Since the beginning of the pandemic, many of us have found creative new ways to stay fit while isolating at home. Virtual exercise videos and home equipment have exploded in popularity over the past year, and there are real upsides to this trend: For many of us, working out from home is cheaper and more convenient than going to a gym.
But when you’re exercising at home, it’s not always easy to stay motivated and on track with your fitness goals. If you’ve struggled to stay consistent with your workouts, let’s talk about how to get motivated to work out at home.
Why Do We Often Have No Motivation To Workout at Home?
Keeping up with any workout routine—at home or at the gym—takes time, effort, and commitment. Life is full of responsibilities and distractions that compete for our attention; no matter how much we may want to work out, it can sometimes feel like we don’t have the time or energy for it.
Being at home adds an extra layer of challenge to the equation. There’s usually no shortage of chores and other tasks to be done around the house. If your kids have been at home due to school closures, you might need to spend extra time tending to them—and sometimes, that means putting your own needs on the back burner.
The more busy, stressed, and tired we are, the less likely we are to feel like exercising. In one study on working parents, time constraints created by work and family responsibilities made it challenging for participants to work out regularly. Ironically, though, exercise is a proven way to reduce stress and anxiety while boosting natural energy levels. Actively prioritizing your workouts can help you cope with life’s ups and downs.
During the pandemic, many of us have also felt isolated from one another. We are social creatures, and research has shown that being socially connected is vital to our physical and mental health. Working out alongside other people and having shared accountability can help keep us exercising regularly—when we’re isolated, it becomes much harder to stay motivated.
Exercising on your own comes with some unique hurdles, but once you understand how to motivate yourself to work out at home, you can get back to the active lifestyle you enjoy.
Tips on How To Get Motivated To Exercise at Home
We’ve talked about why it can be challenging to motivate yourself to exercise at home. Now, let’s delve into some scientifically-backed ways to get yourself revved up and raring to go once again. We’ll also look at how to stay motivated to work out at home because you’re worth the effort, and you deserve to be your best and healthiest self!
Discover your “why”
To stay motivated in any pursuit in your life, you need to have a good reason why you’re doing it. Having a strong “why” will carry you through the low-energy days and keep you going strong even when your motivation lags.
So take some time to think about why you want to be active. Why is exercise important to you? How does being active make your life better? Also, give some thought to what your goals are and what you want to achieve. Do you want to lose weight? Build muscle mass? Train and run your first marathon?
Research has also shown that educating yourself about the benefits of exercise can also help you feel more motivated to do it. There are so many ways exercise can benefit you — in addition to being great for your health, it can make you feel more confident and comfortable in your own skin. It also energizes you, boosts your mood, and soothes stress.
Whatever your goals and reasons are for exercising, write them down and keep them somewhere where you’ll see them often.
Schedule time for your workouts
We all get busy sometimes. Life can be hectic and we sometimes have many different things on our plates. If working out matters to you, carve out time in your schedule to make it happen so that it doesn’t fall by the wayside.
One study looked at a group of women who completed an exercise program. The researchers were interested in the factors that kept the women working out regularly after the program was over — and they consistently found that the women who made exercise a priority were the most active in the long term.
How do you prioritize your workouts? Block out times on your calendar each week when you will do your workouts. You can plan these times around other activities such as work and family responsibilities — but choose times that work for you and that you’ll be able to stick to.
Choose activities you enjoy and want to do
If you’re wondering how to motivate yourself to work out alone, one of the best strategies is to pick activities that you love doing. It may sound simple and obvious, but it’s much easier to stick with exercise when you enjoy doing it.
A lot of people assume exercise has to be boring and difficult, but it doesn’t! If you want to make exercise a habit, you should learn to associate “workout time” with enjoyment and good feelings.
If you love being outdoors, how about going for walks or hikes when the weather is nice? Or, if you’re into dancing, why not try out some virtual dance lessons? Choose something active that you enjoy doing so that you will want to do it.
On the flip side, if there’s something you don’t like, don’t force it — if you hate running, you probably won’t stick with it no matter how disciplined you are.
Set realistic goals based on your current fitness level
Set yourself up for workout success by choosing realistic goals. It’s great to challenge yourself and go out of your comfort zone, but having goals that are too ambitious can actually be demotivating. The best goals are the ones that fit with your life, schedule, and current level of fitness.
If you’re brand new to exercising, deciding that you’re going to train for an Ironman triathlon might initially get you pumped about working out, but it can take years to build up the strength and endurance to do that kind of event. Starting with a shorter event (like a sprint-distance triathlon) will still challenge you, but it’s a more attainable goal for someone earlier on in their fitness journey.
