Let’s be honest, when it comes to having real and lasting results with your workout routine, the most important factor isn’t what you do but how consistently you do it. Social media presents us with all sorts of new workout trends, like this summer’s “Hot Girl Walk,” but if walking around your neighborhood feels more like a chore than anything, you aren’t going to stick with it. If you don’t truly love your workout, you’re far more likely to forego the gym in favor of happy hour with a margarita (or three), so finding a workout routine you’re excited about is the key to success. No matter what is leaving you feeling like your workout routine is lacking, we’ve put together a guide to help you exercise in a way you’ll look forward to each day, making this your hottest Hot Girl Summer yet!
If you’re feeling bored of the workouts you’re doing…
Fitness, like jobs, first dates, and a good beach read, will only hold your attention as long as it makes you feel good. If you’re not truly invested, you’re not likely to make it a priority in your life, so finding a workout that you’re excited about is the key to staying committed. Workout trends with big promises of results will come and go, but it’s the workout you do regularly that will make real and lasting changes to your body and mind.
Try this: If you feel bored or unexcited to get to your workout, it’s a sign that it’s time to shake up your routine. Whether you want to try a new workout class, find a different online training program to follow, reach out to a local trainer who’s taking new clients, or simply change your afternoon running route to include some new sights, changing up your routine is paramount to keeping things exciting. Bottom line: If you find yourself dreading your current routine, switch it up and try something new!
If you’re having trouble making time for exercise…
You’re a busy girl and the warm summer weather has a way of filling up your calendar with extra social activities, making it harder to find the time to squeeze in a workout. While some professionals recommend working out first thing in the morning and others recommend a sweat sesh in the evening, when it comes to consistency, the best time to train will always be whenever it best fits your schedule. If you are not a morning person, there’s no way you’ll be consistent with early-morning workouts. If you prioritize after-work drinks with the girls, you likely won’t give it up in favor of even the coolest new group fitness class. Fitness consistency requires that it works with your schedule, so find a time window that you can commit to without creating unrealistic expectations or FOMO.
Try this: Create calendar appointments for your workouts, whether it’s for the same time each day or at different times depending upon your schedule. By blocking your calendar and committing to a time that actually works for you, you’re way more likely to follow through. And if you think your workouts have to last an hour or longer to be effective, think again. Shoot for a length of time that keeps you (and your muscles) engaged and that you can maintain proper form—even 10-minute increments make a difference. Be honest with yourself about the amount of time you can commit to your fitness routine, and then follow through.
If you’re not fueling your body properly…
You know that nauseous feeling you get when you try to squeeze in a workout after a big meal? IYKYK. Meal timing is a very important part of creating and maintaining a successful workout routine. While everyone’s nutritional requirements are different, the need for pre- and post-workout fuel is relatively universal and can make the difference between having the energy to crush your boxing class and barely having the energy to make it to the class at all. Proper fueling requires a bit of trial and error, but once you’ve got a system that works for you, you’ll never second guess it.
Try this: Easily digested carbohydrates are the perfect pre-workout fuel, providing your body with the energy it needs to perform. If sluggish feelings are preventing you from getting to your workout, try a quick dose of carbs (that won’t hurt your stomach) about 30 minutes before go-time, like some bread and peanut butter or a fruit smoothie. The glycogen (AKA sugar) will energize you and have you ready to crush whatever your trainer has on deck.
Similarly, if you’re finishing your workout and heading straight for happy hour, you may not be giving your body what it needs after a strenuous training session, which can deplete your energy levels for your next workout. Replenishing your glycogen stores with carbohydrates (which can be more complex and less easily digestible now since your workout is over) and getting protein intake for muscle repair are important, so avoid satisfying that post-workout hunger with junk food. Talk to a dietitian or your doctor to learn more about your specific nutritional needs to make sure you’re getting the most out of your training.
If you’re struggling to make time for yourself…
It’s a tale as old as time: You’re trying to work a fitness routine into your schedule and everyone you could be hanging out with during that hour, like friends, family, or your significant other, is trying to persuade you to skip it to spend time with them. Even if their intentions are good, it can be really challenging to balance fitness “me time” and “us time” with everyone else. In some cases, the lack of support comes from a lack of understanding. If your support system doesn’t understand the important role that working out plays in your life, they’re less apt to move dinner plans around to accommodate your routine. If your friends are all runners and they think your cycling classes are a waste of time, you might feel pressured to run with them. And if running isn’t your thing, it won’t become a routine you stick to.
Try this: Have an open and honest conversation about how you’re feeling. Once you’ve started the dialogue, you can be proactive by inviting your friends to join you in your workout, planning a fitness-centric date with your significant other, or adding additional time in your calendar for a post-workout healthy dinner with your family. Oftentimes, simply making time for your loved ones (without interrupting your fitness routine) can alleviate the tension. At the end of the day, as long as the people in your life want what’s best for you, they’re worth the juggling act. However, if you start to notice red flags in the way your friends, family, or partner react to you making yourself and your fitness a priority, it might be time to reexamine those relationships. Keep the conversation going and remember that there’s plenty of time in the day for both ourselves and the people we love.
If you’re lacking motivation…
Motivation is a tricky thing. When we’ve got it, it can make us feel unstoppable, but once it’s gone, it can be really hard to get it back. If you’ve been feeling unmotivated to work out, it’s probably time to refocus and reestablish your goals. Motivation doesn’t need to be in the form of a dress you’re trying to fit into or an event you want to be “fit” for. The best motivation doesn’t have an end date, like how working out makes you feel or how much stronger you’re getting week by week.
Try this: Make a list of things you’d like to accomplish through your fitness routine that are process-oriented rather than results-oriented. For example, instead of focusing on what you want to look like at the finish line, focus on how you’d like to feel (both physically and emotionally), what you’d like to learn how to do next, or the confidence you’d like to gain. By focusing on goals that have no end date, you’re far more likely to keep up the habit. When we focus on the process instead of the finish line, we learn to love the journey, and that’s the difference between long-term success and failure.