February 24, 2014

Guest Post: 11 Ways to Push Through A Workout by Lindsay Macdonald

You are only reading this post if you have survived Chicago’s Polar Vortex, and if that’s the case, congratulations; you are one of the few.

With the weather starting to warm up, and spring on the rise, it’s that time of year where we all start thinking about our beach bodies. I find the winter to be a time of hibernating and eating as much good food as possible, and if you’re anything like me, getting back into your workout routine can be a bit of a struggle.  With that in mind, I want to offer you some tips on how to push through a workout when it’s really the LAST thing you would like to be doing.

1.     Self-motivation can be a hell of a drug. It’s important from the minute you wake up to prep yourself for your workout by believing that YOU CAN DO IT! Mental preparation can give you that extra boost you need when you’re dragging your feet. I find that self-motivating myself throughout my workday keeps me from making excuses of why it’s ok to miss my workout, and instead gives me a push to hit the gym!

2.     Give yourself daily, weekly, and yearly goals and be specific! Goals create self-competition and give you motivation.  Work towards something and achieve it- use your goals to push you through your workout.


   Bad Goals                                                                                    Good Goal
Lose weight                                                                       Lose 10 lbs
Look better                                                                       Fit into my prom dress
Run this week                                                                   Run 15 miles this week
Lift weights                                                                       Lift 3 times a week                
Get healthy                                                                       Lower blood pressure

3. You don’t need a gym; the world is your oyster.  It’s easy to excuse yourself from working out when you think you need to have a membership to a gym, but who says you need one of those? Find a bike or running path near your home, run the stairs in your apartment building, do yoga in your living room, use your own body weight for strength training or buy bands (you can get them on Amazon for cheap!) and work by resistance. Those of you in Chicagoland, here’s a couple outdoor fitness parks:

Parks With Fitness Courses

Dearborn park – 865 S. Park Terrace Chicago, IL 60605
Durkin Park – 8445 S. Kolin Ave Chicago, IL 60652
Lincoln Park – 2045 N. Lincoln Park West Chicago, IL 60614
Loyola Park – 1230 W. Greenleaf Ave. Chicago, IL 60617
Rowan Park – 11546 S. Avenue L Chicago, IL 60617
Warren Park – 6601 N. Western Ave. Chicago, IL 60645

4.     Make a routine and act as if it’s your second (more fun) job that you can’t call in sick to.  I find it really helpful to visually plan out my workouts by using a dry-erase calendar and crossing them out once I have completed my daily goals.  Set a specific amount of days you want to work out a week and stick to it! By devoting a couple hours, 3-4 days a week to working out, you’ll also find a new found respect for your rest days.

5.     Make a playlist and play mind games with yourself.  This has to be the tip that I find most useful for myself.  When you set out for a run or a workout, often, you find yourself concentrating on the clock and sometimes that can make your workout seem like it’s dragging.  Instead, make a playlist of songs that pump you up and distract you from the time.  I like to match the beat of the songs to my running rhythm.  Another great way to use music to your benefit is to trade music for time… What I mean is rather than saying you’re going on a 30-minute run, say you’re going to run for 15 songs.  The mind trick does wonders!

6.     Change things up and make it fun. Your workouts don’t need to be repetitive, monotonous segments of your day – leave that to your 9-5! Cardio, fat burning, stretching, and weight lifting can be practiced through various machines, sports, classes, etc. Running on a treadmill isn’t your only cardio option, join a dance class, go on a hike, do some yoga, or hit the pool!

7.     Find distractions and push through. Think about other things you have going on in your life.  What are you going to cook for dinner? What’s your schedule like for the rest of the week?  Simply giving your mind something other to think about than what you are currently doing, can get you through a difficult bump in your workout.

8.     Workout with a partner or pro. Now, keep in mind, having a partner doesn’t work for everyone, and that’s ok! However, many people find it motivational and a boost to have a workout partner.  I really enjoy running with my dog.  If you’re going the partner route, I suggest pairing with someone who’s at a level you WANT to be at.  Exercising with someone who is more experienced allows you to really push yourself and ask questions, too! Gyms can be intimidating and it’s always helpful to be with someone who knows what they’re doing.  Eventually, you can be the teacher for someone else!

9.     Compete with yourself and others.  A competitive nature is great for a good workout!  Since you already gave yourself goals for the day and/or week, compete with yourself to accomplish them.  If you can achieve even more than your goal, you’ve exceeded expectation.  It’s also great to bring others into a friendly competition.  Challenge a friend to a ‘miles per week’ competition or anything sort of challenge that suits you.  There are great apps out there that offer workout social networks to compete as well (i.e.: Nike_+). While you’re at it, why not sign up for a race?

10.  Visualize the end of your workout and keep heading towards it.  It’s easy to get stuck focusing on the clock, especially during a run! Rather than dreading that you have 10 mins left, think of it as you ONLY have 10 mins left.  Look forward to the end and remember the discomfort or pain you are feeling is only temporary.  Sure you could slack off on that rep or cut your run short, but the only person you’re hurting is yourself.  Instead, keep pushing and remember the sense of pride you will feel when you cross the finish line.

11.  Reward yourself!  First and foremost, you’re going to feel pain and soreness.  Be prepared for those feelings and think of the pain or soreness as progress and feel good about it!  When my abs are sore, I feel more confident about my body because I know how much work I put into it.  Treat yourself to a bubble bath, massage, new running shoes, or a healthy protein shake to give yourself major props for pushing through your workout.  Heck, if I were you, I would share it with my friends on Facebook too! Be proud and remember, you can do it!

Thank you so much Lindsay for this amazing post! Make sure you head over and follow her on Instagram
She seriously inspires me to want to be better at my yoga poses and cut out some more "me fitness time". 


Balancing Lisa said...

such a great post! You have inspired me to get my butt in gear! ;) xo

Unknown said...

I like lindsay's suggestion to make it your 2nd job but the fun one. Helps to make working out less of an option and more of a commitment. And THE WHOLE visualize idea.

oomph. said...

i am definitely going to need some distractions to push through my longer runs! great post :)

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