I think it’s safe to assume that everyone reading this knows (or has come across) someone who obsesses over working out. Do you ever watch them strut into the gym and envy their strong and deep-seeded desire to lift exceptionally heavy things and run for miles of end? Yeah, me neither…
Now, if you are one of those people, I do genuinely applaud you. I do whole-heartedly respect individuals with drive and passion like that. Those of us who are not in tip top shape may just be a tad jaundiced that we don’t have the time or energy or innate desire that you possess. Some of us just know we need a little exercise to stay healthy, some of us are trying to get to that gym-rat status, and some of us just need a little extra help getting motivated.
I’m learning to like my gym visits more and more, but I’ve spent months crafting my workouts to fit my personality (which I suppose could be described as selectively enthusiastic). I have never leapt out of bed in the morning looking forward to a workout. I have never sprung into the gym doors grinning ear to ear ready to ride a stationary bike ten miles. What I have done is spent my entire life looking, not necessarily for the “easy way out” but for the more resourceful way IN. You know those click-bait articles that boast “Try these hacks to finish cleaning in half the time!” or “Ten simple hacks that will change your life!” — yeah, I live for those.
So, with that lovely, lengthy intro, here are your lazy-person approved fitness tips! Props to you if you got this far and didn’t just scroll down to the beginning of the list! 😉
1. Get yourself a workout buddy
Even if you prefer to actually exercise by yourself, finding someone who will keep you accountable for just getting to the gym is a step in the right direction! Better yet, find someone else who has read this list and is ready to get their butts in gear. You could meet your new best friend this way. Maybe even your soul mate. You never know.
It’s a lot easier to hold yourself accountable if you feel like someone else is relying on you. It’s also nice to be able to share your successes with someone who can really appreciate the hard work you’re putting in. If you’re the competitive type, a little friendly competition might be what you need to really push yourself.
Additionally, maybe you go with someone who works out in a completely different way than you and you can each try a few new things. Never been to yoga? Maybe it’s time to give it a shot! Have a friend who’s been begging you to come to a BodyPump class? Nows your chance to try it out! You might surprise yourself and find a new style of fitness that you really enjoy.
2. Make a solid workout playlist 💥
I don’t see many people working out these days without headphones on. If working out with music helps keep up your tempo, pumps you up, and helps you through a sweat session, then bring on the tunes! I particularly like a good playlist during cardio workouts, like running, cycling, rowing, etc.
What I’ve found helps me the most is making a playlist that is the length of the workout I’m planning to do. Sometimes I find myself on the treadmill watching as the time ticks by or feeling defeated when I feel like I’ve been running forever and it says I haven’t even each my first mile! If your planning to run or jog for thirty minutes, find ten great upbeat songs that you can’t help but nod along to and by the time that tenth song has played through, you should be done with your workout!
If you’re a Spotify fan, they have hundreds of workout playlists tailored to each style of music – there’s a rock and roll workout playlist, there’s running playlists, even some country workout playlists for you honky-tonk lovers! (If you’re using Spotify for the first time, find the “browse” icon at the bottom of the screen, scrolls down to “genres & moods”, and scroll until you find “Running” or “Workout”)
3. Catch up on your favorite shows/movies
Cardio is hardio, yo. We all know it. I’ve started using my cardio time (when I’m in the gym and not attempting to run outside) to catch up on my favorite TV shows. This one does require a smartphone or a tablet with Netflix/Hulu/On Demand or downloaded content. If I know I want to use the elliptical or stationary bike for 30 minutes, I’ll throw on an episode of Black-ish or Modern Family and the time passes a lot quicker.
For an extra boost of motivation, ONLY watch your favorite show when you’re working out. Netflix just added the new season of Orange is the New Black? Better get to the treadmill!
You don’t have to go to the gym or have a membership for this one, either! You can find a bodyweight exercise circuit that fits your needs (legs, abs, arms, etc) and workout in the privacy of your living room while streaming your favorite show!
4. Buy that book you’ve been hearing about 📕
Similar to Tip #3 but for fellow bibliophiles! I have found that the stationary bike, particularly the ones with the backrests, are perfect for catching up on reading. I’ll start reading without setting a time limit or goal on the bike and before I know it I’ve been reading and workout out my thunder thighs for 45 minutes. Again, limit yourself to reading only when you’re working out and you’ll find your way to the gym even faster when you’re looking forward to the next chapter.
