Working out at home: 9 tips for staying motivated

Working out at home: 9 tips for staying motivated

The long months of the pandemic have become synonymous with comfort food, Netflix binges and the dreaded “COVID 15.” We get it – it's a weird, stressful time and we're all doing what we can to make our way through it. Gyms are closed, our schedules are all out of whack, and Oreos make us feel a little bit better about it all. But if you're looking to move more and eat better, fitness coach Lisa Beattie has a few tips to help you get on track.

Start by setting some goals (or reassessing your existing ones)

Think about what you want to achieve in terms of health and fitness. Would you like to be able to run 5k without wanting to die? Are you looking to relieve stress? Get arms like Michelle Obama? Or even just have a little “me time” you can feel good about?

Decide what’s most important to you, then break those big goals down into manageable chunks. “I'm going to work out more” is great, but it’s not specific enough to stick to, and can feel too big to manage. Instead, turn it into smaller, more achievable things, like taking two online fitness classes a week and one long walk with the dog. And it’s okay to change things as your needs evolve: if something isn’t working for you, switch to something that does instead of giving up completely.

Establish a routine

Knowing what you're going to do on what day offers a sense of control...something COVID has taken away from us. Pick specific times each week for your online yoga class, do a workout in your living room on Tuesdays and Thursdays after work, or meet up with a friend for a run every Saturday morning. Add these “appointments” to your calendar and stick to them just like you would a work meeting or a doctor’s visit.

At this point, the working parents out there are probably rolling their eyes and laughing at the idea of long walks or being able to work out for an hour at a time, several times a week. We know it’s not a possibility for everyone, especially now. But even if you're juggling work and childcare, you don't need huge chunks of time to work out. If you can consistently carve out even 10 minutes a day, it can make a big difference in how you feel.

Related info: 7 great apps and sites for at-home workouts

Set yourself up for success.

Pick up some basic workout equipment you can use at home. Having dumbbells and a stability ball is great, but you don't have to blow the budget on anything fancy: bands and sliders don't cost much and can really up the ante on body-weight exercises.

No space for a bunch of equipment? Don't let that deter you. There are tons of effective moves you can do with body weight alone. Think pushups, crunches, lunges, jumping jacks, planks and plank variations ...YouTube has plenty of free tips and workouts for everyone from total beginners to advanced fitness buffs. If you need weights, you can always use stuff you have around: cans of food, jugs of water, bags of cat litter, you name it.

Fitness Tracking

Find a way to track your progress

There’s nothing like seeing success to keep you going. You can keep a calendar where you check off the days when you exercise or meditate. Or you can try an app like MyFitnessPal that tracks what you eat.

A journal where you write down your mood or stress level each day can be helpful, as well as taking photos of yourself once a month. So whatever works for you. When you start to see that you can be consistent or that your clothes fit better or that you've had a long run of days where you’ve felt really positive, that's a real motivator. (Plus if you've had a rough week, you can always look back at your successes and see that it wasn't a complete write-off.)

Build-in accountability

Make it hard for yourself to bail out of a workout or a healthy eating goal. You could connect with a running buddy who will encourage you to run every Sunday or make a healthy eating pact with a friend. If losing out on money is a motivator for you, paying for a fitness class can discourage you from skipping it.

Are you a competitive type? Use that to your advantage. Challenge a friend to see who can run more miles in a week, do the most pushups, hold a plank longest or stick to an eating plan for the most days.

If you've got the budget for it, work out with a personal trainer. You can meet virtually or outdoors. Having someone who pushes you out of your comfort zone can make a big difference in how fast you make progress towards your goals.

Try something new

There's nothing like changing things up a little to keep you challenged and fresh. Always wanted to try Zumba but were too shy to show off your dance moves? A virtual class in your living room means you can really dance like nobody's watching.

Are you having trouble sleeping? Give an app like Headspace a try: it can be a helpful way to bring yourself down at the end of a busy day. Or get adventurous in the kitchen: watch some healthy cooking videos and whip up a dish or two you haven’t tried before.

Man exercising with dumbbell

Use micro-moments

Your goals don't always have to be big lofty things that take up a lot of time. Go for some small, quick wins that are easy to add to your day. You can do stretches while you wait for your coffee to brew or bang out 10 pushups before you turn on the TV each night. If you feel like it's not enough, remember that doing something is always better than doing nothing.

Reward yourself

If you're hitting your goals, say “way to go, you” by treating yourself to a new pair of lululemons, a yummy latte or a solitary walk with a great new playlist.

Give yourself some grace

Perfection isn't required to get results – just consistency. If you skip a workout or mindlessly eat an entire bag of chips one day, don't beat yourself up, just start fresh the next day. If you make healthy choices 80% of the time, you're doing great. Fitness and good eating aren't an all-or-nothing proposition, so be compassionate with yourself (without completely letting yourself off the hook, of course.)

Is it time to talk to a Condo Pro?

Looking to get into a building with a great gym or a condo with enough space for your at home workout? Now is a great time to upgrade. Contact a Condo Pro to help you figure out the right move.

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