I collaborted with thredUP to restock my fitness wardrobe with gently used (you could fool me for new) clothes and are letting me share a discount code with you guys: BRIDGET. The first 50 of you can get 50% off your first-time orders up to $50! This deal lasts through the end of November. You can use it to fill out your fitness, work, or casual wardrobe.
1. Make a Plan & Write it Down
Whether you create a note in your phone, print out a plan, or write it in a journal, creating a plan for yourself is really important. This way, you don't show up to the gym and just goof around. You have a plan, you stick to it, and you check it off your list. A few years back, I used a giant poster with little sticky notes to make my plan. I should actually do this again for my postpartum program because it was helpful for my mental game. And I could use help in my sleep-deprived state.
You can find that here: DIY 12-Week Workout Calendar
2. Find a Workout That You Actually Enjoy
If you hate running and your fitness plan is mostly running, you're likely going to get burnt out on fitness quick. Try some stuff out, go to some classes, work with a trainer, go to a bootcamp, etc. Finding a program that you enjoy makes all the difference in the world when the workouts get hard. I love running, HIIT, community-oriented stuff, and heavy lifts. I hate 1 billion reps of really light weight workouts -- I know that about myself, so I don't work those types of workouts into my program.
3. Create a List of Whys
When you're feeling lazy, you can reference this list. This will be custom for you, but here's my current list of whys:
- I want my son to see fitness as a lifestyle
- I worked super hard in 2016 to get into Boston and I need to be prepared for that race in April
- Boston is expensive too
- I lost a lot of cardiovascular fitness & strength while I was pregnant/recovering from delivery, and I want to gain that back
- I love feeling strong
- I want to lose the last 5 or so pounds I gained while pregnant
- I want to be a bada**
4. Meal Plan & Prep
Food is a huge part of fitness. You can't out work a bad diet, unless you're a genetic miracle or a 16-year old boy. I know that for myself, especially having my hands full with a newborn, if I don't have good stuff in my fridge, I'll order pizza out of laziness. BUT if I have grilled chicken and sweet potatoes already prepared, and I have stuff to make a quick salad, I'll happily eat that.
I've been trying to be better about planning what we're going to eat for breakfast & lunch each day plus the next 3 dinners (I usually go to the grocery store twice a week). I've found that this helps me be prepared, but also lends me to waste less food than if I bought for the whole week.
5. Set Your Clothes Out the Night Before
If you're going to work out in the morning, this is a big one. You don't want to be the person who shows up to bootcamp with a smelly shirt and mismatched shoes, do you? I like maximizing my sleep, so having my clothes picked out and laid out reduces my prep time before I can leave for the gym. If you're going to be outdoors, check the weather the night before and set out the max amount of layers you might need. You can always decide you don't need the neck gaiter or gloves. This way you're not digging through your drawer at 4:45am trying to find your left glove.
6. Get a Buddy or Accountability Partner
Accountability! If you feel like you need an extra push, get a friend to commit to a fitness regime with you. That could mean that they're physically meeting you somewhere for a workout, or it could mean that you're both committing to your own workouts, but checking in with each other X times a week to make sure that you're actually following through with the plan.
When I was training for my first marathon in 2009, my good friend Liz and I met up every morning at like 7am over summer break (we were in college). Neither of us wanted to be up early when we didn't have to be, but it's crazy hot in Texas in the summer, and we knew that that was the absolute latest that we could head out the door. We wouldn't text each other to confirm in the morning, we had to show up so that the other person didn't wake up early for nothing. It was such an effective motivator for me.
While training for Boston, I was working with my friend & running coach Neely Spence-Gracey. Her coaching program uses an app that syncs with your Garmin watch. I knew that she would see if I skipped a workout or if I didn't do a workout at the right intensity. I couldn't disappoint her!
7. Take Progress Photos
Take a "before" photo, and then take photos along the way in your fitness journey. When you see the slow progress in the mirror, you may not notice how much progress you've made, but when you see that your arms look visibly stronger when you compare to your start photo, that'll help you keep pushing forward.
8. Buy yourself some new clothes or shoes
Because I tend to be really frugal with stuff, I know that if I spend money on something, I really want to make use of it. For me, buying some new active shirts or new active shoes helps to motivate me to get out there. I think part of it is also that we are designed to like nice things. I use a planner more often if it's pretty. I am more excited to workout if I like my outfit.
And you don't have to spend a ton of money to get cute stuff. You can shop at your local thrift shop, you can shop sales, or you can shop an online resale store like ThredUP.
9. Allow for Flexibility
Yes, routines and plans are awesome (I'm type A, so I LOVE THEM), but you have to give yourself some space for flexibility so that the plan is maintainable. If you say, "I'm going to workout 7 days a week and not eat any starchy carbs ever." You're probably going to do that for a week and then quit completely. I'm a big fan of allowing yourself to enjoy stuff. Have a weekly cheat meal. Skip a workout every once in a while to spend time with a friend. Be a human. It's okay to skip your workout sometimes. What you do most of the time matters so much more than what you do every once in a while, so give yourself some grace.
When all else fails, coffee.