It’s always difficult to get your body to do what your mind is thinking, especially if your will power isn’t so strong. Exercise is indeed an intimidating word and covers a lot of various aspects of a workout, which is something one can get lost in very easily.
Cardio? Strength training? Yoga? HIIT? Zumba? A myriad of options can eaily confuse (and, admit it, intimidate) the lazy person in you, so check out these fitness hacks for those who are just dipping their toes in the world of fitness and exercise.
Find out what you like. Think of exercise as a buffet. Don’t be afraid to try different classes and explore life outside your comfort zone. If you’re an introvert, you might want to do yoga classes or at home, or go for jogs or long walks before leveling up to running. Check out local listings for different types of exercise classes and see if there are any free trial options. This way, you get a taste of everything, then narrow down or focus on what you end up enjoying the most.
If you already have a favorite fitness activity to do, make sure you do it in the morning, to get it out of the way. NYC trainer and group fitness instructor explained to Buzzfeed, “If working out isn’t your thing AND you’re not a morning person, then working out in the morning just isn’t going to happen. First try to make a habit of setting aside time. If your goal is to work out in the mornings, start getting up at 6 – 6:30 a.m. and just do things around the house or make yourself breakfast. Then after a few weeks when your body starts to get used to it, start gradually using that time to work out.”
Do away with the equipment! Working out doesn’t need to be expensive. If the cost of gym memberships discourages you, opt for equipment-free exercise and rely on your body weight to create the tension for you. Popsugar rounds up a number of upper-body, lower-body, core and plyometric exercises that women can do without any equipment. A similar list for men can be found at Men’s Fitness.
Keep your mind off the time it takes to workout. Instead, focus on getting started. A great tip for repetitions is to count downwards–for example, if you’re doing 15 reps for one aerobic move, count down from 15 instead of upward from 1. This way, your mind focuses on how many reps is left, and not how many more you have to do.
Keep comfortable. Invest in a good pair of shoes (whether it’s for running, dancing, or just going to the gym), and clothing that will make you feel great and inspire you to get off the couch and do your workout.
Multitask. Popsugar recommends doing three-minute workouts between binge-watching your favorite shows. Livestrong recommends, “If you find it difficult to become motivated, put the treadmill in front of the TV, and walk while watching.” Personal trainer and founder of ReModel Fitness, Jessi Kneeland also recommends to take a walk if you know you’re taking on a lengthy phone call. She told Buzzfeed, “It’s a mindless and easy way to get an hour of exercise in during a time that you’d be doing nothing anyway.”
Have realistic expectations and attainable goals. Don’t set the bar too high for yourself. ReModel trainer Will Lanier explains, “It’s great to have goals but one of the most important things is to keep them realistic…It’s important to understand that it takes time for anyone to make things happen, and that getting down on yourself is only going to hurt you in the long run.”
In line with creating attainable goals, keep a calendar to keep track of your progress. “Make simple goals, like move for 20-minutes a day, and mark down all the days that you successfully do it. If you commit to a goal of doing that for 30 days, eventually it will become a habit and your body will start wanting to do it,” Lanier said.
Create a workout playlist. There’s nothing quite like getting pumped up by music. A study published in 2009 revealed that “motivational synchronous music can elicit an ergogenic effect and enhance in-task affect during an exhaustive endurance task,” according to NCBI.
Do not, under any circumstances, force yourself to participate in fitness activities that you don’t want to do. Kneeland said, “Don’t do something that makes you miserable. It will only make you hate exercise that much more and you won’t ever want to do it.” Instead, engage in fitness activities that you enjoy whether alone or in a group, where you can meet new people. Inspire yourself by following fitness gurus and experts on Instagram or any social media platform you prefer. Read up on successful stories and visualize your own. Remember a step in the right direction today will lead you to your goals down the road. All you need is a little patience and discipline. Surround yourself with people who will support you and your goals.