Friends and colleagues are surprised when I tell them I train at home. There are some sports you need a partner for, but in general I like to exercise by myself. I even don’t like when my family is at home, and I move my butt when they’re out.
So the question I often get is How do you keep yourself motivated if you exercise at home? Well, probably the same way if I trained in a gym or with a group of people. If I don’t want to do something, no power on earth will make me do it. I will always find and excuse. And no friend will drag me out of my house to run or cycle if I set my mind against such atrocity. I know there are people who like to have a training buddy to keep them going, but in my case I’m my own slave driver. I know exercising is good for my body and it makes me happy. Once I start I can’t seem to stop. The first step is always the hardest.
Here is a list of things that you can do to keep yourself going:
- Think what you want to achieve and give yourself real goals to accomplish. If you want to lose 10 kg in just two days you are bound to lose even before you start.
- If you are uncertain, write down pros and cons of exercising. Soon you will discover that the benefits overweight the disadvantages.
- Take your limitations into consideration because your age, health and the lever of your fitness are important issues to recognize before you start your training. Remember! Don’t force yourself to do things your body might consider difficult.
Getting down to it:
- Go slowly at first and don’t push yourself too hard. Injuries are often the result of overtraining. If your body can’t keep up with the exercises, rest for a few days. You will recover and start again.
- Always warm up before work-out. It will help your body to get ready by increasing your heart rate and loosening your muscles and joints.
- Don’t forget to do some stretches after training – your body will thank you for this. Stretching increases flexibility and prevents injuries.
- Don’t make excuses! If there’s a will, there’s a way. I often claim I am dead tired and too worn out to exercise, but when I force myself into my training gear and start, I can’t stop. The adrenaline and serotonin level gets high and I feel great.
- Aim high but don’t overreach yourself. Build your strength and move to a chosen pose step by step.
- Listen to your body – it will always tell you what kind of exercise it needs the most. Personally I do not plan my work-out ahead. I simply go with a flow and follow my mood. But if you like to be prepared, you can plan your week in detail and even write down the specific exercises you would like to do.
- Keep yourself entertained: doing the same workout day in and day out might be a bit boring. Find some YouTube videos and try something complete new. And who knows? Maybe it will be just the thing for you.
- If you don’t know what you would like to do, try everything. Do Zumba on Monday, Pilates on Wednesday, kickboxing on Friday and some ballet on Sunday. There’s also callanetics, belly dance, fit ball, hip hop and many more to choose from.
- Mix and have fun – when I do a short cardio workout but still have the energy to go on for some time, I switch to something completely different.
- Please don’t worry if you can’t follow the workout precisely. It is natural to be disheartened when you do the wrong moves and go left instead of right. But training at home has its advantages at times like these – there’s no one to criticize you or even laugh at you. You’ll learn the whole sequence in no time.
- Find your own way to keep fit – you don’t have to take up jogging just because your handsome neighbor does it. Unless he’s extremely sexy and you look for ways to get to know him better. If that’s the case you are excused. And it doesn’t matter that all your friends do Zumba on Thursday. You have the right to hate Zumba and opt for kickboxing instead.
- Don’t compare yourself to others – it might be true that you are the last in your yoga class, and when it comes to splits you will do yours only when you slip accidentally on the floor. But at least you are moving your body, and by doing that you are far better than your lazy cousin, who prefers a life of a coach potato. If you are hell-bent on comparing, then compare yourself to you a month ago. I am sure you will see the difference.
- Keep a diary of all your exercises and put down everything you do. It keeps me motivated. At the end of each month I count my active days and compare with other months to see my progress.
- Have a carrot and a stick policy with yourself. If I exercise I award myself with something nice – a tasty meal, a new book or a favourite film. But if I don’t train I refuse myself a certain treat. And it works.
Of course there are days when wild horses wouldn’t drag me on the mat. After all, I am a human being – I’ve got loads of vices and laziness is one of them. At such times as these I do not force myself – there’s no point.
And I never train when I’m ill or in pain. Sometimes our body fights with something days before it blows out into a full time illness. When you feel the oncoming flu or cold, don’t lose your strength on skipping and jumping – you’ll need all the strenght you’ve got to fight off the disease.
What are your ways to keep yourself going?