It’s happened to all of us nap time warriors: the workout slump. One day you might say to yourself, I just don’t feel like working out today. Working out today sounds boring and hard. Working out sucks. I won’t do it! I’ll just sit on the couch during nap time and eat Cheetos and watch old Teen Mom episodes on Netflix like every other mom in America. Why do I have to work so hard when everyone else is tiny with zero effort?!
Pity Party ensues.
I have hit the workout slump myself countless times. First off, know you’re not alone. Working out 5-6 days a week takes serious dedication. It’s really rough to take the only alone time you have all day and do something that is really difficult instead of relaxing. And sometimes you just need to take a day off to play Candy Crush for and hour and a half. But beware, because that one day off can quickly turn into three, into a week, into a month. Suddenly, you’ve gained 7 pounds and you can officially call yourself out of shape. Starting an exercise program after a long period of being sedentary is incredibly hard, much harder than just forcing yourself through a tough day. To that end, here are some of my favorite tips for banishing a workout slump:
1. Buy a new DVD!!! This is one of my favorites: Cathe Friedrich’s Cross Fire! It’s almost never a huge money investment, maybe $20 or so. You can try a totally new instructor or get one you’ve always wanted to try from a old standby. Just concentrating on learning the new moves will make the time fly by, I promise!
2. Arrange some childcare and take a new class. If childcare is an option for you this can be a great way to get out in to your community and try something new. Keep in mind that many of the classes are for people just finishing the work day so they may start around 7 or 8 pm, so maybe your partner can put the kids to bed one night a week. There are so many different kinds of classes available nowadays. You could try your local spinning studio, hot yoga, a barre class, cross fit, martial arts, a dance class, even a neighborhood running group. If you’re not sure where to find options, sometimes local fitness apparel stores have a listing of studios and groups in your area. Call ‘em and see!
3. Get some new duds. This is a little silly, but sometimes looking forward to putting on a new outfit gets me motivated to get moving. Sometimes investing in your new body will keep you working, it feels like you’re wasting money when you slack off. This works for cute workout clothes themselves or something like a new pair of jeans in your current size.
4. Set a BIG goal, write it out. I am someone who gets excited about a challenge. Sometimes it really helps to push through a plateau if I set a big goal, bigger than usual. I might say, I’m going to really knuckle down and commit to 90 minutes a day, six days a week and no added sugar in my diet for one month. Then I’ll get an actual (not virtual-too easy to ignore!) calendar and plan out a whole month of sweat, writing the specific workouts on each day. I put the calendar on the fridge and cross the days off as I go. I find that I’m much more likely to follow though once something is already planned out. It takes the decision making stress out of each day and I feel like I have an obligation.
5. Dance Party. This is great because you can do it with the kids if you want. Put on whatever makes you feel jazzy and go nuts for 45 minutes or so. My kids absolutely love this and you can really work up a serious sweat if you get crazy. Pick up your toddler and swing them around, do fast feet, lose yourself in the beat. It can be exhilarating if you let yourself go. Here’s one of my favorite playlists!
6. Get dressed! This one is really about the moment. If I find that I feel super fatigued or grumpy about my workout I make a deal with myself. I’ll put my workout stuff on and do 15 minutes. If I still feel totally exhausted or don’t want to keep going, I can quit. Simple enough. Guess how many times I didn’t finish the workout? Exactly, pretty much zero. Once I get warmed up and sweaty, I almost always get into it. If not, then my body is telling me that I truly need a day off and when that day comes, I’ll be pumped to get to all those episodes of Teen Mom just waiting for me.