I’m more than familiar with the struggle of not being able to decide which workout to do.
weeks months not doing any exercise because I don’t want to start until I’ve found the perfect workout. For some weird reason, it makes more sense to me to do nothing than to do a workout that might not be quite right (well ok I know the perfectionism is actually the reason).
Before I start a workout I want to be sure it’ll get me the results I want. I want to be sure I’ll like it. I want to be sure I’ll be able to stick to it.
I don’t want to try a workout unless success is guaranteed.
But I have tried a lot of different workouts over the years – running, yoga, boxing, pilates, spin classes, resistance training, HIIT, boot camps, Kayla Itsines BBG, cardio tennis and every kind of gym class you can think of (mind you, I only tried half of them because a hot celebrity said that’s how she got her amazing body).
Some workouts worked for me and some didn’t, and that’s kind of the point here.
Whether or not something worked didn’t really have that much to do with whether the workout was ‘good’ or ‘bad’, it had to do with me as an individual. Exercise is not one-size-fits-all.
Everyone is different.
We often look to others for inspiration and advice when it comes to exercise, and I think it’s so important to do that. But we usually forget that we need to look to ourselves too. We need to know ourselves and know what works for us.
Don’t know what works for you? This is the blog post for you!
1. What are you willing to do?
When you’re deciding which workout you should do, you need to know what you’re willing to do.
Answering this question isn’t easy, mainly because we prefer to answer it based on what the ‘perfect’ version of ourselves would do. The version that’s 100% motivated all the damn time, that wakes up as soon as her alarm goes off, that never questions whether it’s worth persisting when she’s not seeing results.
Obviously this perfect version doesn’t actually exist, so we need to get real here.
Ask yourself these questions and answer them honestly:
- Are you willing to wake up earlier than you normally do? How much earlier?
- Are you willing to pay for your workouts? And if so, how much?
- Are you willing to drive to your workout? And if so, exactly how far? (How many minutes are you willing to spend in the car?)
- How long are you willing to workout for per session?
- Are you willing to say no to some things so you can workout? And what are you willing to say no to?
And while you’re answering those questions, think about what you’re not willing to do. What are your deal breakers? (What similarities are there between the workouts you haven’t stuck to in the past?)
And be real with your answers – I cannot emphasise how important that is enough. There’s absolutely no point lying to yourself here if you actually want to find a workout you will stick to.
2. What time of day works for you?
So often we’re told we should be ‘morning people’ that we try to ignore what actually works for us.
I definitely think it’s possible to become a morning person, but it’s only possible if you actually want to become one.
But you don’t have to want to become one. I hope someone’s told you that before – that you don’t have to be a morning person and you don’t have to want to be one. It’s ok to not be a morning person. It’s more than ok not to be a morning person, it’s perfect.
So what time of day works best for you?
How have you gone in the past with a morning workout, an afternoon workout, a late night workout? Which did you stick to, and which didn’t you stick to? Do you love waking up early or do you hate it? Do you snooze your alarm every morning?
If you’re not a ‘morning person’ – do not plan your workouts in the morning! You can always change the time of day you workout as you go along but do not start with a morning workout if you don’t like mornings.
Some people may tell you that morning workouts will be ‘better’ for you – if you’re not a morning person, ignore them. A morning workout isn’t better for you if you sleep through it.
3. What workout will get you to your goal?
Maybe surprisingly, picking which workout you’re actually going to do only comes in at step 3.
Once you know what you’re willing to do and the time of day you’re going to do it, then you can have a think about what type of exercise will fit that.
Now I’m not going to be telling you what workout options there are, you probably already know them (which is why you can’t decide which one to do). But if you need some ideas, here are some fitness blogs and Youtube channels that I love:
- Kayla Itsines Biking Body Guide
- Tone It Up
- Yoga with Adrienne
- Lauren Conrad
- Amanda Bisk
- Jessica Olie – Let’s Start Yoga
I’m currently doing Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide (with my friends from work) and Bikram Yoga twice or three times a week. But that’s what works for me, based on how I answered those questions above.
4. What can you do to make it easier for yourself?
The perfect workout is the one you can actually stick to for more than a few weeks, so what are some things you can do to make sticking to your workout easier?
I’m not talking about modifying the exercises or anything like that. I’m talking about things like:
- Don’t give yourself wiggle room – set a time of day to workout and actually workout at the time (that might sound restrictive and like there’s less chance you’ll do it but without a specific plan it can be so easy to let a whole day slip away from you)
- Eat healthy food (and enough of it) so you have enough energy to complete your workouts
- Lay out your workout clothes the night before your workout (and your normal outfit for the day too)
- Play to your strengths – do what you know you can actually stick to, not what the perfect version of yourself can stick to
- Reward yourself for sticking to your workout (but not with food!)
5. Do not give up
Unfortunately, it’s inevitable that there’s going to come a time when you feel seriously frustrated – your initial motivation and enthusiasm for your new workout will have waned but you haven’t started seeing results (yet!).
This is the point in time when most people give up. And this the point in time when you’re about to start seeing results.
So you have to be prepared that this time will come and commit to continuing anyway.
It’s going to be a shit time, but it won’t last forever. If you persist you will see results (and you may as well persist – if you don’t you’ll just have to eventually go back to the start anyway).
Give it at least a few months to work, not just a few weeks. As I said, there’s going to be a shit time but you can make it through (and those few months are going to pass whether you’re workout out or not).
Have your say
Do you ever struggle to choose which workout to do? Are you worried the workout you’ve chosen won’t be the right one?
Let me know in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you!
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Good tips. I find the only excercise I will do fairly consistently is walking. Im not a morning person but i definitely don’t want to work out after a long day so i go for a walk in the mornings. If i have to get motivated to drive somewhere i won’t so i just walk in my neighborhood and if i stay at home to workout (video of yoga etc) ill get distracted and not do anything so getting out of the house is better, that’s why walking (or jogging but i have a bad back so that’s out) works best for me 🙂
Love this post! I’ve been trying to plan a workout routine and I discovered that working out from my dorm is something I can commit to, unlike trekking to the gym each day. Blogilates are great and I love making workouts for my favorite TV shows, like Gossip Girl!
paige • eyeliner wings & pretty things
Just started working out 2 weeks back since my 2016 resolution is to be healthier 🙂 My only concern is that the workout routine/method isn’t correct and hurting my body without knowing. Therefore I’m very careful with the routine and pay lots of attention on the sore parts, make sure the right muscles were ‘trained’. Great post Sam! Just what I need to push myself further.
Thank you and Happy Tuesday x
Real Life Nerd // http://www.vivienekok.com
All of your tips are so helpful, it’s so hard to stick to an exercise routine without losing steam once in a while! Thanks for sharing, here’s hoping this time sticks!
Great post! I went through the same thought process myself and found that at different times of year, I stick to different types of workout. In summer I prefer to go outside for long distance running, in winter I prefer stay at home workouts (using my sofa!). That kinda makes sense but I had to actually figure that out.
The downside of it all is, I am currently in Shanghai, and as you may have heard, air pollution is almost tangible here. So no more running outside :(. Still trying to figure out if and where I can properly use my running shoes around here!
By the way, it is so nice to have a place where I can discuss my workout when living in a city where I only have a few friends relatively far away. Thanks, Sam!
I loved this post! I’ve always had the hardest time looking for a workout I can stick to! It’s so frustrating… hopefully your tips will solve that now 🙂 Thank you so much!!
Marielisa | http://www.primpandwear.com
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