Stuck indoors, need to exercise and struggling with motivation? You aren’t alone. Whether it’s COVID19 restrictions, terrible weather or even not being able to take the kids out to exercise exercising indoors can really test your motivation.
For me, I’ve always chosen to do exercise outdoors or at the gym so my home environment has been mentally associated with relaxing or spending time with family and friends. The ongoing pandemic and changes to my working routine have really challenged my perception of my home space and now I have had to mentally add working and exercising to my home environment. This has taken a bit of mental reshaping and it can really give your motivation levels a big hit, particularly if you’re in my position and the events you were training for are getting cancelled left and right.
So how do we turn this around?
There are a few different strategies that you may be able to use if you are struggling with motivation.
1) Tunes … and lots of them
Put on your favourite tunes and rock out for a bit while you exercise. Use it as an excuse to bust out all of the old favourites. It can give you a real mood boost and you can use the music to match your workout in terms of the genre or pace. If you are feeling a bit low on motivation get a few of your ultimate pump up tracks, pop them on and visualise yourself having a really good workout then hop to it! Alternatively, use a music app such as Spotify to discover new music that you haven’t heard before.
2) Try making a workout space
Try clearing a room or a space for your workouts so you can still have that mental separation between your relaxing home environment and your exercise space. You can put up motivational materials (a motivation board, PB chart or training plan for example), put all of your regular workout equipment in there and even set up a TV/radio/CD player if you have audio-visual needs for your workouts. After you’re finished you can simply put away the equipment, shut the door (if there is one) and continue with your day.
3) Make a schedule
You know your routine, when your best workout times are and when you feel the most energised so leverage that to create a schedule for your workouts. If you have a training plan or you have specific goals this is perhaps easier to structure. However, if you just want to be active and healthy, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day. If you have to miss a structured workout don’t beat yourself up (there’s no point, what does that achieve?) either find a time where you can make it up during the week or just start tomorrow on a fresh page and move on.
4) Introduce variety
Doing the same workout routine over and over again is not only likely to demotivate you because you’re finding it as boring as bat shit but you’re missing a key opportunity to mix things up a bit by trying a variety of exercises. For instance, many people didn’t try YouTube workout videos or other online workouts much before COVID19 restrictions and this prompted people to try different forms of exercise in a format they hadn’t considered before. What have you got to lose? Cross training is awesome and you could even have fun … while exercising … fancy that.
5) Buddy up or be part of a virtual community
If you are in a position where you can still workout with friends or family this is fantastic – find someone in your close circle that has similar fitness goals to you and buddy up. You can keep each other accountable, share your successes and pick each other up if there are disappointments along the way. If you are in a position where you can’t find that sort of support in person then find a virtual community such as the one we have at Runnovation. You can tap into the same amount of support and kudos for your hard work, as well as people that you can bounce ideas off and share resources with – win/win!
6) Keep the realistic goals you’ve set for yourself
Have and keeping goals is something that the Runnovation team find particularly effective at keeping us moving forward in our fitness journey but we, like many others, found it difficult when these goals were based around events that were getting cancelled. Solution? Keep the goals, including the dates if that is still feasible and just complete that plan on the originally scheduled date. We may not have the physical event but we have entered plenty of virtual ones to keep us going. Just because the weather is garbage or an event has been cancelled does not give us a free ticket to veg out and keeping a set date keeps us accountable.
We like our goals to be SMART goals – so they are Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely. You might like to keep track of your goal and progress using fitness trackers or by using a good old fashioned pen and paper. Once you have achieved one, give yourself a reward and then set another.
7) Introduce some fun
One of the big things that we think about when we design Runnovation virtual challenges is the fun element. It’s all very well and good making a commitment to exercise but you should enjoy what you’re doing. If every workout feels like a chore, or even worse, a punishment, it’s going to drain your motivation faster than a sink with two plug holes. Find exercise that you find fun and energising – engage in challenges with fun themes that interest you and engage in movement with a smile on your face. Life’s too damn short to be plugging away at things you hate.
8) Kick procrastination to the curb
If you keep putting off your workout it’s easy to just blame feeling demotivated or generally stressed as the reason and think that you’ll try again tomorrow. Sometimes tomorrow doesn’t work either and we can break a really good rhythm that we had for movement. If this sounds like you since you’ve been exercising indoors it’s time to ask yourself why you keep putting exercise off. Do you find it boring? Are you at a stage in your training plan where you’re feeling overwhelmed? Are there other stressors in your life that make you feel bad for taking that time for yourself? Think about that deeper reason for procrastination and think about the changes you can make to shift the exercise into a more positive mental space. You could also try writing down all of the reasons why you exercise, the benefits you are seeing from it and focus on the way you feel after you’ve worked out. This could help recreate those positive associations and kick the procrastination bug to the curb.
If you have tried a few of these strategies independently and you are still struggling with motivation you could also try engaging a professional such as a personal trainer, Pilates instructor or exercise physiologist to touch base with you regularly (whether in person or online) to increase your engagement and levels of accountability.
Have you been using another method that assists with your motivation to exercise indoors? Or have you found any of the above strategies particularly helpful? Feel free to leave comments, we’d love to hear from you.
Keep moving and being generally awesome Runnovators!