Struggling to Find Motivation To Workout? Here Are 5 Baby Steps To Be Consistent
Netizens keep talking about manifesting and working towards a post-pandemic body as their glow-up. Whilst there are many different interpretations of what a ‘glow-up’ is (which are all valid), the most common one has to do with losing weight!
Unfortunately, an insurmountable problem is that online content is riddled with misinformation and toxic diet ‘tips’. So, if you’re trying to lose weight, the first thing to remember is that consistency in weight loss is always better than rapid weight loss. The next few memos to keep in mind: keep reading!
1. Don’t Die(t) Too Fast.
There are a number of diets out there that many are vouching for. Any of them would be great to try, as long as you aren’t taking it to the extreme.
Don’t jump straight into dieting by overtly limiting yourself, as it’ll only worsen your withdrawals. On any diet, ensure you properly follow it, but be understanding about cheat meals. So, cut most cravings but allow 1 or 2 cheat meals or snacks, then your body won’t feel so deprived. Ensure you get to eat these cravings, as it helps prevent crash dieting and binge eating.
If you don’t want to allow those slivers of happiness to get onto your plate, you can always opt to find a substitute for your usual random cravings or snacks. For a real example, I personally love to snack on Cadbury’s Chocolate Chipsmore chocolate bar, but I substituted it with Medjoul dates, which are extremely sweet but are roughly 66 calories per piece. Also, cheat days can be any day ie. it doesn’t always have to just be 1x on Friday.
Gentle note: you can calorie count in detail in the beginning, but if you feel like you may get too carried away, stop calorie counting so precisely and just ‘agak-agak’ like how this Auntie told Gordon Ramsay to do when making beef rendang.
2. Find Your Go-To Exercise.
A lot of us tend to research exercise workouts on YouTube, but end up eating whilst watching the instructor work out. That’s okay though, as researching does take energy! Regardless, here are some ways to find a workout, try it, and stick to it.
Firstly, you can make use of YouTube by creating your own playlist! Go to any workout video, and next to the dislike and like buttons, there’s a ‘+ Save’ tab. Click on it, and tick any category or choose ‘create a playlist’ to start a new one! You can easily pool any video into playlists this way, and the different types of workout playlists you structure can go according to this, for example:
By Day: A playlist of videos that you do according to a certain day, days or everyday! Eg. Tuesday + Friday: HIIT
By Categories: A a playlist for different categories of fitness ie. leg day, arm toning, pilates
By Body Type: Structure a playlist depending on the body type or physique you are going for, i.e. lean & toned, hourglass, etcetera. Ensure you get to know your body type such as if you’re an endomorph or not.
By YouTube Instructors: Create a playlist with your favourite videos from different fitness instructors! Instructors to get you started would be:
- Chloe Ting: For cardio or strength workout (beginner friendly too).
- Mr & Mrs Muscle: For HIIT or circuit workouts
- Move with Nicole: For pilates
- Jump Rope Dudes: For anyone interested in jump roping
3. Create A Music Playlist.
What really helps to take your mind off the pain when exercising is a darn good music playlist to keep you going.
Music can significantly impact your mood, so we can use that to our advantage. A workout playlist ideally would include songs for your warm-up sessions, during the workout itself, and for the cool down afterwards. Although this is highly subjective to your personal taste, as well as what workout you’re doing, some playlists to help you get started are:
- K-Pop Daebak: For the trending K-pop songs
- Retro Running: If you’re into songs before the Y2K
- Electronic Running: For those who want music alike to musical festivals ie. Ultra Music Festival or Tomorrowland.
Instead of using an actual alarm, you can curate enough songs in your playlist to match your desired workout time length, i.e. 30 minutes or 1 hour. Hence, when you time your workouts by using the length of a song, you would be enjoying the song more instead of being focused on how reps you can do in a stipulated time. Thus, you can focus on quality reps over merely the quantity you do.
4. Reward Yourself Consistently.
This doesn’t just mean cheat meals. You also need to include an appropriate amount of rest days into your weekly workout plan.
Aside from rest days, you should spare some time to think about what rewards you’d like to have. These rewards can be anything, from an expensive dinner to new workout clothes or shoes, as long as it makes you happy. It doesn’t even have to do with fitness, it can be a book or roller skates.
You can always set a goal for each reward but this isn’t a must as for some people it then puts pressure on them. Always prioritize your mental health and how you react towards something. An example would be you not meeting a certain goal you had set, but you don’t necessarily have to always or at all withhold the reward. End of the day, life isn’t supposed to be hard, so if something doesn’t work, just change your method!
5. Exercise To Enjoy.
Coming off the tangent on mental health, whatever your workout reason, remember to make your first priority this: if you exercise to enjoy, you will enjoy your exercise.
I’ll stop with the double meanings and get to the crux of the issue: try your best to think of exercising as a form of self-care and self-love. It’s hard at first as it may seem like you’re lying to yourself, but it’s the same thing as making new year resolutions; these yearly goals can’t be met in 1 day, it’s meant to be done in a year. So, simple mantras to follow can be:
- Research and cleanse: Cleanse your mindset from toxic fitness gurus, ideals, or practices. Ensure you research the effects of any diet or exercise.
- Measurements: Don’t solely focus on the weighing scale. Take measurements of your body as well. Sometimes, we lose fat but gain muscle which means the number on the scale may not budge, but the inches of fat or muscle we’re losing or gaining may also change.
- Weight Fluctuation: End of the day, numbers aren’t everything as some people can experience plateaus. So, exercise by enjoying the workout first, instead of thinking of it as a numerical goal.
- Mindset: Think of the benefits of exercising in a less materialistic sense ie. ‘I’ll be able to walk up the hill to catch the waterfall’, instead of ‘I can finally fit more clothes.’ The latter isn’t essentially a bad thing, depending on how you view it.
The beginning of your workout journey is always the hardest. Try not to be too hard on yourself if your results aren’t immediate. Self-deprecation is a tough habit to kick off, but the best thing about your fitness journey is that your mental health also matters. If you need time to recuperate, allow yourself to have that!