In here we’ll (or I’ll) talk about 5 steps to start working out without motivation. We’ll also cover how much exercise we need, the mindset, the benefits and at the end, I’ll share some beginner-friendly workout routines.
Just to make something clear: I’m not going to show you how to equip a gym at home. You know what you need to start working out? The very basics? A functioning body. You look for a beginner workout on Youtube and you’re set.
If you want to add some equipment you can, but really what you need is: a yoga mat, some clothes, good shoes or no shoes if you’re doing yoga, Pilates or barre, optionally dumbbells and elastic bands. Nothing else.
What I want to do here is give you new ideas and possibly change the way you think about exercise. Exercise is not that hard thing that you have to do to get fit, so you can look good and tell people look at me now and laugh at them.
It can be a very fun thing. It’s something you do because you want to make your life better. Not because someone’s gonna applaud and drool when they see your abs, but because it makes you feel good. Because it’s a part of your day that is completely natural and brings you back to who you really are. We are made to move, to play and to be active.
Think about children. Nobody makes toddlers move (well, there are probably enough people to do that, but…). Young children don’t know or care about the benefits of exercise. They’re not trying to lose weight or get abs. But if you try to stop them from running around all day…well prepare to be screamed at and possibly bitten.
When I was a kid, my mom put me in a gym class and I was a little gymnast for a little bit. I loved it. I could bend my body any way I wanted and I was really quick. Then I became a teenager and suddenly hanging out in coffee shops and talking about guys became the cool thing to do. Another cool thing back then was to start smoking. Thankfully I didn’t start it, but I had fallen out of love with exercise for a while. I only worked out because I wanted abs, or….No that’s it. I wanted abs. I never got them, because I was eating pizza every day. But at some point, I changed my perspective and started actually craving exercise.
When you think of exercise as something you like, something that makes you happy, you start wanting to do it more often. You start looking forward to it. If you think something’s hard, you will of course not want to do it, even if it has benefits and might help you get ripped. So start thinking of exercise a little differently.
How Much Should You Do?
According to the World Health Organization, adults need between 150 and 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise every week. This means, at least 30 minutes five days a week of brisk walking, light jogging, swimming, water aerobics.
Another way to get enough exercise is to do 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise. That’s 15 minutes five days a week of running, cycling, hiking uphill, basketball, soccer or even intense gardening.
The WHO also wants you to add 2 strength training sessions to strengthen the major muscle groups in the body. This can not only make you look super hot, so you can create an Instagram profile, but, almost as importantly, – preserve bone mass, prevent fractures, reduce the risk of osteoporosis, improve sleep and help you burn more calories even at rest. (source)
The Benefits Of Exercise
Cardio and strength exercise are shown to improve sleep, reduce depression, prevent diseases like diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, some cancers, prevent fractures and help maintain weight loss.
If you’re feeling unmotivated, chances are, once you start working out regularly for at least a few weeks – you’ll become more motivated by the action itself. Not just to exercise, but in life in general.
How To Make Exercise A Habit
To make exercise a habit, start by being more intentional about it. You can’t just keep saying “I’ll start working out tomorrow” for an entire week and expect that something’s gonna change because you’re saying it all the time. You need to be more specific, you need to make a plan and you need to take action.
Here are 5 questions to ask yourself when you’re serious about starting to work out and making it a habit:
- What? What type of exercise do you want to do? Yoga, pilates, running, weight lifting, team sport, bodyweight workouts, HIIT?
- Where? Where are you going to work out? At home, gym, outside – pick a place!
- How? Are you going to exercise alone or with a friend? If you want someone to exercise with someone else, you might be more likely to do it, because they’ll hold you accountable.
- How long? How long do you want to work out in a day, in a week? 30 minutes, 20 minutes, 1 hour? Each one is a good option when you actually do it.
- When? What time of the day or which days of the week do you want to exercise?
Write all that down and take action.
5 Tips To Start Working Out, Even Without Motivation
1. Exercise In The Morning
I find the best way for me to stick to a workout schedule is to exercise in the morning. It makes me feel good physically and mentally, and it gives me that sense of accomplishment early in the day. Plus let’s be honest, whenever I say I will exercise later in the day – I don’t exercise at all. And I’m having a pretty mediocre-mixed-with-crappy day. There’s always something better to do later in the day. So if you can: wake up early and exercise it in the morning. You can work out at home, at the gym, run or play outside.
2. Join A Local Fitness Class
Sign up for local dance, yoga, Pilates, barre or team sport (like basketball) class. The reason I recommend this is that you simply learn differently when you’re doing a class in person. You can ask any question you want right away and if you’re not doing a movement right, the trainer will most likely give you feedback and teach you how to do it properly.
Joining a local fitness class is also great for accountability. Another benefit is that you’ll add new fun experiences to your everyday life, meet new people and have fun. This is also key for good health and will make you look forward to working out.
If you don’t know how to find classes near you, simply google the class you want to join and the city you live in. You’re welcome.
3. Disguise Exercise As A Fun Activity For Friends Or Family
Instead of going out for beers or to eat pizza every time, you can also propose certain types of exercise as a fun activity to your family or friends. Even to people at work. And I’m saying this without being completely delusional.
You can play basketball, try indoor climbing, go hiking, swimming, seriously any team sport is good.
I’m telling you, I’ve made some very lazy people play basketball with me. If I can do it, you can do it too. We have a good time and then they suddenly want to do it again.
Focus on simply having fun and being active with the people you love.
4. Exercise At Home
I find it so much easier to work out every day when I do at home workouts or go out for a run in the morning. I don’t have the habit or motivation to go to the gym every day and I always make excuses not to.
When you exercise at home, you shouldn’t have too many excuses. You don’t need to go anywhere else and you can get a good workout in as little as 15 minutes. Plus it’s free or doesn’t cost a ton.
Start small with 5-10 minutes at a time, anything is really better than nothing. Yoga, barre, pilates, HIIT, walking workouts…there are so many exercise classes online for free. Just search on Youtube or try Grokker for 14 days (they have more structured programs for beginners and beyond). My favorite types of at home workouts are definitely yoga, Pilates and barre. I feel relaxed, lean and strong when I do them.
5. Track Your Workouts And Progress
Now, something that really motivates many is tracking.
I now track everything. I track how much and how long I work on this blog, I track how much I run, I track how many workouts I did during the week, I track how much I sleep.
And no, I don’t have a watch, or a phone or a tiny robot to do that. I use a piece of paper, a clock and a pen to write down the things that are important.
By the end of the week, you can reflect and see what you did good and what you can do better.
So track the workouts you did, how many reps, how you felt, how long you did it for. Try tracking everything for a month, reflect on the weekends, adjust and see your progress.
Best Types Of Workouts For Beginners
What type of workouts you do, depends on your fitness level and your own preferences. If you’re new to working out, some beginner-friendly options include walking (really), yoga, Pilates, barre, swimming.
These sports are challenging, but they’re low-impact, which means there’s no jumping involved. So whenever you look for a workout class, either look for the word low-impact or beginner.
And as I mentioned, start small. You don’t want to do 1 really tough workout the first or second time and then give up. Be nice to yourself and be patient.
Here are some workout plans and workout collections that you might find helpful:
I hope this post helped those of you, who struggle to start exercising regularly. I know I lose my motivation every now and then, but whenever I go back to what exercise should be – FUN! – I want to do more of it and I love how it makes me feel.