Plan Your Week.The biggest thing for me is figuring out how to fit everything in! I find it helps to know what I'm going to be doing, when - so I plan out my week of workouts in advance. I have little post-it note tabs which I stick onto the relevant days in my planner, so I can see at-a-glance what I should be doing each day, and plan around whatever else is going on in life. So if I know I'm busy one evening, I know not to plan a workout then - and if I have to be at the other side of the county for 9am with work, I know getting to the gym in the morning isn't possible so I can plan to run instead, or go to the gym after work!
Be Flexible.That said, you don't want to let your workouts take over your life - it's important to keep some flexibility so you can switch things round if you need to! The post-it notes are particularly handy for this... So if a friend suggests a run on Thursday evening, it's easy to swap things around to make it work. I've also recently found myself ditching post-work gym sessions to go out on my bike to make the most of the good weather. There's nothing more demotivating than dragging yourself into a sweaty over-crowded gym on a beautiful night!
Think In Chunks.Breaking your goals up into manageable chunks is just common-sense, but somehow we can miss this when it comes to forming a gym-going habit. I find that working in chunks of 30 days means I have more clarity and focus, rather than trying to think too big. This way I can set myself monthly goals and see how I'm progressing towards them. Rather than seeing fitness as a huge commitment, it's just something you're doing this month. (And then next month. And the next one.)
Rest Days.Rest days are just as important as training days when it comes to improving your fitness! I try to fit in at least one rest day each week (usually on a Sunday), when I'll just go for a gentle walk rather than doing anything high-impact. This gives the muscles time to repair themselves, which is how they get stronger. I also make sure to alternate between muscle groups so I get some recovery time in between.
Mix it Up!I'm sure it's not just me that has the attention span of a goldfish? I get bored so easily, so I try not to do the same thing too often - whether that's trying a new machine at the gym, using the recumbent bikes instead of the upright ones, or switching up my run routes. Keeping things fresh means I'm much more likely to stick to my plans. Maybe for you this means trying a new class, booking in a session with a personal trainer to get some new ideas, or switching up your cardio - whatever it takes to keep things enjoyable!
Figure Out What Works.For me, it's early-morning workouts before work - getting to the gym for about 7:00am, which gives me an hour before I need to start getting showered and ready for work, and then having breakfast when I get to work. This way, my workout is over and done with before I get started with my day, and I don't have to drag myself into the gym after a long day in the office when frankly, all I want is my bed. It's all about finding the routine that works best for you!
But when all is said and done, the part I find most motivating is seeing myself get stronger and fitter - whether it's adding another 5kg on to my weights, or running to the top of a hill I'd previously have had to walk up - it's just so satisfying, and really spurs me on to keep working hard and see what else I can achieve!!
Do you have any tips to add to my list? What are your favourite ways to keep yourself motivated when it comes to fitness?