercises out in my daily workouts."
6. Remember You Can Adjust Your Routine
Fitting in exercise doesn't mean you have to do a full hour workout — just do what you can, and try 30 minute instead. "When we think the workout is going to be too long, we can talk ourselves out of it," says Bullock. "Tell yourself you only need a 20 minute workout, then really push it while your there. Get in, get out, get home."
7. Call Up A Friend
Scheduling a workout with a friend is always an option. "If you are meeting one pal in the morning, you don’t have any time to back out," says Bullock. "Plus, you accomplish two tasks at once — building a better friendship and building a better booty."
8. Come Up With Small Goals
Make a small, attainable goal for your workout of the day. "I have one specific goal each time I workout," says Bullock. "It may be to increase my splits, increase my weights during bicep curls, or hold my handstand longer." Pick something that will get you excited to get moving.
9. You Can Make It Fun With A Playlist
A little music can help keep things interesting as well as pump you up for your workout. "Make a fun playlist the night before," says Bullock. "I love music, so when I’m bored of my workouts, I get so pumped to workout to a new playlist. The songs intensity drives my workout."
10. Think Of How Far You've Come
It can hep to think about all the work you have already put in to maintaining a fitness routine. "I'll think about the investment I have made in my fitness plan so far, whether it is time, money or other resources, and remember that that means something," says Rudman. You don't want to stop your progress right in its tracks — or waste an expensive gym membership.
11. It Helps To Have A Reward
"Sometimes having a reward or a treat waiting at the end of a workout can be a great way to get myself moving," says Rudman. "Telling myself if I work out six days in a row, then on day seven I can go for a massage, or if I run every day this work week, I will get the new pair of running shoes I am coveting, can work wonders! Having someone else hold me accountable so that they are in charge of administering the reward is a best practice."
Remember that rest days are still necessary, and if you ever feel sick or weak, it's okay to skip your workout. These reminders are just for those days where you're feeling unmotivated and just need that extra boost — and it happens to the best of us.
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