Whether you took a short exercise hiatus or haven’t stepped foot in the gym in ages, the thought of getting back into the gym scene can be a daunting one. You may think to yourself, “How do I prepare? What exercises should I do? And how long should I do them?” You may even start to doubt yourself and ask the question, “Do I even want to work out at all?” While it’s understandable to have some anxious thoughts swirling around in your head, we’re here to alleviate your worries.
To gain some insight on how to get back into the gym when you’re feeling unmotivated, we consulted Matt Morris, NASM-CPT, Master Trainer and Programming Manager at Burn Boot Camp. Read on to discover the trainer’s tips, and for more, check out Tips for Effectively Working With a Personal Trainer, Expert Says.
“When someone is lacking the motivation to start a new workout regimen or habit, I always say find an accountability partner,” Morris tells us. “You will create your habit if you go to the gym starting with someone and holding each other accountable. Then, once it’s a habit, you can go by yourself as needed.”
When seeking out an accountability partner, Morris recommends finding someone who has a positive outlook and energy. This person should motivate you to “work a little bit harder” and can be a friend, coworker, family member, etc.
Additionally, Morris suggests holding yourself accountable by scheduling your workouts on your calendar to block out time for exercise.
Taking deep breaths and listening to music are not only celebrated for their ability to put your mind at ease, but they can also help boost your motivation. To encourage a strong mindset, one of Morris’ go-to tips is taking deep breaths for 30 to 60 seconds either before or during a workout. And while many enjoy listening to music while they exercise, Morris also advises people to do it before they work out. “Listen to what will set you up for success. Music goes a long way to help your mental aspect,” he says.
To keep your workouts consistent without becoming monotonous, Morris emphasizes the importance of designating certain days of the week for strength training and others for conditioning.
One way you can ensure your exercise regimen stays fresh is by doing what Morris refers to as “Stack” and “Unstack” workouts. Here’s how they work:
- Stack: Take a group of six exercises, and do the first one for a certain number of reps. Then, before you “stack” on something else, complete something in between, such as a run. Then, “stack” on your second exercise, and continue to add the next exercise each time.
- Unstack: Start with all six exercises for your reps. Do a run as your in-between exercise, and then “unstack” an exercise each time.
“Your six exercises can vary from things like squats, push-ups, reverse crunches, bicep curls, burpees, pull-ups, lunges, and more,” Morris says.
Related: The Most Popular Exercises People Are Doing To Stay Fit, Survey Says
Another element of exercise that Morris highlights is the importance of your mental and physical health working together. One way to do this is by getting your heart rate to over 100 beats per minute.
“When elevating your heart rate, there’s a physical response. Endorphins release in your brain—what many call a ‘runner’s high,'” he explains. “It’s the same with high-intensity workouts—you elevate your heart rate, and you’re a different person after the 45-minute workout.” To increase your heart rate, Morris suggests doing exercises such as running, jogging, rowing, or biking.
“Pre-workouts” are supplements designed to improve energy levels and better your overall performance. Although they’re typically taken as a powder mixed into water, they can also come in the form of capsules and energy chews. Ingredients vary depending on the product, but many of them contain caffeine, creatine, amino acids, and beta-alanine.
One product Morris favors is Burn Boot Camp’s Ignite Pre-Workout, which he says is chock-full of BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids). According to Medical News Todaythese amino acids, which can be obtained through food or supplements, can help enhance exercise performance and muscle growth, in addition to reducing body fat. If you have any health conditions, it’s always the right move to consult with your doctor before taking a pre-workout supplement.
It’s no secret that the social media content we consume can affect how we feel about ourselves. Therefore, Morris stresses the importance of filtering out sources of negativity. “In terms of social media, my number one tip is to unfollow anyone that makes you feel [down],” he says. “Only follow people who motivate you and are positive in their message.”
Brianna is the Editorial Assistant at Eat This, Not That! She attended Ithaca College, where she graduated with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Communication Studies. Read more