Racking up the energy and motivation to exercise can be challenging even during the best of times — let alone during a global pandemic that has forced everyone to stay indoors. And as fitness centres and gyms remain closed to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, people are turning to at-home workouts to stay active.
When stay-at-home orders were first implemented, it was easy to throw on exercise clothes and stream a free Instagram live or Zoom workout. But now that we’re passing the two-month mark, it’s becoming harder to find the motivation to complete the training session you planned.
But the truth is, squeezing in a workout — even if it’s only 30-minutes — on a regular basis is not only beneficial to your overall physical health, but it can also help alleviate some of the stress and anxiety you may be feeling under lockdown. And we get it, cranking out a workout in your tiny apartment is easier said than done. But with a little motivation, you’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish.
Read on to learn about the tips we follow to feel motivated during not only this stressful time but also when we need a little extra boost to get out the door to get our sweat on.
Remember, it’s up to you: do you want to just quarantine, or do you want to get quaranlean?
Make a routine
Like all aspects of life, adhering to a consistent schedule keeps you motivated and more likely to stick to the routine. Start each morning by planning out your day and structure in regular tasks, like working out. If you know you’re a morning person, you should tackle your workout after you wakeup or before dinner if you prefer to sleep in. By writing it down and sticking to your workout plans, you’ll not only boost your mood and have more energy, but you’ll also feel like you’ve accomplished something when you get to cross your sweat session off your list.
Set aside the right amount of time
Sure, we might be stuck at home, but your daily list of things to do can quickly fill up — tie-dying every piece of white clothing in your closet and baking banana bread eats up a lot of the day, people. This is why it’s a good idea to carve out a set block of time for your workouts, so you can still stick to your routine and enjoy all the other things you have planned. If you’re new to the fitness scene, 15-20 minutes is a great way to get started, while 45-60 minutes is better for a seasoned gym-goer.
Find the space
Whether you live in a 400 square-foot studio or a 2,000 square-foot penthouse, you need to give yourself a dedicated space to exercise. Maybe you’ll have to temporarily shuffle around your furniture to free up some room or if you’re short on space, maybe it means having your gear, towel, or yoga mat ready to go in the dedicated area before each workout. Not only will it be a good reminder to exercise frequently, but it will also be great motivation knowing that you already have your dedicated workout space ready to go.
Start your workout with a plan in place
Heading into your workout with a plan of what you want to accomplish and what you need to achieve this can prevent you from wandering around aimlessly as you search for your missing free weight or yoga mat. This potential time wasted will not only add unnecessary time onto your workout but more importantly, it will make your workout less efficient as you’re allowing your heart rate to drop.
Workout with friends and family
Research has found that working out with a buddy makes you feel more motivated to complete a workout. And just because most of us are currently living in isolation, it doesn’t mean we can’t get our sweat on with others — while practicing proper social distancing, of course. Maybe this means working out with someone you live with; trying a virtual workout over video chat or Zoom, or simply by sharing your Apple Watch activity with friends and family to keep yourself accountable. In a time when we’re spending so much time on our own, it’s nice to know you’re not totally alone, and that goes for during your workouts, too.
Only do workouts that work for you and your body
Nothing will make you feel unmotivated to workout than attempting a class or a run that is not aligned with your mood. If you feel like you’ve spent the past few days cooped up inside, you could try a cardio exercise or go outside for a run. If you’re feeling tired and more on the sluggish side, you can try something more relaxing that focuses on stretching and works on your flexibility. Do whatever puts (or keeps) you in a good mood because you’ll feel better in the long run and more motivated for your next workout.
Create a solid playlist
There’s nothing worse than falling into your perfect stride or rhythm only to be interrupted by a lacklustre song. You can avoid this altogether and pump yourself up in the process by creating your own high-energy playlist. Choose songs that have between 125 to 140 beats per minute (BMP) — which is about as fast as Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” or Britney Spears’ “ ” — which research says will not just reduce the sense of exertion but it’s also the optimal tempo to boost your stamina.
Keep track of your fitness goals
Whether your goal is something long-term like training to run a marathon; you want to be able to do 25 pushups, or maybe you just want to be able to complete a full Peleton workout without having to take any breaks — having a goal helps keep you on track. Because on the days when you’re tired or not in the mood to workout, you can just think about how good you’ll feel when you eventually get to cross the finish line or how pumped you’ll feel when you can finally fit into the pair of old jeans that have been collecting dust in your closet for years.
Don’t beat yourself up
You’re going to have good days when you feel like you can accomplish anything and bad days when all you want to do is lay on the couch and eat your body weight in Mini Eggs — and that’s okay. We’re not perfect and our motivation to work out might not always be there and when that happens, don’t beat yourself up. Take the time you need to relax and recover and pick up your fitness routine where you left off the next day.