Each and every year like clockwork, the sales start for the Holidays and then all the fitness hype lands. But in recent years, it’s all felt a little different. It feels like more of a struggle than usual to find the motivation to move, or exercise. Or is that just me?!
In years gone by, January was all about deals for joining gyms, new athleisure, all the “clean eating” bandwagons of Whole 30, Veganuary and Dry January, the challenges and the packed classes and gym floors. But things have and are continually changing.
I’ve decided that the only challenge I want to take part in though, is some self-care… to figure out how to feel my ‘Very’ best in 2023. To find the motivation and excitement in these dark, cold and wet months to generate some endorphins!
Very.co.uk always has the best and broadest range of sports & leisure products and brands you need to get the feel good factor – a few of which are featured in this post.
Reasons You Might Feel Unmotivated & How to Overcome Them
One of the best places to start when you’re struggling with motivation to exercise, is to try to figure out why that is. There could be a multitude of reasons, but I’ve got a few common ones to share with you, and some simple ways to help you get moving again.
The Post 🐼🎤 Stress Is Weighing You Down
Touch wood, I’ve managed not to start yet another year in a row with the dreaded covo. I think the anxiety surrounding trying not to get it, is stressful enough before we add on the last few years.
We lost loved ones, lost jobs, lost the ability to travel… we lost a lot. Many are working from home, with things constantly changing and all of that is energy sapping.
How to motivate yourself to Move:
I think one of the most important things to consider when related to stress, is that you need to listen to your body. Exercise itself can be a stress on the body, so ease yourself back in gradually, gently and don’t pressure yourself.
If you don’t feel comfortable returning to gyms yet, work out at home with online classes or head outside for a run or a cycle.
Try long walks on the weekend, morning meditations or yoga to build some supple strength.
The Weather Is Inspiring No-one
When you have all the best intentions of rocking up to parkrun at 9am on a Saturday, only to wake up to find it’s dark, cold and pouring down with rain, it’s no surprise you might back it off.
It’s getting darker early but each day will start getting darker a little later as we head towards the Spring and Summer months. Thankfully.
How to motivate yourself to exercise:
The best way to combat the darkness is to get your workout in before work, or during your lunch break. Make sure your vitamin D levels are adequate and I’ve found a lumi clock is a massive help to wake up in the morning.
If the weather is unwelcoming, then opt for an indoor workout. It’s always good to have options and some flexibility in your training plan to accommodate the factors that are out of your control.
You Expected Quicker Results
Patience has never been a virtue of mine, and often when we choose a goal, we want the results… yesterday. When progress doesn’t appear as quickly as we had hoped, it can be easy to lose momentum,
But being active should be a long term goal for both your physical and mental health.
How long it takes to see results varies based on lots of factors. According to Womens Health, generally you can expect to see see initial changes within four to six weeks, and actual results within eight to 12 weeks. In my experience, consistency is the number one factor that will determine how quickly you see results.
Small improvements that achieve big results:
First up, remember that you can be flexible with your goals. So do a re-evaluation to see if they are realistic – I know you know the whole SMART process. If your goals are big, hairy and audacious, then really you should only reach them 50% of the time. So don’t be too hard on yourself.
I got my hands on a Series 7 Apple Watch from Very, and I’ve loved using it on a daily basis. It aligns well with my beliefs on nailing the basics before anything else – sleep, eat, hydrate and supplement where needed.
I’ve had fun trying to close my rings each day with 30minutes of movement daily, 8 active hours and 550 ‘movement calories’. I even upgraded my apple watch straps with Diamonds (I know, right?!) from The Watch Strap Co. Pictured is the Diamond Edition Prowler in Ice White and the Fury Diamond Edition in Black.
Updating the straps is a simple way to enable you to wear your Apple Watch all day, with any outfit. Recording your daily movement and workouts can be a good way to track your progress over time and keep an eye on how long you’ve been working towards your goals.
Your Routine Got Boring
They say variety is the spice of life, and your workout routine is no different. Not only does some variety keep you from getting injured, it keeps you interested.
How to motivate yourself to exercise:
Try to vary your workouts as much as you can. If you’re a runner, add in a swim to reduce impact on your body, some weights to get strong and some yoga to stay supple. The same really if you’re a cyclist.
If you love classes, maybe mix them up. Try a barre, pilates or boxing class. Whatever you chooses to do, make sure it’s something you really enjoy. There’s nothing less motivating than going to do something you don’t enjoy.
You can also give yourself something to aim for or create a set goals. Maybe a PB weight in bodypump? Or see if you can improve the number of reps of a few exercises in a certain time?
