Happy 2018! With every new year comes plans, goals, and resolutions for a better year to come. Often times these are paired with living a healthier lifestyle and trying to improve one’s life in general. Now if anyone is like me, they will retreat inside at the first sight of cold and cut off all outdoor activity (unless it is in the mountains of course, which let’s face it is not always doable working 8-5 weekdays ). For me, from spring to fall it is easy to stay motivated and get outside, but once the cold hits my running takes a long-term hiatus or hibernation as I like to call it.
Here are some of my tips and tricks for staying motivated and getting back into exercising after some time off:
- Do not expect yourself to have the same stamina or athleticism you had when you left. I know this one may sound obvious, but I always get down when I see my time increase and my distance decrease. Remember even a couple of weeks away from exercise can set you back, so don’t be defeated. Start fresh and set new targets and milestones.
- Find something you love. In the past when I have done winter training, I have dreaded logging miles on the treadmill and when it is far below freezing running outside is no longer an option*. Instead, I turned to Spin Classes to keep my stamina up and Yoga classes for core training. Both of them I was actually excited to attend and would motivate me at 6am when it was a little too cold outside because I genuinely enjoyed them. Working out should be fun, not a chore.
- Workout with Friends. Not only will working out with someone keep you accountable to going (i.e don’t be a flake), but it is also an amazing excuse to catch up with friends and make key time for those important to you.
- Start Slow. There is no point going back to, or starting at a gym/new exercise/workout regime in full force. Your body needs to be eased back into it, so take it slow and start off with a few warm-up weeks consisting of multiple sessions a week. The last thing you want to do is get an injury the first day.
- Find what Motivates You Now. I am talking in the moment, while long-term goals are amazing to have, they likely won’t get you off the couch in the moment. For me, this is a killer playlist either consisting of uppity beats or motivational speakers that never fail to force me to workout (I have also in the past saved some of my favorite songs just for working out, you have to do whats necessary when the couch is just so comfortable).
- Everyone is different. My best friend can lace up her shoes after 3 months off and run a 5K in under 30. Me on the other hand, I am not sure I would even make it 2.5K. What I am saying is that no two people are the same and some people are naturally faster, stronger and better at certain things than others, do not let this discourage you. Focus on yourself and your achievements and goals because those are what will push you through the tough days, not the comparisons.
- Treat Yourself. If you are going to make a commitment to yourself and put in the work towards a goal, then you definitely deserve a treat (or two) along the way. This can be anything from a decadent meal you’ve worked hard for or a fancy new workout outfit or maybe even the dress you’ve been eyeing for some time.
- Train for an Event. Having a big milestone, like in the case of running a race, is a huge motivator to make sure you stick with it. I always sign up for spring races at the start of winter to ensure I stick with it and hold myself accountable.
Remember that no matter what or why you’ve decided to start, you did it and that is so much more than many can say. And when you feel like stopping, always remember why you started in the first place.
These are just a few of my tips that I find help me to stay motivated and get back into it after some time off. I’d love to hear what your tips are for motivating yourself to get back into it or startup!