#FitnessFriday: 6 Ways to Beat the Exercise Blues
This week marks the end of my fourth week towards my half-marathon training. Each week I have seen my stamina grow, my confidence in myself and my abilities flourish, and the distance I can run increase by a .5 mile each long run. After working at my full-time job each day and braving the Chicago rush hour traffic to make it to the gym, I lace up my Nike Frees and slip on my headphones and get my blood pumping.
There are days when I have all of the motivation in the world. When I feel like I can push through all of the pain and my feet fly off the treads of the machine. Yet, there are those days that are the exact opposite.And man do we all know those days. The days when you wake up in the morning already thinking of the excuses as to why today is an okay day to take off from your routine. “Today is Friday – I need to celebrate!” “My muscles are sore still and need one more day of recovery.” “Today was so busy, I am too tired to give the gym my best today.” While they all may be tempting and going home and curling up on the couch for a Netflix marathon may be nice, beating your exercise blues and powering through your workout is so much more satisfying.
Now I am nowhere near an expert. There are days when I convince myself that I will work twice as hard the next day, or that I am in need of a break. These are my tips and tricks as to how on I beat those blues.
- Wear your favorite workout outfit or bright colors – Always a sucker looking for a reason to shop for new clothes, low motivation at the gym provides me with the perfect excuse to hit the Under Armor rack at Dicks to pick out new running tights (like these). Just like a bright sunny day, the right bright colored workout gear will add a splash of sunshine to your day and workout routine.
- Boost your energy with a supplement – I am a religious morning coffee drinker but after that one cup of caffeine I normally stick to water (especially after my new year’s resolution) for the rest of the day. There are those days when for some reason I need that extra little kick of energy to get me in motion. On those days, I supplement with Aminos. I mix the amino powder with water and drink half before my workout and finish the rest during. The caffeine focuses my body and allows me to train longer and harder.
- 10 minutes cardio/1 set of weights and repeat – One of the reasons why I decided to train for a half marathon is based on the fact that I get bored running for long periods of time and wanted to prove to myself I could. Sometimes running 4 miles straight for 40 minutes is just plain BORING! The one trick I have learned on days when I want to reach my goal distance, yet can not fathom the non-stop monotony of the treadmill is to break up my workout into even sections. If I am planning on running 4 miles and finishing my workout off with my strength training program, I break apart my mileage into four even parts (aka – 1-mile increments). When I finish one mile I hop off the treadmill and work my way through one set of every resistance activity I had planned for the day. When I complete I jump back on the treadmill and begin again until I have hit my 4 mile total. This process breaks up the monotony of cardio yet allows me to still complete my full workout.
- Set a workout only playlist and only listen to those songs when you’re at the gym – If you are anything like me I love to sing along to my music in my headphones as I workout. I love to match my pace to the beat of a song and get an added boost of energy when specific songs come on. I create a playlist (see what I am listening to here) specifically for those songs. Normally they are songs not played on the radio and I only hear them when I am at the gym. When I need an extra incentive to get my body moving I throw on that playlist!
- Remind yourself before you leave for the gym of your end goal – Everyone has a goal when they begin a fitness program, be it to lose weight, run a half-marathon like me, or to look your best during the summer in your new 2-peice. Sometimes when we are weeks into training we can loose track of why we started in the first place. I love to remind myself what my end goal is and how each workout is leading me to that point. This helps me to not become complacent and each workout is a MUST complete step to my end goal.
- Tell someone you know about your workout plans and promise to talk about them the next day – Who has heard that exercising with a partner helps you stay motivated? Probably everyone. I have found that is not true for me. Working out with a “buddy” become more of a social event for me than anything. To me working out with someone slows me down and becomes more of a drag than anything. What I do love to do is have a particular person that I can share my ups and downs of my workout routine with. They serve as my “buddy” without slowing down my routine.
When you find yourself plagued with the workout blues what helps you get past them? What is your go-to method of getting over your hump?