11 tricks to get motivated to work out

Editor’s note:  Hopefully by the time you read this post, I’ll be almost home {weather dependent} after a very indulgent week of food and cocktail consuming in Bali. Time to dust off those sneakers, I think … and today’s post from health and lifestyle writer and blogger Nicola Conville* may be just the prodding I need.

How are those New Year’s resolutions holding up? The first month of 2013 is almost at an end but if your health and fitness routine isn’t going as well as it could, here are some ideas to kick-start you into action again.

“Around 80 per cent of people who begin an exercise program don’t adhere to it,” says Shaun Cardillo, a personal trainer and founder of NuYu fitness retreats (www.nuyutotalhealth.com.au). “To improve your exercise success you need to find a motivating factor which will encourage you to continue.”

11 tricks to get motivated to work out

Here are 11 tips to get motivated to work out

1. Buddy up with a friend for daily walks. “Not only will you have company, but you can give each other support and encouragement,” Cardillo says. “Also, it’s more difficult to skip a workout when someone else is counting on you.”

2. Choose an activity you enjoy. “There is nothing more demotivating than trying to complete an activity you absolutely hate,” Cardillo says. “If you are having fun it won’t feel like a chore and you will look forward to doing more. This will keep you enthusiastic about exercising.”

3. Set a goal to work towards. There are heaps of great organised fun runs held nationwide each year. By signing up for one you’ll feel motivated to work out so you’ll be able to tackle it as best you can. Try the Mother’s Day Classic (http://mothersdayclassic.com.au), a fun run that helps raise funds for breast cancer.

4. Try something new. “Sometimes we can feel stale with our activities and need something new to spice things back up,” Cardillo says. So whether it’s Zumba or Pilates, try a new class and mix up your routine to keep things interesting.

5. Aim to progress gradually. Don’t bite off more than you can chew when it comes to exercising. “Trying too much too soon can result in extremely sore muscles or injury,” Cardillo explains. “Pain is not fun – and it is not necessary. Be realistic with what you expect to accomplish and aim for small but regular improvements.”

6. Get your kit on. Sometimes the hardest part of exercising is getting your bum off the couch. Make it as easy as possible to get out the door for a morning walk or jog by laying out your gym gear at night and putting it on as soon as you wake up.

7. Give cross-training a go. Variety is the spice of life and cross-training will help prevent boredom. “It’s also beneficial because it provides added stimulus to your body and decreases the risk of overuse injuries by sharing the load with different body parts,” Cardillo adds.

8. Create your “personal reasons” list. “Jot down every reason you can think of that you want to get healthy, get fit and lose weight.” Cardillo says. Do you want to get fit so you can run around with your kids, or lose weight for a special event such as a wedding? This list will help provide you with powerful motivation when you don’t feel like exercising.

9. Invest in your gym bag. Buy the best gym gear you can afford and pack a toiletry bag with a luxurious body wash, face mist and body moisturiser for your post-workout shower. Treating yourself will make exercising a more pleasurable experience.

10. Know the benefits of exercise. “We are more motivated to do things that we’ll benefit from,” Cardillo says. “The more we benefit, the more motivated we are.”

11. Take notes. Keep a record of the amount of time you spend exercising each day. “Keep a running total for the month and year, then calculate your average exercise time per day,” Cardillo says. Then use these averages to set some new goals!

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Nicola Conville | My Healthy Family * Nicola Conville is a health and lifestyle journalist with more than 10 years experience in the publishing industry. She is the Specials Editor at body+soul, freelances for a variety of publications and blogs at www.myhealthyfamily.com.au You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter. She lives in Sydney with her husband and their daughter Lucy.

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  • http://twitter.com/Seana_Smith Seana Smith

    Yes, these are great points. I now love wearing good gym clothes, butstarted as many others do with baggy t-shirts and flapping track pants. Not now! I see people starting at the gym wearing the clothes I used too, soon they get into comfier, tighter clothes that make you feel much better and maybe work harder too.

    I wish I’d really grasped earlier how much more efficient it is to exercise sweatily. As a time poor mum, it’s made such a difference.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      I totally agree with the “what you wear” thing Seana – applies for exercise as in any other aspect of your life.

  • Lisa Mckenzie

    I cannot exercise in the normal way I have issues with my knee,heaps of operations and a total knee replacement 2 years ago that wasn’t very successful :(, I do some Tai Chi which is safe for me to do but apart from walking in the pool I really can’t think of anything else to do ,I cannot sit on the floor, so no pilates or yoga and no kneeling or bending,if you have any other ideas I would be truly grateful as that was my aim after my op to go walking again but I can’t do it,thanks for this post,I used to love to excercise,I used to walk 5kms a day before my knee got bad.

    • http://twitter.com/healthyfamilyoz Nicola Conville

      Hi Lisa – I will share your question with Shaun and get back to you asap with some suggestions :)

      • Lisa Mckenzie

        Thanks so much for that,much appreciated :)

        • http://twitter.com/healthyfamilyoz Nicola Conville

          Lisa, would you like to contact me on Twitter or at nicola.conville@gmail.com? I have some answers for you x

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=661975047 Sarah Welsch

    I kept motivated by joining a walking group that met twice a week. And I signed up for a half marathon to make sure I went!

    Sarah=)

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/owleyevintage

    • http://twitter.com/healthyfamilyoz Nicola Conville

      Nothing like a deadline to stay motivated Sarah!

  • http://twitter.com/healthyfamilyoz Nicola Conville

    Thanks ladies! So glad you found the tips useful. I am doing the Harbour Bridge walk too Dianne, such a beautiful route.

  • Dianne

    This is a really great article… I never realised the value of point 11 until I got the runkeeper app… It records workouts & sends u emails on progress… I found I didn’t want to miss a run or run less as it would show on the graph… Really worth checking out.
    Thanks for sharing Nicola, I need to get back into exercise so I can walk the Sydney Harbour Bridge in May.

  • http://www.redcliffestyle.com/ Rachel from Redcliffe Style

    Great tips Nicola. Sometimes we need all the help we can get. Rachel xx