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How To Find Motivation When an At-Home Workout Is Pretty Much the Last Thing You Want to Do

Zoe Weiner

Zoe WeinerJune 16, 2020

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Photo: Getty Images/ © Ian Laker Photography

You’d be forgiven if you’re lacking the fitness motivation to do yet another at-home workout right now. Many of us are well into the third month away from our fitness studios (among other aspects of our pre-quarantine life), and have been relegated to living rooms for longer than feels comfortable. Plus, it’s still very “TBD” when—if ever—things will return to some sense of normalcy, and we can be back to high-fiving our fitness trainers the way we used to. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling this in a big way right now—as I write this, I’m trying to mentally pump myself up to whip out my mat and do some sort of Instagram workout before my next meeting.

If you’re struggling to keep up with your usual right now, you can take solace in the fact that you’re not the only one. And for what it’s worth—that’s okay. We’re living in wildly uncertain times, and you have every excuse to give yourself a break. But if you do want a little fitness motivation, we tapped three of the top fitness execs in the industry during our latest Well+Good Talk focused on “The State of Fitness” to share their tips on how to get it done—even when working out is the last thing you feel like doing. Read on for what they had to say.

How to find fitness motivation for at-home workouts

1. Commit to a longterm routine

None of us know when life will return to normal, so the best thing to do right now, says Ethan Agarwal, founder and CEO of Aaptiv, is to act as if your current routine will be a longterm one. “Assume that that’s going to be your environment for the next six to 12 months, and start a habit that incorporates what’s around you,” he says. “Whatever equipment you have access to, whoever you’re stuck with, whatever your schedule you’re on—assume that that’s going to be your environment for a while.” This, he says, will help you develop a real routine that regularly integrates exercise into your day, which will make it easier to stick with.

2. Make sure you’re having fun

The best part about at-home workouts, especially righ now, is that there are so many different ones to choose from, which means there’s no reason not to do only the ones that spark joy—and say “forget it” to the ones you hate. “What’s going to help people stay committed is to make sure they’re having fun,” says Barry’s CEO Joey Gonzalez. “Especially in these times, when there’s just so much darkness around us, during those 30 to 60 to 90 minutes of your workout, you just need to be in a positive frame of mind. Enjoy what you’re doing, and stop thinking so much about ‘Will I get the results I want to look the way I want right now?'” With all of the options out there—many of which you can access for free—there’s never been a better time to experiment and find the things you really, really love. Consider this your excuse to Marie Kondo your workout routine once and for all.

3. Find a workout partner

If you’re used to meeting your workout bud for a morning megaformer class, it’s likely been frustrating to have to get up every morning and tune in, via laptop screen, without them. But working out at home does’t have to mean going it alone. “You can do virtual workouts with someone, whether that’s through Zoom or on a different platform,” says Gonzalez. Even better? Get a big group together, and host a Zoom workout of your own.

4. Engage in a “noticing practice”

With so much going on in the world, it’s more important than ever to listen to your body. The best way to do this, says Barre3 co-founder and CEO Sadie Lincoln, is to engage in a “noticing practice” and plan your workouts accordingly. “Notice your body as it is, and how you feel sensations—your feet on the ground, your heartbeat, the feel of your breath, where you feel dominant burn in the body—and channel your awareness to those areas,” she says. Then, choose a workout that targets what you need on a given day. Need some chill stretch time? Press play on a yoga video. Need to sweat and forget the world? Try some HIIT. Tune into your body, and it will make getting through a workout feel like a treat instead of a chore.

5. Use music as your motivator

There are countless studies that link music to motivation. As Lincoln puts it, “music is medicine.” She suggests hooking up your favorite playlist to a set of speakers, blasting it on loud, and throwing yourself a dance party (because, yes—that counts as cardio). “I think creating joy is so important, because motion creates emotion,” she says. “When we move we can flesh out cortisol and stress hormones and draw back and serotonin and all that good energy that all of us really need right now.” Commit to dancing it out for one song—chances are, you’ll want to keep going when the next one pops on the speakers.

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