When we began the early stages of the pandemic lockdown, the sidewalks were full of runners and walkers, and living rooms were a blur of new spin bikes and uncoordinated bodyweight lunges. Out of boredom from being home, I would bet physical activity levels were peaking right before restrictions began to be eased this summer.
Like a New Year’s resolution, motivation to exercise has gradually faded. It was a lot easier to exercise when you had only two choices during the pandemic, stay at home all day or get out and get moving. But now, after months of shifting social restrictions, many have lost their motivation to exercise again.
Five Quick Motivation Fixes
Here are some quick fixes to help get back on track with ways to improve your fitness motivation in the New Year.
Plan your exercise for when it’s easiest to do and then treat your workouts like appointments.
This might mean exercising as soon as you get up in the morning, like me, or mid-afternoon or after a day of work at home. Whenever you start your workout for the day, before temptations and obstacles begin, be organized and have a routine. Do not miss your workout session; going in with the mindset that you have to accomplish it is an excellent way to increase adherence and motivation.
Make it easy to exercise.
Do not make it a challenge to plan exercise ahead of time. For example, I lay out and pack up my workout gear in the evening as to be ready for when I go off in the morning. Do as many things as you can beforehand so that, when the time comes, starting your workout is easy. Break the process of exercising into chunks and then maximize your workout time:
- Step 1, requiring a little bit of effort: Get changed into workout gear.
- Step 2: Step out the door and on your way to your planned workout.
Before you know it, it’s harder to not exercise than to exercise.
Reduce your time.
Workouts shouldn’t take hours on end. No one has the time or motivation to be stuck working that long. Instead, change up your workouts with supersets. A superset is two or more exercises stacked together with little or no rest between them to create a more efficient workout. It’s your best friend during workouts because it helps you get more done in less time.
Ideal for building strength, pair two or more exercises that work opposing muscle groups, like Chest Press and Bent-over Rows.
While working the same muscle groups, for example Squats and Glute-Bridges, compound sets work on muscle endurance and are great for improving muscle definition.
Lastly, if you are working two different muscle groups like lower- and upper-body, this is considered a circuit. It’s great for burning fat. An example would be a push-up and squat, row and lunge, or RDL and Triceps Pushdowns.
Get excited to go shopping!
A huge motivation is to buy a new piece of workout gear. Get yourself excited to get back into exercise by buying something you’ve been eyeing. Workout gear could be anything, as long as it gets you excited to use it: a new watch with a GPS tracker, new workout clothes and running shoes, or even a new jump rope or dumbbells for your home gym.
Do what you enjoy.
If you find yourself wanting to jump rope or take a fitness class instead of doing burpees and bench press, it’s better to do what you want to do. Keeping it simple requires a lot less mental effort and requires minimal motivation. Repeat exercises that felt good and don’t try to force yourself to do something you think you should do.
A New Start for 2022
While many of us are looking to getting back to "normal", this New Year will give you another opportunity to develop a healthier lifestyle. If you don’t know the exercise lingo I used or you are a novice at working out, talk with a personal trainer or fitness professional who can help you put together workouts that are time efficient and effective routines that you’ll enjoy. By making some of the easy changes I have suggested, you can make enormous improvements in your motivation as we head into the New Year.
This blog was written by Michael Blume, MS, SCCC; Athletic Performance Coach. To learn more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.