Trying to exercise at the end of a long day at work can seem impossible. After spending eight or more hours at the office, all you want to do is go home and relax on the couch. While working out in the morning is a great idea for getting your exercise in, it’s not always possible. Here are some tips for staying motivated to exercise at the end of the day.
Bring Your Workout Clothes to Work
If you have to stop at home and change, you’ll be tempted to stay home once you get there. Bring your workout clothes with you and change at the gym. Plus, you may feel a little guilty if you skip your workout after lugging your gym bag around all day.
Add it to Your Calendar
Schedule your workouts the way you schedule meetings and appointments. By writing down your workout time in your planner or adding it to your phone, it will seem more important to your life. Treat your workouts as a nonnegotiable part of your day.
Sign Up for a Fun Class
It’s nice to have something to look forward to at the end of the day, so why not make that thing your workout? Instead of forcing yourself to do an exercise you don’t like, take a class where you know you’ll have fun and maybe even meet some new people. There are classes for every interest—yoga, boot camp, kickboxing, Pilates, Zumba, step, hip-hop cardio, and more.
Use rewards to motivate yourself to work out. You can promise yourself a glass of wine or a small piece of chocolate after a workout on days when you’re really unmotivated. However, we don’t necessarily recommend always using food as a daily reward. Keep track of the times you actually do your workouts and reward yourself with a new pair of sneakers or some great workout gear after a few months. If that doesn’t work, try reversing it. Every time you skip a workout, put a dollar is a jar to donate to a political candidate or cause you disagree with.
Have a Workout Buddy
You don’t want to skip out on your workout if you have someone waiting for you. Reschedule that happy hour and use your time at the gym to catch up with your friends, instead. You can also hire a personal trainer and think of her as your “workout buddy” who’s waiting for you at the gym. Plus, you probably paid for this person’s time already, so you don’t want to lose your hard-earned cash.
Eat an Afternoon Snack
If you’re super hungry after work, you’re likely to hit the kitchen before you hit the gym. Even if you do make it to the gym, you probably won’t have a great workout if your stomach is growling. Eat an afternoon snack an hour or two before you leave the office so you’re not starving during your workout. Keep fruit, Greek yogurt, rice cakes, and peanut butter in your office so you always have something healthy on hand.
Set the Bar Low
If you’re really not feeling it, try telling yourself you’ll exercise for just ten minutes. If you still feel bad after ten minutes, you can go home guilt-free. Sometimes you really do need a break. However, you’ll usually find that after ten minutes you feel a lot better and more motivated to see your workout all the way through. Getting started is often the hardest part.