Workout motivation!

When I had my formspring up, I'd get a lot of questions about motivation in regards to working out. Recently, a few of my friends have asked me how I find the energy to get myself to the gym or out walking so often while pregnant, so I thought I would write a quick post highlighting the things that work for me, with child or not. I should also note that I'm definitely no expert- so for specific workout questions please see a certified trainer. :)

So, here's a quick little list of five things that work for me, and help me stay motivated!

1) Workout first thing in the morning. To me, there is no better feeling than having my workout DONE for the day. I really prefer to go super early in the morning, literally rolling out of bed, brushing my teeth and heading straight into the gym. If you're worried about looking good or not having makeup on, really don't even worry about that. The only people at the gym that early are the people who are there just to workout- no one cares that you have pillow marks on the side of your face or that your unruly morning hair is in a huge bun on the top of your head. Here's a (kind of embarrassing) confession: I have a much better workout when I feel cute. I don't do well when I feel gross. Yes, I know this is silly but it's just the way it goes for me. In the mornings though, I couldn't care less. At 5 and 6am you have the people there, right along side you who are NOT there to socialize, they're there to get their workout in and get on with their day. I love it. If you haven't tried working out in the early morning, trust me, it's amazing. One of my most favorite feelings in the entire world is leaving the gym at 6:30 in the morning, knowing that my entire workout is done for the day. Plus, you get a huge rush of endorphins to start your morning off right, listen to your ipod and get stoked for the day, and when 5pm or the end of your work day rolls around you have the whole evening to yourself, no gym time needed. And one more plus- once you've woken up early, expended energy and worked hard, you are way more apt to make healthy food choices. Give the early morning workout a try, I bet you'll love it!

2) Wear your workout clothes to bed OR set out your workout clothes right next to your bed. This is so, so important. If I'm having a rough, unmotivated week I will wear my workout clothes to bed the night before so when my alarm goes off early I have no excuse; I'm already dressed! All I have to do at that point is lace up my sneakers. If you have everything all ready to go- either on your body or stacked next to the bed, water bottle filled and in the fridge, ipod next to your car keys...when you alarm goes off all you have to do is wake up and get yourself to the gym. Planning ahead is key. And if you're curious about whether or not to eat before your workout, I typically like to do my morning cardio on an empty stomach, but if I'm feeling hungry I'll do a half a Luna bar or half a banana. Just a little boost to get me going and then I'll eat a huge, healthy breakfast when I get home.

3) Play the whole picture in your mind. Sometimes when I'm feeling lazy or unmotivated I seriously just want to camp out on my couch, play online, watch a movie, whatever. This often happens when I haven't made the effort to workout that morning, I've had a long day, and the last thing I want to do is exercise. However, I try to run the entire picture through in my mind. I think of the scenario I'm in: I'm already feeling lethargic and lazy, and I have two choices. I can either continue to do nothing, keep lying around, and then lo and behold, I'm sure to feel guilty later that evening when I realize I made a bad choice. The other side of the coin is that I can get up, get moving, spend some time treating my body well and with respect, and feel SO proud of myself when I am done. Who wouldn't want to feel great? When I think about the whole picture, and focus on how I will feel afterward, I always choose to be active and exercise.

4) Use the 15 minute rule. Even when I don't want to go to the gym, I make a deal with myself that I will go and workout for 15 minutes. At the end of those 15 minutes I can then decide to leave or stay. It's pretty safe to say that when you are already there, you won't want to leave, and you'll actually begin to enjoy yourself.

5) Workout anywhere/mix it up. If you don't have a gym membership, there is NO reason you still can't get a good workout in. Running is great, but not for everyone. Walking can also be a wonderful way to use your body and get exercise. Walk outside at a good fast pace for about 40 minutes- swing your arms and break a sweat- and you will get a great workout. You can do pushups, lunges, squats, etc. in your living room during the commercials of your favorite television show. You can get 5-15 lb. weights at Target and get a full body workout all in the comfort (or privacy if you're iffy on working out in public) of your own home. Nothing motivates me more than finding a new workout to try. Keep challenging yourself to try new things! Zumba, yoga, or even a video! In the snowy winter months sometimes it's just not feasible to get out of our house. In that case, I will go between a few different videos- namely a Billy Blanks Tae-bo dvd and Jillian Micheal's 30-Day Shred. If you are a gym-goer, make it a rule to never do the same cardio machine twice in a row. One day do the elliptical, the next do 20 minutes on the treadmill and 20 on the bike. And obviously you shouldn't work the same muscles everyday when lifting weights. Changing things up often will keep you engaged and interested...and make working out fun!

Good luck and happy exercising! :)