Finally, if you’re looking for inspiration, arrange a workout with a friend. They might have a completely different routine to you or even just a different pace.
You Don’t Feel Good / Strong* Enough
*insert whatever word it is that stops you from getting moving.
How many times have you thought you’re not fit enough to go to a class, or not fast enough to join in a group ride or run? Lacking confidence can be a major motivation killer.
Who wants to go to run club and get left behind? Or get dropped straight out the gates on a Zwift ride?!
How to motivate yourself to exercise:
There are so many strategies to help you build your confidence again to exercise. First off, meet yourself where you are currently. Don’t beat yourself up over the past.
You can start gradually with home workouts, then build up the intensity or build up to gym classes / sessions.
There are lots of options, studios, classes, instructors to choose from so find beginner friendly classes to attend so you don’t feel out of your depth. Take a friend with you for support if you need it and keep trying different things /. groups till you find one that is truly inclusive and supportive.
You Went At It Too Hard
Sometimes the pressure of keeping up, or wanting to achieve our goals quickly can be too much, leading to us doing too much. This can add up and result in burn-out and overtraining. If you think you could be suffering, make sure you know the symptoms to look out for.
If you’re training without a specific aim, or not utilising the expertise of a coach, it can be easy to just get carried away. Ironically, all the symptoms of burn-out or overtraining can make it hard to muster up the motivation needed to continue – must be our bodies trying to slow us down, huh?!
How to motivate yourself to exercise:
Rest! Then get back to it. No matter how active you are, rest & recovery is a must. If you follow a training plan or have a coach, typically every 3-6 weeks, you’ll have a week of lower volume. During this time, your body gets a break from the constant high intensity so you can reap the benefits of your training so far, and get ready to continue working again.
Also make sure rest and recovery is programmed into your weekly schedule. Getting enough sleep, stretching or foam rolling are good places to start.
More Tips For Exercise Motivation
Reach Out To A Friend & Organise A Sweat Date
Who’s the friend that you would organise to go to class with? Or always see at run club? Drop your friend a message be it a text or on social media and don’t be afraid to be honest. Your friend will understand because they’ve probably been in the same situation. Soak up the pep talk they will no doubt give you and then lace up.
Organising a meet-up, or sweat date with a friend is a great way to stay accountable. Arrange to meet at run club or go to a class (even online) and go with the sole Amin of enjoying yourself and catching up with a friend. Moving and sweating can be the added bonus.
Knowing that someone else is depending on your plans is a pretty good way to reduce the risk of you sacking off your workout.
You’ll also be excited to catch up with your friend who you’ve no doubt not seen in a while especially with the current global situation and the fact we still need to be ‘adulting’.
Find Yourself A Like Minded Community
A while back, I co-hosted the #ukrunchat hour over on Twitter and although I’ve regularly dipped in and out of the community it was the first time I really got to understand the importance of it for others.
One of my questions asked what everyone’s next race or big goal was and where people got their accountability to follow through.
So many people responded saying that sharing their goals with the UKRunChat community worked for them.
You can of course also find a community “in real life” like a running / cycling / triathlon club (or whatever sport you are into!). Facebook and Eventbrite seem to be great places to find out about events taking place in your local area.
Treat Yourself To Some Decent Kit
I know this one comes up a lot and to be honest that’s probably for a good reason. Who doesn’t love having some shiny new kit to test out and fall in love with. That little bit of extra motivation to get out of the door!
But you’re not spending money just for motivation. Having the right gear can help you prevent injury (e.g running shoes), it’ll keep you feeling comfortable when it’s lightweight, it regulates your body temperature (think sweat wicking), and it can of course boost your confidence.
Share Your Goals On Social Media
I remember the time I made it my goal to run 10km in under 60 minutes and posted it on the blog. It got re-shared by the race organisers and before I knew it everyone was discussing their goal times and I started to get a little nervous about actually being able to hit my goal time.
But it made me even more committed to achieving my goal and knowing that so many other people would be sharing the course with me looking to smash their own goals!
Social media gets a bad reputation but if you curate it well and keep a balance, it can be a gold mine for support and fitness motivation. Finding yourself, or forming an online group of friends can be pretty epic!
Find The Perfect Workout Soundtrack
Nothing changes my mood quite like music does. The tracks I play in my classes are the source of my energy so it’s no surprise that you can use music for exercise motivation.
Compile a playlist of your favourite songs and get ready to sweat. A few years back I created and shared a Spotify playlist called ‘Shot of Summer’. It’s a great mix of old school summer vibes, with each being contributed by friends on Facebook and Instagram.
How do you stay accountable? And what strategies do you have for when you’re struggling with motivation?!