I struggled to get off of the couch and out of my house during 2020. Like many people, I was bogged down by the misery of the world. Although I live in an outdoorsy city, with plenty of options to escape, I was mentally and emotionally exhausted by the state of the world and paralyzed by fear during the high peaks of the pandemic. Doom scrolling Instagram didn’t help.
While at-home fitness options became all the rage, I just couldn’t commit to regular virtual workouts. I craved the camaraderie of a studio cycle class, the feeling of togetherness and euphoria that just can’t be replicated via an app. I was eager for fitness studios to reopen, thankfully they recently did in my area.
But then I faced a new obstacle: how to actually get active again.
It had been months since I stepped foot into a gym, into a yoga studio or cycle class. I felt like a brand new class attendee, and all those feelings of nervousness, fear and procrastination were there – just like they were the first time I was getting into fitness.
So as a new-again fitness enthusiast, here are my tips on how to get active, again:
Schedule Your Week Out & Book in Advance
I nowo spend my Saturday afternoons planning out my weekly activities. I love a good routine, and booking all of my classes in advance ensures that I a) get into the classes I want and b) have to risk late fees or cancellation fees if I don’t attend them. I’m a stickler for fees so the financial incentive typically gets me to the class, even when I don’t want to.
Getting Active Is Not All or Nothing
One of the fastest ways to burnout is by going from zero exercise sessions a week to four HIIT classes in a row. Not only will it be mentally taxing, you will also likely risk injury and wear your body out.
Focus on variety, and easing yourself into a new routine. Balance intense classes like a bootcamp class at Barry’s with a more gentle workout such as a barre class at Barre3, followed by a walk or slow jog around the neighborhood. What’s important is that you’re moving your body and re-creating a routine. Remember that cross-training is proven to help reduce injuries and improve musculature.
Sign Up for a Competition or Race to Create a Deadline
I’m a sucker for a good deadline. It creates a regime and long term goal to stick to. Try to pick a goal that’s three to six months away so that you have time to ramp up. Then, once you have your goal chosen, create mini clear, actionable and achievable goals that feed into your larger ambitions. For example, if you plan to run a half marathon as the big goal, add in smaller goals on the way like “run a 5k” or “run a 10k” while you work toward the half marathon distance.
If your goal is to reach the 100 club at your local cycle class by the end of the year, break down that larger goal by the number of weeks you have left, then make it a goal to attend X number of classes per week.
Remember that Motivation is Fleeting, but Discipline is Forever
I’m going to tell you a hard truth: motivation is not an unlimited resource. Some days you may feel super motivated to get in a great workout and hit 10K steps, but there are plenty of mornings you will want to stay in bed. Instead of relying on motivation, focus on discipline. You’ve set this goal of getting active again, now it’s your responsibility to create discipline and stick to the goal.