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3 ways to stay motivated after a fitness retreat

After every big high, there’s almost always a big low, amiright? It’s like Newton’s third law of motion — for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction. Unfortunately, this applies to just about everything — the fight with a loved one after the “perfect” day, the hangover after an epic night out, and even the dip in motivation after an incredibly motivating fitness vacation.

The good news is that it’s easier to correct the dips once you know they’re coming. If you just came off a big fitness retreat or an adventure trip of a lifetime, expect to go through a few days of feeling down, but don’t just wallow in your blues — take steps to right the boat and keep your fitness fire alive.

Sign up for a new class or experience

One of the best parts about an adventure vacation is that it takes you out of your comfort zone and forces you to try new things. There’s an excitement and thrill that comes with fresh experiences, which is precisely why you should immediately sign up for a new class or program when you get home from your trip — you need something else to look forward to.

The trick here is not to go overboard. There’s no reason to immediately spend tons of cash on a whole new gym membership or a six-month series of ballroom dance lessons. Start small and sign up for a one-time pass to the kickboxing studio around the corner from you. You’ll look forward to the new class without regretting an overzealous knee-jerk cash outlay.

If you love the experience and want to keep shuffling your workout to help you stay fired up, consider enrolling in a workout passport membership, like ClassPass, that enables you to test drive lots of fitness workouts in your area for a pre-determined price.

Schedule a fit date with a friend

If heading to the gym to do your same ol’ workout sounds terrible after a fun weekend away (what’s the Soul II Soul song say? “Back to life, back to reality…”), then enlist a friend to go with you. Planning a partner workout works on a couple of levels. First, you have the built-in accountability of your waiting friend; it’s a whole lot harder to skip your gym time if you have to cancel on your pal. Second, you’ll have your friend there to help motivate and encourage you to push harder and keep going, injecting new life into your regular routine.

Bonus tip: If you really want to turn your first workout back into a calorie-burner, ask a friend you perceive as being just a tiny bit fitter than you to join you. Research from Kansas State University in 2012 found that exercising with someone that’s just a little bit better than you can increase workout time and intensity by as much as 200 percent.

Get some new gear

Remember when you were a kid and as soon as you got new athletic shoes you would run outside to see if they’d make you run faster and jump higher? There’s nothing quite like the look and feel of new exercise gear to encourage you to put them to use. Go ahead and invest in a new pair of yoga pants or a killer sweat-wicking tank top. You don’t have to spend a lot of money: Target, T.J. Maxx and Nordstrom Rack typically have cute options at affordable prices.

Find adventures in your area

There’s a reason fitness retreats are considered vacations — they’re an anomaly, a break from your normal schedule. As much as you might like to leave reality every weekend, most of us simply don’t have the option. What you can do, though, is plan a mini-retreat once a month or every other month to help recreate the sense of adventure you felt on your weekend away.

Find national or state parks in your area and take a day trip to hike, swim, climb and explore. Sign up for a local adventure club (check out to search by interest or download the Gociety app to find adventurers near you) and tag along during group outings. Most local REIs also host classes and outings to help make new experiences accessible and comfortable for beginners.

The point is to take your newfound excitement for exercise, for enjoying the abundant life that fitness gives you, and applying it on a regular basis. Your body — and this great, wonderful world — are meant to be put to use.

This post is sponsored by vitaminwater zero and SheKnows.

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