Confession: I have a lengthy internal dialog every time I consider going to the gym. It goes something like this: 

“I really should go. I ate that cupcake at lunch…but I’m really tired. I deserve to just veg out in front of the television.” 

“It’s so cold out; I just want to go home and lie under a blanket. But I feel so bad about myself when I don’t exercise, so I really should…”

Sound familiar?  Well, here are a few small tips that have really helped me. They are not going to make you skip all the way to the gym with a huge grin on your face, but hopefully they will make the daily and weekly decisions to work out just a little bit easier.

1. Make yourself accountable in some way. Recently, I negotiated with myself that I can only watch television in the evening if I exercise that day. So, when I hit the treadmill, I know I’m going to spend the rest of the evening watching my favorite shows. It’s motivating and it’s a win – win, right?  

2. Load up your iPod with podcasts. Podcasts are like radio shows, and they are available on iTunes. I love to download self-help or motivational podcasts to listen to while I am sweating on the elliptical. I think of it as exercising my body and my spirit. And it keeps my attention, which helps the time fly by. You can also download audio books, which is another great way to stay entertained. 

3. Find a gym buddy. This doesn’t have to be as structured as you meeting your best friend at the gym every Tuesday at 7 pm (although that is great too)! It can also be a friendly relationship with a staff member, or your favorite step teacher. When you enjoy seeing certain people on a regular basis, it will motivate you to get your butt in the door. For instance, I had an enormous girl crush on a Body Sculpting teacher a few years ago. She was so cool that I would literally go to her class in part to chat with her at the end.

4. Find work out clothes that you are excited about. Whether it’s a cute new t-shirt, (Target has great, affordable work-out wear) or a pair of shorts that show off your hot legs, you’ll feel more excited about heading to the gym if you feel good about yourself while you’re there.

5. Most importantly, remember that exercise doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Some days as I am driving home from work, and deciding between taking a left turn (towards the gym) and going home, I remind myself that I can go for just 30 minutes. I tell myself: “Okay, 30 minutes is nothing. By the time I change, get to the elliptical, read a few magazines, and drink some water, I’ll be done. I can do that!” And most of the time, I end up staying for closer to 45 minutes anyway. Trust me, it works.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact me directly at naturally nina at gmail dot com. Also, check out my personal blog Naturally Nina (http://www.naturallynina.com) to learn more about me.


We Want to Know: What keeps you motivated to workout?

(Images: from Flikr, zeema99)