It’s hard to put a definitive start date on my fitness journey, but if I had to based on consistency, I would say January 2015. But let me back up. In college, I enjoyed trying new fitness classes, going for runs, and doing light weightlifting. I’ve always liked the idea of being a “gym person,” but I didn’t always know exactly what that meant or how to really make a difference in my strength and health. I would say I dabbled in fitness, but I wasn’t very consistent except for the yoga classes my mom and I took together (which I highly recommend!).
In January 2015, I asked a friend to do Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping with me (sounds very hardcore I know). It was a 10 week program that focused on both fitness and nutrition through alternating days of kickboxing and strength training 6 days a week, as well as a daily food journal and coaching. I knew I loved kickboxing, and I felt like this program was just the right amount of accountability that would kick my butt in gear and get me going on the right path. I was super happy when my friend decided to do it with me, because that gave me even greater motivation and accountability.
I learned so much through that program about feeding your body right, working out consistently, and really pushing yourself. But after it ended and I decided not to join the annual membership, I found myself back to dabbling in different things. I wouldn’t say that’s a terrible way to get fit, because it does offer variety, but seriously, the magic is in consistency. In November 2015, I found my next accountability program through Instagram, which was Tone It Up, and I haven’t turned back. There’s so much I could say about Tone It Up, but one of the most important things is the community and support that I’ve found through this program. I’m not even a member of the nutrition plan program yet (probably soon!), and I don’t do the workouts exclusively (I still do my own thing and my own classes), but just being a part of the community on Instagram and sharing in each other’s joys and challenges, offering advice, and finding new workouts and recipes has definitely been helpful in my journey.
So now that you know a little bit about my background, there are a few things I’ve learned along the way about motivation for getting to (and staying at!) the gym. Guys, I know it’s not easy. I know all too well how easy it is to get off work, tired and knowing you still have a million things to do, finishing those things and just sitting on the couch to finally relax, and then feeling guilty that another day without working out has gone by. I. totally. get. it. But you and your mental and physical health is SO worth it, even just for 20 minutes a day. Here are some things that have worked for me, and just for fun, I’m sharing some of my Insta posts from my fitness account, @tacos_and_triceps. Enjoy!
1. Tone It Up
See? I told you there’s so much I could say about this. But trust me here. Look for @toneitup and @karenakatrina on Instagram and just start scrolling. I promise you’ll start mustering up the motivation you need to get in the car and check into the gym – or put your running shoes on and get outside! In the same breath, I’m not saying that Tone It Up is the only or best program for you personally, just sharing where I found some support and accountability!
2. Find your mantra.
One thing I like to tell myself is “you’re only disappointing yourself,” as in “no one else is going to lose sleep over the last set you didn’t do or the exercise you skipped because it’s your least favorite or the 10 minutes you spent in the sauna instead of doing extra booty moves.” Maybe this kind of self-deprecation is a little harsh, but it works for me. Extra points for repeating your mantra in Jillian Michaels voice.
3. Find an accountability partner.
I’m so thankful I have a built in one of these because I live with my boyfriend, because otherwise I’d probably be watching more Netflix and doing less squats. I know this is advice that’s ever-present in motivational workout articles, but it’s so helpful and true. You don’t even have to go to the gym with your accountability partner; you just need someone who will check in with you and see IF you went, what you ate that day, etc. You can choose how personal you want to get with this, but I promise being honest and vulnerable can do wonders for your progress and confidence.
4. Eat better.
Duh. Although an obvious suggestion, I really do find that what I eat during the day really affects my time at the gym, and my motivation to get there!
5. Give yourself a time frame or designated number of exercises.
It can be something like, “okay, if I can just workout for 30 minutes, I will feel accomplished” or “if I can just get through 3 sets of each of these 6 exercises, I will feel badass and strong.” Set goals (big or mini!) to get through each workout.
6. Find a good playlist, or create one.
Music pushes me through many of my workouts, and it’s fun to discover new music while you’re at it. One of the Spotify stations I stumbled upon is Hot Rhythmic. It can be a little hit or miss depending on your mood, but overall I really like it. Lately I’ve been acting as my own personal spin instructor (when I don’t make it to class). I put my headphones in, turn on a playlist, and start timing my RPMs to the beat and adjusting my resistance based on certain time intervals or parts of the songs. Since I’ve been going to spin class at least once a week, I have my instructor’s voice in my head to keep me pushing through!
7. Mix it up and try new things.
Another pretty standard piece of advice I’m sharing here, but it’s the truth! I go to L.A. Fitness, and I used to be a little hesitant about trying their fitness classes. I don’t know why, maybe bias from other classes or gyms I’ve been to? Anyways, one day I decided to try bootcamp, and it’s turned out to be one of the best classes for me. The instructor teaches crossfit outside of L.A. Fitness, so sometimes I feel like death is upon us in those 45 minutes, but it really pushes me mentally and physically to work harder than I often would by myself. My latest accomplishment: I can hold a handstand for 8 rounds of 20 second intervals! Wall assistance included, but still a major accomplishment.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the things that work for me, nor all the things that will work for you! And I’m not even saying all of them are revolutionary! Just sharing what has worked for me and hoping it may help one of you too. Start with one of the tips then incorporate new ones and make adjustments along the way. You got this.
How do you stay motivated before and during a workout?