It’s been over six months since gyms first closed, and if you never returned, you’re probably pretty sick of pushups and chipper YouTube workout instructors by now. Maybe you already fell off the wagon and are wondering how you can motivate yourself to climb back on.
Here are some suggestions for how to find a workout you love once again, or how to get through a workout you don’t:
Question your motivation
If you’re feeling unmotivated, it’s worth taking a minute to ask yourself what kind of motivation you want. I’d say there are three major ways people (successfully) keep working out every day. Which one works best for you?
- You love every minute of your workout.
- You see working out as a “brushing your teeth” sort of chore that must be done as a basic function of life.
- You have an ultimate goal or purpose for which the workouts are necessary.
Sometimes we feel lost or burned out because that motivation changed. Maybe you loved the encouraging friendly atmosphere of your favourite workout class, but those same exercises at home have none of the appeal. Instead of feeling hopeless that you can’t make workouts fun anymore, what if you tried another type of motivation? Pick a goal and find a program that will get you there. Or give yourself a literal gold star every time you do those morning pushups.
Shorten the time
If you’ve been doing long workouts that you hate, chop them up or condense them into something more palatable. Do just half of your workout video, then decide in the evening whether you’re up for doing the other half. Go for three short walks instead of one long run. Explore the wide world of micro workouts.
Buy a new toy
If you’re stuck at home, chances are at least you’re saving a few bucks on gym membership. Workout equipment has finally started to become more available, although it still takes a bit of time and dedication to snag what you want.
So, start looking. Simple things like sandbags and resistance bands aren’t hard to find; kettlebells and barbells are still in high demand but they’re out there if you look. Even if you have to wait a few weeks or months for something that’s back-ordered, you’ll have something to look forward to.
You may not have thought you needed a kettlebell at the beginning of quarantine, but it’s going to feel great to finally work with heavy(ish) weight again if all you’ve been doing is bodyweight exercise. Or maybe bodyweight exercise was fun but you can’t do certain moves without investing in a pair of rings and finding a place to hang them. New equipment can reopen the workout possibilities you’ve been missing.
Learn a new skill
Even if you can’t get new equipment, you can still explore workouts that take you a different direction. Maybe now is the time to start to figure out pistol squats or handstands. Maybe you can challenge yourself to recreate a different TikTok dance every day. Maybe it’s time to teach yourself to ride a bike or learn some jump rope tricks.
Shore up your weak points
Instead of just trying to maintain fitness or prevent backslide, ask yourself what you’ve been neglecting that you could actually improve. If you train with weights and make jokes about anything over ten reps being cardio, just imagine how much better work capacity you could have if you actually did cardio.
Or maybe you’re one of those runners who keeps hearing that you should do some strength training and mobility work to support your running, but you’re too busy. Well, now’s the time.
Find a new space
If you’ve been working out in your living room, don’t forget that a change of scenery is an option. I assume that if you have a spare room or garage you’ve already considered working out there, but what other options might you have? Do you have access to an office or studio outside the home? There are even people who fill their trunk with workout equipment and take it to a deserted parking lot.
What makes your workouts more interesting again will differ from person to person; maybe you need a small tweak to your routine, or maybe you need a whole different sport with new goals to pursue. And if you’ve kept in touch with workout buddies from the Before Times, ask what they’ve been up to, as well. They might have suggestions — or they might want to be your accountability buddy.