I’m no fit-girl, by any means. I like living and eating healthy, but I do slip up! I’ve gone from proudly finishing the Cooper test to not wanting to break into a proper jog in a matter of months. But the fact of the matter is, that I feel best – body and mind – when I exercise regularly. So how do you keep motivated to do your weekly workout? How to keep fitness fun? Here are 5 tips that work well from me!
1: Set some goals (how ever small they might be)
This is one of the most important ways to keep fitness fun and interesting. Setting yourself a goal – and reaching it – after some honest hard work isn’t only great for your motivation: It also improves your self-esteem. Although losing weight is one of the most popular goals people set for themselves, I prefer picking a long-term option like improving my stamina or general strength. Instead of building up a love/hate relationship with the scale, I recommend concentrating on goals you can actually achieve while working out (temporarily excluding other factors like your diet or your current schedule). Examples are working towards running an X amount of miles without pause, or lifting an X amount of weight during a particular exercise. These goals are clear and achieveable, rather than abstract like “being able to run half a marathon” or “getting ripped”.
2: Log your progress
Don’t underestimate the power of watching yourself progress! Some gyms provide electronic keys which precisely keep track of your cardio workouts. But when it comes to strength training, you often have to find your own solution. There are several apps which help you log your gym activities but lately I’ve been using a good old-fashioned notebook. I permanently keep it in my gym-bag so I’m always able to write down the amount of weight I last used during particular exercises, and how many repetitions I did. It will amaze you how much this will speed up your progression, as we tend to stick to familiar territory – even when it comes to adding a couple of kilo’s or minutes to our workout.
3: Get pumpin’ with some good music
Numerous regulars at the gym already know that the music in the fitness room isn’t always going to be to your taste. The obvious solution is to bring your own music. But instead of putting your entire collection on shuffle, consider creating a designated sports playlist. Some tunes can provide a great rhytm for your cardio, and others can really get you pumped for a good lift*. Also consider investing in a good set of headphones; I got a pair of good quality earbuds for the gym and a pair of headphones especially designed for running.
* I took a note from the mister’s book and put some heavy metal music on my iPod; it works wonders to unleash a bit of anger to get things done!
4: Don’t wear your second-best
I used to grab an old t-shirt and a pair of sweats from the shelf when heading to the gym. But when you read up on it, most (women) will agree that looking nice increases your mood and confidence, even at the gym. Invest in some nice looking, well-fitting outfits to wear, that make you feel ‘like you’*.
* My go-to store for sports-clothing is H&M. They sell great pieces at low prices all year around, for activities like fitness, yoga, running and even outdoor sports. Don’t be put off by skimpy tops in neon colors (if those aren’t your thing); my go-to items are yogapants, sweats and leggings in neutral colors like black, grey and navy, which I combine with basic tops and fun print t-shirts (some of which I got from the regular collection).
5: Value personal care after your workout
I used to pick my showerproducts like I chose my sports-outfit; from an unassorted bunch of leftovers. But honestly, there’s little more rewarding than using your favorite showergel* after a good workout, rather than a bottle you never seem to be able to finish at home. Also consider putting some of your favorite shampoo or facial cream in a travel bottle; that way you’ll leave the gym clean and content.
* One of my post-workout favorites is the samurai shower gel by Rituals. It’s cooling effect is really refreshing, especially during summer!
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How do you keep your workout fun? Please share your tips with us!