Kelly at Grounded Fitness offered a homework assignment for over this past weekend: explain how you keep yourself motivated to workout when you’re working on your own.
When I took 3 months last month to workout on my own (leaving the safety net of a trainer for the first time), one of the key items I wanted to test was how I would keep myself motivated. It was only 3 months, but I think it set a pattern I can use for a long time.
I am a planner. I plan each week ahead (leaving lots of wiggle room), making sure that my calendar shows appointments and scheduled activities for the week. And because of a neat little calendar program I’ve downloaded to my computer, these appointments and activities show up on my desktop for about 3 days ahead.
Part of this plan is to think about my workouts that week. When working on my own, I usually do a 3 or 4 workout week. I ALWAYS go to gym on Sundays. If it’s a 3-day week (the easiest to plan), I’m there on S, T, Th. A 4-day week will usually be S, M, W, Th; sometime other plans in my life turn that into S,M,Th,F though). I really like to know I’ll get that 2 day rest period each week.
Often the number of trips to the gym is determined by how busy the rest of my week is, where I’ll be (near the gym or a different direction), and my mood. I use exercise as the primary control mechanism for both anxiety and depression. If I’m having a tough patch mentally I allow myself to head into the gym as much as I need to help.
After I schedule my week, I sit down with a small notebook and plan each workout. I note my plans for cardio, for “floor” exercises (core and balance), and whatever weight training I will do that day. Is it a full-body workout? Upper body only? Core and stability only?
With my workouts on my calendar and a plan of action when I walk into the gym, getting motivated to workout is simply a matter of checking my calendar. Truthfully, most mornings I wake up thinking: thank goodness this is a gym day and alternately thank gaia today’s a rest day!