Taking vacations, fancying lazy summer days and choosing a beach day over a long run causes motivation to wane this time of year. To combat these fitness de-motivators, take action steps to whip yourself back into shape. If you fit into any of these six categories, these suggestions can help motivate you to lace up your running shoes or slip on your cycling gear.
PROBLEM #1: YOU PREFER FRIDAY HAPPY HOURS WITH COWORKERS
Solution: Switch your happy hour location
Instead of heading straight to the bar, find a nearby park to play ultimate Frisbee or create an office softball team. You’ll gain the happiness and camaraderie you get from happy hour, without the alcohol consumption. “Exercise has a wonderful ability to flood your body and brain with ‘happy’ endorphins,” says Meghan Kennihan, USA Track & Field coach and Road Runners of America-certified distance coach.
PROBLEM #2: YOU FIND THE TRAILS TOO CROWDED
Solution: Change your approach
Nick Joannidis, Road Runners of America and USA Track & Field-NFHS certified coach, offers these trail-running tips for when the summer crowds make keeping up your speed impossible: “Find trails less traveled in your ‘home’ park. In most parks, you’ll find labeled trails with markers in color. If you know from past experience that the yellow trail at a particular park is nice and wide but heavily traveled, go to the blue trail that may be narrower and less populated. Some of the best trails are in not-so-obvious places, but are open to the public.”
Keep track of events via park calendars. Typically every park has a schedule you can view. If the park has a 5K or a food truck festival, avoid these days.
PROBLEM #3: YOU RETURNED FROM VACATION, BUT YOUR BODY REMAINS IN VACATION MODE
Solution: Spice up your workouts
After vacation, it often feels too challenging to return to your standard cycling and running routine, so use this as an opportunity to try classes at your local boutique or yoga studio. In a study from the University of Florida, researchers found shaking up your cardiovascular exercise routine is the best way to stick with it.
To make yourself more accountable, sign up for the class in advance. Because you spent the money, you may feel more likely to attend, and, if you become a regular, Kennihan notes people will notice when you’re gone. But you should select your classes wisely. Kennihan recommends choosing CrossFit-type workouts that incorporate different strength training, cardiovascular, balance and flexibility exercises.
PROBLEM #4: YOU WOULD RATHER SLEEP IN THAN GET UP AND GO FOR A LONG RUN
Solution: Download audiobooks or podcasts
Get caught up on your summer reading list by listening to books on your smartphone or iPad. To get yourself motivated to come back for more exercise the next day when you know it’ll be a late-night, stop the audiobook at a compelling place and don’t press play until you are working out again.
READ MORE > 4 WAYS PODCASTS CAN IMPROVE YOUR DAILY WALK
PROBLEM #5: YOU PREFER WEEKEND BEACH DAYS TO WEEKEND WORKOUTS
Solution: Pay yourself
When you choose a workout instead of a lazy activity like laying out on the beach, reward yourself with cash. Kennihan says money is the ultimate motivator. “Put a dollar in a jar every time you workout for more than 30 minutes and use the money at the end of the month to reward yourself with a night on the town, massage or spa treatment.”
PROBLEM #6: YOU ARE AT HOME WITH BORED KIDS
Solution: Get loud
Create a workout playlist full of everyone’s favorite upbeat songs and get your family working out to them. An activity as simple as dancing around the living room or outside on the lawn works. You can take it one step further and create a family summer dance party by turning down the lights and purchasing a disco ball at a local party store.
Even if you don’t have kids, music can serve as a powerful workout motivator. “Music helps the person working out not to concentrate on the discomforts of the exercises, thus allowing them to exert more or try new things in the working out process,” says Kennihan.