Not every day is a day you wake up ready to run a marathon. Finding your workout motivation is a complicated combination of habits, goal-setting, and triggers. To support you on those wrong-side-of-the-bed days, we asked Benjamin Alldis, Peloton UK cycling instructor who’s used to balancing a busy schedule of life and fitness what he does to stay motivated over the rough patches and how you can get yourself psyched to do a workout when you really don’t feel like it.
Start As You Mean to Go On
The first step can be the hardest one to take, but it’s also the most important: “Just get started and let the workout motivation catch up with you,” says Ben. And where does that motivation come from? Sometimes it’s outside factors–and other times, it’s deeply personal. For instance, Ben says, food is life. “It’s quite simple, I love food, so working out gives me balance, allowing me to enjoy good food, guilt free. On top of this, exercise often leads me to craving more healthy and wholesome food on the whole, so it’s a win win.” Other stimuli like music can help bring energy and excitement to your daily workout. “One of the simplest things I do when I feel low in energy or motivation is to play music that is upbeat and/or inspires me in some way. A break with a few songs or working while listening to them for a while usually works well,” says Ben. But on a deeper level, you have to remind yourself of your “why.” “When you’re feeling unmotivated and low in energy it’s easy to lose sight of why you’re doing something. So take 2 minutes and write down your top 3 reasons why working out is important to you,” says Ben. “Put that note where you can see it every day or keep it in your smartphone for easy access when you need a motivational boost.” You can also motivate yourself to get going again by looking at the negative impact of staying on your current path. “Ask yourself: What will the consequences be if I continue on this path for 1 more year? And if I do if for 5 more years? I have found that this exercise has given me the kick-start I needed many times in the past years.”
Maintain the Gains
As many Members know, maintaining a workout routine is a lot easier than starting one. The trainers’ secret for staying on track are simple, but key. First, says Ben, find a workout time that works for you, and do your best to stay consistent to that. “I like to workout in the morning to make sure I get it completed before any distractions or complications come my way. But life does sometimes get in the way and sometimes you will have to regig and pivot from time to time. That is absolutely ok, as long as you make it your priority and get it in.” Ben journals daily and his workout is always one of the top things on his priority list, often noting down who he will be connecting with for a workout that day and that week. Those workout partners create accountability via social media, phone or in real life. “Ask one or more of them to regularly check up on you and your progress. By doing this you’ll be a lot less likely to try to weasel out of things or give up at the first obstacle,” says Ben. And while you’re journaling, use that time to go deeper into what you really want. “Are you hoping to lose weight? Boost your energy? Sleep better? Manage a chronic condition? Write down your goals,” says Ben. “You may also find that it helps to keep an exercise diary. Record what you did during each exercise session, how long you exercised and how you felt afterward. Recording your efforts and tracking your progress can help you work toward your goals and remind you that you’re making progress.”
Getting Back On The Horse
“If you simply cannot bring yourself to workout today, it’s absolutely fine to take a day off, so my advice would be to simply accept it and embrace it,” says Ben. However, really commit to the pretence and make it your mission to give yourself every opportunity to make tomorrow a 110% day.” Pack out the fridge with healthy food, buy yourself some new workout gear, make sleep and rest & recovery your focus. Schedule in tomorrow’s workout, rejuvenate and come out all guns blazing going into tomorrow,” says Ben. “The most important thing about an off day is making sure it doesn’t turn into two or three off days. So how can you ensure your days off don’t break your routine? It all starts with planning ahead–book the next day’s workouts, pre-plan your food prep, and find a tribe to support you. “All of these things should be a priority in your daily and weekly routine to operate at your optimal. If you manage them wisely you start to see the benefits impacting across the rest of your life,” says Ben. Work with the people who inspire you to build achievable and attainable goals into your training plan, or use some of the tools at your disposal to give a new shape to your workouts. “The Peloton challenges are an amazing tool to use to stay accountable to yourself,” says Ben. After each exercise session, take a few minutes to savor the good feelings that exercise gives you. “This type of internal reward can help you make a long-term commitment to regular exercise,” says Ben. “External rewards can help too. When you reach a longer range goal, treat yourself to a new pair of trainers or new to new headphones to workout with. Think FUN and VARIETY when it comes to your workouts. Do something you enjoy, be sure to mix it up and soon your weaknesses will become your strengths.”