How to get motivated to train at home

“The best home workout program is only as good as your motivation.”

Here’s a simple way to help you get fired up:

But motivation isn’t easy, even with an in-person trainer. Following an online program is harder but working out consistently at home is the hardest of all!

That’s true even if you choose to exercise at home. When something like the corona virus pandemic in 2020 forces you to turn your living room into a home gym, motivation can be a monumental challenge.

Fortunately, there’s a way to get you moving on the days when you feel stuck.

Setting the stage for successful home workouts:

• Set up a dedicated space for your home workouts.
• Schedule time in your calendar, as you would if you were training with me in person.
• Take advantage of the benefits of home exercise, like blasting any music you want, or wearing clothes you would never be caught dead in outside your house.

The problem is that, despite your best intentions and your best guidance, you struggle to follow through.

In my experience, the problem often comes down to an all-or-nothing mentality. You believe there’s no point even starting if you can’t do the entire workout. If you don’t think you have the energy or focus for 40 or 50 minutes of exercise, why bother?

That’s where this one simple prompt comes in handy.

The value of just getting started

Here’s my request: “Can you give it five minutes?”

Or, alternatively:

“Can you do one exercise?”

If you still aren’t feeling it after five minutes [or one exercise], that’s it. You’re done. You gave it a shot, and this just isn’t your day.

Now comes the most important part:
However, if you start to feel better after five minutes [or one exercise], try another five minutes [or one more exercise]. And if you feel even better after 10 minutes [or two exercises], keep going. Don’t think about anything but the next five or 10 minutes [or the next one or two exercises].
If you finish the workout, that’s awesome. If you don’t, hey, at least you did something on a day you didn’t feel like doing anything. Either way, we’ll call it a win.

The “just do five minutes” or “just do one exercise” prompt addresses multiple challenges:
• It’s easy to remember.
• It shrinks the change, minimizing the barrier to taking action and moving forward.
• It reframes “success.” Instead of feeling like a failure if you don’t complete the workout, something is better than nothing, and something more is better than something less.
• It will get you moving and the juices flowing. I know it’s really hard for those of you who use to train in a gym, and fed off the energy of the gym, and miss being around people.

One more tip:
• Pick your two favourite songs. Press play and start exercising. When the songs end, your workout ends.
If you want to continue, that’s two more songs. If you don’t, give yourself a high five.
Using songs as a timer works best without traditional sets and reps.

Music also functions as a motivator, which is both intuitive and backed by research. Working out with music increases mood and effort and reduces perceived exertion.

Final thoughts:
I can sum it up in four words: Action first, motivation second.

As Newton said, a body in motion stays in motion. It’s easier to keep going than to get going. Thus, if you can get moving, even if it’s just for a few minutes, chances are you’ll feel better about the task, and your ability to do it.

But even if you decide to stop after one exercise or five minutes, at least they did something. And that still counts.

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