1. Find a Time that Works For You Do it when you have the most energy
Who cares what works for others or what other people say. Studies say the mornings are best, but I’m a zombie. I tried it at 5 am and barely moved. It was a waste of time. After I’d be up an hour I was much better and got something out of it, but I don’t have time for that if I have to be out the door by 6:30 with two littles. Evening works for me or afternoons.
I carve out time after work before I pick up the kids to climb the stairs at work in the spring and fall. Sometimes I can get a good evening workout after the boys go to bed if I have enough energy. Weights work best then as I’m not always up for getting into a high energy cardio workout at 8 o’clock at time.
Have kids and struggle to find the time? There are workouts with kiddos you can do online. There are also workouts you can do with a baby! I started doing dance workouts in the afternoons with the boys using REV Fit because the songs are upbeat and dance moves are appropriate. I think if I didn’t expect much out of the actual workout from all the climbing on me and looked at it as just establishing a routine, I could do other workout activities with them like sit ups and push ups etc.
2. Do What You Love
Incorporate exercise into what you love to do. I love being outside so if I can workout outside I’ll be more motivated. Pushing the kids in the stroller up two massive hills really was a good workout one summer. Hiking is something I love and can do with my boys for a short hike of thirty minutes. Chasing them around outside also can be a good mini workout.
I also love to dance so I got a fun dance cardio, intense high energy dance workout videos, and some good playlists to work out to. These really motivate me and are a great cardio workout for me.
Not sure what you love? Try different things.
3. Find Your Style
I hated the gym, except the weights. I loved challenging myself and keeping track of how much I did last time and what I could do this time. It was easier to push myself. The treadmill and elliptical were boring.
Maybe you love the gym. Maybe you love working out at home.
Do you like videos, yoga, predetermined workout plans, weights, swimming, HIIT workouts, Zumba, workout equipment like treadmills or cycling?
Find what works for you. If something doesn’t fit. Don’t give up. Try something else. See it as an adventure.
I tried zumba and felt lost but getting Turbo Fire and Sensazao videos were perfect for me.
It may take some time to find the style of working out that you like but you’ll get there.
4. Schedule and Plan Ahead
Whether you pick a program that’s already done for you or create your own, planning out the workouts takes the thinking out of it and removes a major obstacle for working out so you’re not wasting your workout time deciding which workout to do.
I’ve wasted 10 minutes of the precious 15-20 min I had doing this and I started using my planner to plan out quick workout videos to do each day targeting different muscles groups and it was much more successful.
5. Find what motivates you to keep going
Have an inspirational picture of what you’re going for. I have a picture I keep in my workout binder of a female body builder my size who has a toned physique I want to strive for.
What I found most inspirational though, isn’t the photo but keeping track of my progress and setting goals. I take measurements and a picture of where I start and then compare later.
I also keep track of what I do during a workout and try do more the next time. How many reps did I do last time? How many times did I stop up the hill last time? This helps me set goals. My goal is to do 12 reps with 5 more lbs by ___. My goal is to get up the hill without stopping (which I did by the way) – yay.
A heart rate monitor also helped me make sure I was doing a good job keeping my heart rate up. Doing a rough calculations of calories burned on __ site also helped motivate me.
Keeping a food diary was a lot of work but helped me understand how much I was eating. I was eating more calories than I thought and thinking my working out was making a bigger dent than it was. Oh I ate that candy bar 200 calories and working out only was 100 no wonder I’m not seeing progress. It was an eye opener for me.
I would recommend calorie tracking for a week or so to understand your habits and baseline. Then you can gradually change and provide alternatives or institute other healthier eating habits.
6. Have Someone to Join You if That Helps
I still remember fondly when my husband and I would walk to the gym together and do our own workouts. It was something we shared together and kept each other motivated. We tried trail running but found we both had sports induced asthma and joint pain. Years later we wish we could still do this. It was a special time for us.
Maybe there’s a friend or a group you could join to provide support. Maybe you just want an accountability partner and check in with each other to encourage one another even if your schedules don’t jive to work out.
Having someone to support you and help you get over the initial motivation hurdle is huge. Plus you can create memories together. It could even be an annual event like a picnic and bike ride/hike outing, one of those mud runs, obstacle courses, races/fun runs etc.
May you achieve your fitness goals and be on your way to a healthier you.