If you’re really looking to tone your legs and enjoy cycling for exercise, try increasing the resistance on the bike for a few minutes each time you crack open the book. If you ride for thirty minutes, increase the resistance/intensity every ten minutes. The more you keep this up, the more you’ll notice strengthening in your legs.
I made a workout plan designed around my most recent reading endeavor, you can read it here –> Bibliophile Fitness
Challenge: Find three books you know you won’t be able to put down. ONLY read them at the gym. Ride for 30-45 minutes each session, increasing the resistance every 10-15 minutes. For the first book start at resistance 1-3, for the second book, try resistance 3-5, for the third book, try resistance 5-7. Optional, take some sweet before & after pictures and post them for #TransformationTuesday!
5. YouTube your way to FIT
The brilliant thing about YouTube (or the most dangerous part) is that there’s a video for almost everything. If you can’t bring yourself to get to the gym, don’t want to spend money on a gym membership, or you’ve tried running outside and found that it’s not really your style, try working out at home! You don’t need to spend money on monthly subscriptions, you can do it absolutely free (as long as you have access to YouTube, that is).
Looking for a 15 minute morning cardio workout to start your day? Type in “15 minute cardio workout” and you’ll find hundreds of options. Looking for some mobility exercises for a tight lower back or shoulder stiffness? Type in “mobility exercises”. Wanna master the crow pose and show off to your Yogi friends? Type in “yoga for crow pose”. You get the picture, right? There is a video for every kind of workout: Zumba, pilates, cross fit, kickboxing, barre workouts, body pump – you name it, I bet they have it. (Stay tuned for my post: A Months Worth of Workouts on YouTube)
Keep in mind, it does take quite a bit of motivation to work out on your own at home. It’s easy to just skip a workout if you can just sit on the couch and flick over to Netflix instead of YouTube. Don’t let yourself skimp on the workouts just because no ones watching! Remember that gym buddy? Maybe you and your frugal friend can find somewhere you can do these video workouts together and still motivated and hold each other accountable!
6. Set goals & reward yourself! 🎁
There are a few different ways you can do this, you can:
- Set a goal for yourself that is not necessarily tied to a fitness goal but just a consistency goal. Reward yourself appropriately! For example, commit yourself to going to the gym 3 times a week, an hour a day, for a month. At the end of that month, buy yourself some new workout gear! If you make it to all twelve sessions, buy a new pair of yoga pants. If you have found a class that you really enjoy, BodyPump for example, set a number of classes you want to finish as your goal and buy a new pair of Nikes when you reach that goal!
- I had my husband help me with this. I bought a new pair of Nikes at DSW that I had been eyeing for about a month. I begrudgingly handed them over to my husband, unworn and still in the box. I set a goal for myself to cycle every weekday for a month (a rather far-reaching first goal, but I REALLY wanted those shoes). I then let my husband keep the shoes until I had completed the goals, and DANG if it didn’t feel good when I put those puppies on for the first time.
- Set a fitness related goal:
- Run a mile in under 8 minutes
- Successfully do ten pull-ups
- Cycle for 15 minutes on Level 10 resistance
- I don’t necessarily recommend a goal like “losing x amount of pounds” because it can get discouraging if that goal takes too long, and often times when you begin to build muscle, you won’t be losing as much weight as you’d like even though you’re losing a lot of fat! BUT this kind of goal does have success for people as well!
- It doesn’t have to be an expensive reward, either! I found myself spending a wee bit too much of my hard-earned money feeding a devilish Starbucks addiction (not to mention, my sugar intake was probably at pre-diabetic levels). I started cutting back more and more and got to a point where I was getting Starbucks once a month and ONLY if I’d accomplished my fitness goal for the month. A $5 reward at the end of the month, but it was soooo satisfying!
These little hacks might not turn you into a die-hard fitness fan, but they just might make you dread your workouts a little less. Try them out and let me know what worked and what didn’t work for you!
As always, thank you for reading, and try to spread some happiness today!