When you’re just starting out, set smaller goals that you can achieve in a shorter amount of time. Those wins will fuel your motivation to keep going, and you’ll eventually be ready to tackle those bigger challenges and bucket-list items.
How To Stay Motivated When Working Out at Home
Getting started with any new habit is the hardest part. Once you’ve started working out at home, you’ll begin to build momentum, your fitness will start to increase, and it will be easier to keep exercising regularly.
But how do you stay motivated over time so that your habit sticks? How do you make sure that you’re getting good quality workouts at home and seeing your goals through to completion? Let’s take a look at some tips for sustaining your home workout motivation over the long haul.
Keep your eyes on the prize
If you find yourself feeling less motivated to work out, it can help to remind yourself of why you’re doing it. Re-read your list of reasons why physical activity matters to you and how it enhances your life. Remembering why you care about being active in the first place can be a powerful motivator.
Also, remind yourself of those goals you set. Keeping in mind what you’re working towards and what you want to accomplish can help keep you moving forward even on those days when you’re not really feeling it.
Track your sessions and monitor your progress
One of the most satisfying and rewarding parts of working out is watching yourself get fitter, stronger, leaner, and more healthy over time. Self-monitoring has been shown to increase awareness of exercise habits and improve results for people who were trying to lose weight.
No matter what your fitness level is now, you will get stronger and build your endurance as long as you keep doing your workouts. When you track your exercise activities using a smartwatch, good heart rate monitor, or fitness app, you get to watch as your stats improve in real-time. Seeing proof that you’re making progress feels awesome and helps you stay motivated to keep going.
Have fun with your workouts
Earlier, we mentioned the importance of choosing exercise activities that you like doing. If you already know that you love yoga or cycling, by all means, have at it—but what if you’re not sure what you enjoy?
If you need a place to start, check out our list of ideas for home workouts. Whether you love doing squats and jumps or you want to beef up your upper body strength, we’ve got detailed workout plans with demo videos showing you how to do each move. They’re all bodyweight exercises that require little to no equipment (or gym experience) to do successfully.
Also, check out our rundown on exergaming and fitness video games, which are also a proven way to inject a bit of entertainment into your exercise.
You can also make some kinds of exercise more exciting by “multitasking”. If you’re spending an hour on an elliptical machine, listening to music, reading a book, or watching an episode of your favorite TV show can help your workout go by a lot quicker. Be as creative as you like—but remember that you’re allowed to have fun while you’re exercising!
Get your partner or friends involved
Having social support can make a world of difference in your motivation to work out, especially when you’re at home. Studies have emphasized that exercising with friends, family members, or partners makes us much more likely to stay active in the long run.
When the weather is nice enough, you could meet up with a friend to go for a walk or a jog outside. But you can also bring a social element to your solo workouts using apps like Zwift or Peloton. Working out with others also creates shared accountability—you can check in with your friends about how they’re doing with their goals and ask them to do the same for you.
The Great Things About Home Workouts
Exercising at home is a convenient alternative to visiting a brick-and-mortar gym. Although there are perks to going to a gym, you can save time, money, and hassle by working out in your own space. Let’s look at a few reasons why you might want to give home workouts a try (if you haven’t already).
You’ll cut down on unnecessary expenses
Gym memberships offer a lot of great amenities, but they come with a price tag to match. You’re already paying for your rent or mortgage…If you’re looking to cut costs, why not take advantage of the space you have at home to work out? You don’t need fancy gym equipment or workout machines to get started; all you need is the right attitude.
You don’t have to go anywhere
If you want to make it as easy as possible for yourself to work out, do it at home. Grabbing your gym gear, packing your bags, and getting to a workout facility takes extra time and energy that you may want to spend in different ways. When you exercise at home, you don’t have to mess with a commute. All you have to do is throw your workout gear on, and boom — you’re at the gym.
You’ll skip the crowds and stay safe at home
You may or may not like exercising in public to begin with, but during the pandemic, being surrounded by sweaty people who are breathing hard creates an added health risk. You can safeguard your and your family’s health by staying at home and doing your workouts there. Plus, you won’t have to wait in line for the shower or drinking fountain.
You can do it your way
When you’re at home, you can work out whenever and however you want to. You can blast your ‘80s dance music through your speakers if that’s your thing. Or you can dress in that ratty old tee shirt and sweatpants that you’d never dream of wearing out of the house. You get to exercise anytime, day or night, and you can do it any way that suits your fancy.
Your only competition is you
Working out at home also removes the temptation to compete or compare yourself with anyone else. You won’t be glancing at other people in the room or feeling self-conscious about exercising in front of others; you’ll just be focusing on yourself and your workout. Because that’s all that matters.