Even the best home workout program is only as good as your motivation. Here are some simple ways to get fired up.
I get it, motivation doesn't come easy especially with the current circumstances. Doing your workouts consistently at home is probably harder for most than doing it in the gym with in person.
When something like the COVID-19 pandemic forces you to turn your living room into a home gym, motivation can be a monumental challenge.
Fortunately, there’s a way to get you going on the days when you are stuck.
Setting the stage for successful home workouts
Let’s begin with a few assumptions:
First, you want to exercise, even if you don’t love doing it. Maybe you don’t want to exercise at home, but you genuinely, sincerely want to be active and healthy.
Second, at CFP we’re providing you a great online workout program, that’s tailored to your abilities, goals, preferences, space, and equipment (or lack thereof).
Third, I’ve given you the obvious advice:
The problem is that, despite your best intentions and my best guidance, some of you are still struggling to follow through.
- Set up a dedicated space for your home workouts.
- Schedule time in your calendar, as you would if you are training with us in person at the gym.
- Take advantage of the benefits of home exercise, like blasting any music you want, or wearing clothes you’d never be caught dead in outside your house.
In my experience, the problem often comes down to an all-or-nothing mentality. Sometimes you probably believe there’s no point even starting if you can’t do the entire workout. If you don’t think you have the energy or focus for 60 minutes of exercise, why bother?
That’s where this one simple prompt comes in handy.
The value of just getting started
When a you're struggling with motivation, here is my request:
“Can you give it five minutes?”
We both know you can...
If you still aren’t feeling it after five minutes, that’s it. You’re done. You gave it a shot, and this just isn’t your day.
However, if you start to feel better after five minutes, try another five minutes. And if you feel even better after 10 minutes, keep going. Don’t think about anything but the next five or 10 minutes.
If you finish the workout, that’s awesome. If you don’t, hey, at least you did something on a day you didn’t feel like doing anything. Either way, we’ll call it a win.
It’s not exactly a new idea. I’ve been telling people for ages that showing up is the most important part of any program.
Which is true if we’re talking about showing up at the gym. Nobody walks into their gym, decides they aren’t feeling it, and turns around and goes home. If nothing else, there’s the sense they’ll be judged by others if they don’t at least go through the motions of working out.
But for home workouts, there’s no such social pressure, at least not to that extend.
Another challenge of home exercise is replicating the surge of adrenaline many of us feel just by walking into the gym and being around people, our fitfam, who we are getting our work in.
The “just do five minutes” prompt addresses multiple challenges for you when you workout at home:
How to get moving
- It’s easy to remember.
- It shrinks the change, minimizing the barrier to taking action and moving forward.
- It reframes “success.” Instead of feeling like a failure if you don’t complete the workout, it tells you something is better than nothing, and something more is better than something less. Paradoxically, you’re more likely to do the entire routine when you feel less pressure.
- It gets you moving and the juices flowing. This is especially important for the type of people who feeds off the energy of the gym, and misses being around people. With out live virtual sessions we are managing to replicate that community feel and it feels so much better doing it with others.
Now we’ll look at how to use the prompt with two types of people who struggle with home workouts:
If you are the person who likes to be pushed in the gym
- Someone who doesn’t like working out
- Someone who likes to be pushed in the gym
Let’s say this is one of the home workouts I have designed for you:
1A. Single Leg Squat
2A. Inverted Row
2B. Single Leg Hip Thrust
3A. Hollow Body Hold
3B. Overhead Press
If you take the “just do five minutes” prompt, you can alternate 1A and 1B, perhaps one set of each per minute.
Same with the next five minutes, if you choose to continue: Alternate 2A and 2B, one set per minute.
On the final set, just do as many reps as you can with good technique, no matter how many reps the workout specifies. If you can do more, do more. The idea is, “last set, best set.”
Even if you stop there, that’s still a pretty good 10-minute workout.
If you are the person who doesn’t like working out
We’ll take a different approach if you are the type of person who aspires to be active and healthy but doesn’t enjoy the process - especially when the process doesn’t even get you out of the house.
So instead of saying “just five minutes,” you’ll chose the exercise you enjoy the most (or hate the least). If it’s overhead press, that’s great. There are no good and bad options.
You can also try this strategy on the “just do five minutes” prompt:
Pick two of your favorite songs. Press play and start exercising. When the songs end, your workout ends.
If you want to continue, that’s two more songs. If you don’t, that's cool, you still get a virtual high-five from me.
Music also functions as a motivator, which is both intuitive and backed by research. Working out with music increases mood and effort and reduces perceived exertion.
Final thoughts getting motivated for home workouts
I can sum it up in four words: Action first, motivation second.
As Newton said, a body in motion stays in motion. It’s easier to keep going than to get going.
Thus, if you can get moving, even if it’s just for a few minutes, chances are you’ll feel better about the task, and your ability to do it.
So keep showing up and just do 5 minutes and even if you decide to stop after five minutes, at least you did something. And that still counts.
So don't use this pandemic as an excuse NOT to exercise and veg out in front of the TV but rather as an OPPORTUNITY to focus on you goals and to take better care of yourself.
If you’re are ready to take action our virtual online program is might be what you need.
Click here to try it out.
Coach "Just Five Minutes" Kosta
P.S. You can try the "just do five minutes" strategy this weekend with this great bodyweight density workout below. The entire workout could be completed in less than 30 minutes and it is a combination of supersets of bodyweight exercises done in a density set. This means that you'll do as many sets of the exercises in the allotted time frame.
Here are the recommendations for each level:
- Beginner: 4 minutes per density set
- Intermediate: 6 minutes per density set
- Advanced: 8-10 minutes per density set