My tips on staying motivated at the gym
Exercise is for many a way to stay fit and heathy; for me, it's mainly a way to take a two-hour break from Grace while she happily plays at the kids' club of my gym. Exercising at home is merely impossible (see photo)! Joking aside, despite we all know how beneficial exercise is for our body and mind, there are times when we lack of motivation and we find all sorts of excuses not to do it. I must confess that these days my excuse is that I don't want to wash my hair too frequently ( I swim most of the time).
I am not a sporty person, I've never been...ask my ex schoolmates! However, I've found my ways on how to boost a little energy and keep me on the gym floor or the swimming pool for a good hour without feeling the burden.
Eating a small snack right before hitting the gym/swimming pool has tangibly impacted my performance: I can swim for a lot longer and with much more strength without feeling hungry in the middle of my training. My go-to pre-workout snack consists of one small banana and an espresso coffee (when my heartburn allows it). The banana gives me the energy and the caffeine spikes my adrenaline which helps as a little push to get me out of the door and to the gym. Many swear by eating complex carbs for the exact same reasons and you can choose a snack based on whole-grains, an egg omelette (if you have the time to cook one), a smoothie or some carrots and humus. Whatever works for you and your tastebuds, my rule is that must be something simple and easy on your digestive system.
Love your gym outfit
It might sound silly and vain, but if you feel good and comfortable in your clothes you're more likely to wear them and not hide behind a treadmill. Colorful prints, soft fabric and the right fit are what I look for when I purchase gym outfits. Remember you don't have to spend your salary to find something you love. However, invest on a very good pair of trainers, sport bras and, if you swim, a swimsuit that covers what is supposed to cover when you swim (talking from my personal experience!!).
Bring your headphones
A fully charged phone and headphones are non-negotiable when I'm on the gym floor. I absolutely hate the treadmill, the stair master and anything like it, but at the moment I can only do light cardio. Walking on a treadmill for 30 minutes feels like an eternity. The only way that works is listening to podcasts or watching Youtube videos. I subscribe to podcast stations and YouTube channels so I only need to press ‘play’ and enjoy without spending an extra 10 min to figure out what I’d like to listen/watch. In the pool I just like counting how many lengths I swim: it could sound boring for some, but I really like tracking the distance I swim each time.
Currently, my favorite podcasts are: The Nutrition Diva, How I built this (NPR), Talking tastebuds, The Goop, The longest shortest time and Freakonomics.
Set an achievable target
Your target could be how often you want to exercise a week, taking part to a sport event or even increasing your weight lifts. Currently my plan is to train 4 times a week as I found it to be the right balance for me. As previously mentioned, swimming is my favorite exercise and I like planning the total distance swam over the week. Personally, it helps me mentally as once achieved that goal I leave the gym happy and satisfied with my training.
What motivates you to move your butt more regularly? I'd love to hear from you :)