Workout buddies and group fitness classes make it easy to stay motivated. You feel accountable for showing up, and it would be a little awkward to lounge around when everyone else in the room is doing pushups.
Still, there will probably be times when your schedule or other events require you to exercise on your own. When spin class is cancelled, or you’re snowed in at home, try these ideas to help you push yourself when you’re working out solo.
- Remember your purpose. There are many powerful reasons for exercising. Maybe you want to drop a dress size or have more energy. Perhaps you want to manage the symptoms of a chronic condition or strengthen your heart. What’s your big reason?
- Pick a space. Even the simplest home gym can serve as a visual cue that puts you in the mood to work out. On the other hand, you might prefer to head outside to a local park or your own backyard.
- Play music. Sit ups require less effort when you’re listening to your favorite songs. Put together a playlist of upbeat music that makes you want to move.
- Fight boredom. Switch your workouts around to avoid mental fatigue. You’ll also be challenging your body in new ways.
- Browse online. If you’re looking for fresh ideas, search for exercise videos and courses on your computer or phone. You can find any topic from CrossFit to ballet.
- Start small. Does an hour-long session sound overwhelming? Set incremental goals instead. Tell yourself you’ll try working out for 5 minutes. Chances are you’ll continue once you take the first step.
- Play around. Make workouts fun. Pick a variety of activities that you enjoy. Treat your sessions like a game where you compete with yourself to beat your last performance.
- Enjoy me time. It’s healthy to take some time for yourself. Learn to enjoy your own company and be comfortable in solitude.
- Plan ahead. Design your full sequence in advance. That way, you’ll be less likely to give up in the middle of your session because you’re stumped for what to do next.
- Eat well. A balanced diet gives you energy. Start the day with a hearty breakfast, such as an omelet with fresh vegetables or grilled fish and rice.
- Drink water. Hydration is also important. In addition to sipping water while you work out, make it a habit to fill up throughout the day.
- Rest up. A sound workout plan includes adequate time for rest and recovery. Avoid burnout and injuries by taking days off or alternating between intense workouts and gentler activities like walking or Tai Chi.
- Give yourself rewards. You’ll have something to look forward to. Treat yourself to a fancy coffee drink or an exotic piece of fruit after each session. Let a new coat or an upgraded phone serve as an incentive to help you drop 10 pounds or run a faster mile.
- Track your progress. Use electronic fitness devices or a simple journal to help you evaluate your performance. Each small victory can inspire you to keep striving.
- Post online. Working out alone doesn’t mean you have to give up on social support. Share your workouts on Facebook or other platforms where you can chat with your fit-minded friends.
You can encourage yourself to workout consistently even when no one is looking. Plan ahead, have fun, and tap into your own sources of internal motivation. When you enjoy exercising alone, you’ll be more likely to stick with your program and enjoy the benefits of an active lifestyle.