Every day we wake up and know that we should eat better, sleep more, stress less and go work out. The pressure to look your best and feel your best is so extreme that it sometimes is just too overwhelming. Instead of enjoying working out, we loathe it sometimes. We go to the gym to punish our bodies instead of to empower them. For a very long time, I thought the gym was meant to be torture — I would literally say to myself, “Get yourself in there, you slob, and go run for an hour.” I would bash my body, and even if I had an awesome workout, I never left feeling good about myself. I just felt like “OK, that’s what you’re supposed to do. Now go home and eat carrots and do it again tomorrow.”
It was a terrible battle for years, and I never truly enjoyed the gym or my workouts because I wasn’t in the right mindset, at all. I am sure you have all either been there or are there right now. You don’t always look at your body as a work in progress. You nit-pick, you tug at body parts, you self-destruct — but here are some tips on how I have been working to be more motivated to go to the gym and work out. I hope they can help you and keep you in a great, positive place, which is ultimately what you will need to stick to any routine — whether inside or outside of the gym.
The gym is not meant to be a torture chamber
It’s a personal choice to go, so if you’re going to be there, you might as well enjoy it. No one said in order to be healthy you have to do things you hate. If going into a physical gym is not for you, find a way to be active that makes you get up and get excited about. Maybe it’s going for a long walk with the dog, rollerblading or taking a boxing class. Whatever makes you tick, go do that! If you are going to spend an hour anywhere, don’t you think you should want to be there?! Pick an activity and place you feel good, comfortable and empowered to be your best self.
Get an amazing set of workout clothes
This might seem a bit vain, but I get the best workout when I lay my gear out and actually like what I’m going to be training in. Ever wear a pair of workout shorts or pants that were way too tight or were riding up your behind? Probably didn’t have a great workout, right? You also probably felt super self-conscious. Make sure that what you wear makes you feel freaking amazing! You don’t have to go spending a fortune either, ladies — I get most of my workout gear at TJ Maxx or Forever 21. (Nike gear I usually just get on Amazon, like sneakers and hats.)
Make an awesome workout music playlist
Nothing keeps me going in the gym, pushing for another rep or adding a few more minutes to my cardio, like an awesome set of tunes. I like to use the iHeartRadio app or Pandora to just let the app choose music for me. I love to listen to club and EDM music to work out, but I also download random songs that I love and put them on repeat (I am infamous for playing a song over and over for an entire workout if I really love it).
Log your progress
Whether it’s taking a weekly progress photo that only you see, using your phone’s notepad to mark big accomplishments or using MyFitnessPal to monitor your goals, seeing a visual reminder of where you’ve been and where you’re going is always a great idea. Sometimes I scroll through old images and remind myself, “Hey, look where you were a few months ago — stop being so hard on yourself!” When you look in the mirror every day, you won’t notice it, but if you put a photo side by side from months ago, you will and you’ll feel proud!
Exercise with a friend or a spouse
Find a workout buddy, if that works for you, to keep you accountable and to stay motivated. Some people need someone else to push them a bit and to get them off the couch — that’s OK! I personally love to work out alone, but that’s me. Even if my husband and I go to the gym together, we say “See you after your workout” and go our separate ways. Do what works for you, but joining a workout class or going with a girlfriend will surely keep you motivated.