I am the QUEEN of the workout slump. I have always been an active dancer since I was a little girl, but unfortunately once I went on to college I had to give that up. I tried joining dance groups on campus, but between the overload of school work and transferring Universities, it was difficult. By the time I was a Junior, my metabolism had caught up with me and I had noticeably gained weight. I made a conscious decision that I had to start excercising. The only problem: other than dancing, I had no idea how to work out. Over the next three years, I had gone through so many workout slumps I can’t even count.
But somehow over the past semester of school and now that I’ve graduated, something has clicked. I am finally out of the workout slump and I’m on the longest workout track of my life! In the process, I have learned a ton of lessons that I’d love to share with you all that will hopefully lead you all out of your workout slumps, assist you in your fit lifestyle, and help you out!
1) Find something you love
This is the number one thing that brought me out of my workout slump. I tried the treadmill, I worshipped the stairmaster, I did everything in the gym and I just wasn’t loving it. Worst of all, I wasn’t motivated to come back other than the pure motivation of changing my body, which wasn’t changing. Then I found ZUMBA. As a dancer, this was something that came so naturally to me and I absolutely fell in love! I would go a couple times a week and I was addicted.
Even if you’re not a dancer, make sure whatever it is that you’ve decided to pursue for excercise is something you love. If you love to run and the treadmill isn’t doing it for you, run outside! If you love to bike but can’t seem to motivate yourself hard enough on the stationary bike, try a spinning class (which is also super fun!). If you are having fun, I promise it won’t feel like a workout, you’ll get addicted, and you’ll be out of your slump in no time!
2) Try a workout class
Aside from Zumba, there’s spinning class, yoga class, water aerobics, and the list goes on and on depending on your gym! There are so many advantages of going to a class: you’re surrounded by people working out with you which keeps you motivated, you’re looking to a professional instructor to see what to do instead of having to rely on yourself, most gyms have these classes a couple times a week so you can keep going and its a new outlet to make friends (or bring your friends!) with the same goals as you.
3) Don’t be so hard on yourself
Goals are good, but putting too much pressure on yourself is not. When you look back and realize you only worked out twice this week instead of your goal of five, or you had two cheat meals instead of one, these negative thoughts build and it’s very easy to be discouraged and stop working out altogether. So maybe you didn’t get a chance to go to the gym this week, use that as positive motivation to get yourself into the gym next week instead of being negative and putting yourself down.
4) Eat right
There is nothing more discouraging than working out super hard but feeling like it’s not working. If you feel like this, there’s a good chance it’s because you haven’t changed your diet. Working out is only 20% of it, the rest is what you eat!
But here’s what I’ve found about eating right: Eat what you love!That’s not to say, you love McDonalds so eat McDonalds, but don’t try to make yourself eat Quinoa if you don’t like it. Not only will this discourage you from dieting and eating right, but making yourself eat things you don’t like will tempt you to eat that Thai food you love or be tempted by $2 burger night. Then you’re back to square one and you’ll think “well, why workout now?”
5) Weigh yourself?
Well, that’s for you to determine. I know studies show that people who weigh themselves experience faster weight loss. But personally, this isn’t motivating for me. After a week or two and I see no change in the scale (sometimes seeing it even go up!) is anything but encouraging. I was being so hard on myself, until finally one of my good friends suggested to stop weighing myself and just base my progress on how I feel and how my clothes fit. I listened, and it worked. I was more motivated and after a month or so, I weighed myself and couldn’t believe my progress! But if the scale encourages you, then use it! Just remember that there are times of the day when the scale will say you weigh more than you do; the best time to weigh yourself is in the morning when you first wake up.
6) Reward yourself, but don’t restrict yourself
Ok, my favorite food on the planet is Pad Thai from this Thai restaurant down the block. I know it is so incredibly bad for me, but I love it so much. In the past, I have tried to restrict myself from eating it to stay true to my diet. Then I would have it once, realize once again how much I love it and how much I hate this diet, and then be back to square one and give up my diet entirely. This time I realized I don’t need to cut myself off entirely. Instead, I only eat half of it and give it to someone else. So instead of cutting yourself off from your favorites, just cut back. If you’ve had a good week, maybe share a plate of your favorite four cheese pasta with your friend so you don’t resent your diet later.
7) Don’t let others put you down
So often we, especially women, look for affirmation from others that our lifestyle changes have been working. Trust me on this, I’m Indian. The first thing a family member says when they see you after a while is either “you lost weight!” or “wow you gained weight,” nothing else and nothing in between. So when you feel like you’ve lost weight and someone makes no comments about your weight loss or that you’ve gained weight, it’s very discouraging. And then when you ask them if they’ve noticed and they say no, that’s almost even more discouraging. But here’s what you have to keep in mind: you are doing this for yourself! Who cares what people think or if they notice? Don’t let this put you down!
8) Check out Pinterest!
Believe it or not, Pinterest is the mothership of workouts, recipes, inspirational quotes, playlists, and anything else you need to motivate yourself. Download the app or check out the website and explore! But be careful: the fitness section is filled with pictures of gorgeous women who are in super shape and at first you may say “I want to look just like that” but eventually you may be discouraged by it and say, “I’ve been working out for months and look nothing like that.” Keep in mind, a lot of these women eat nothing but dry chicken breast and broccoli. Not to mention, there is a magical weapon called Photoshop! I know I was victim of these pictures for a while and it’s not fun! So try to ignore these things as much as possible on Pinterest, and in all of those Fitness magazines and such.
9) Track your progress and REFLECT
Whether through a diary or a blog, it’s always great to see how far you’ve come. But more importantly, reflect on why you are trying to lose weight to begin with. You’ll find a lot of internal motivation if you make a list of reasons why you want to lose weight. To look good in your New Years dress? To look great at your friend’s wedding? Or is it because you want to feel good and healthy? Then when you are feeling discouraged, take a look through your journal, progress, and reasons and you’ll be back on track.
10) Make your goal intangible
For example, as a shopaholic, I have a “goal dress” that I want to look great in! Just like that, if you’re not motivated by numbers, use goals like this to motivate yourself! Track your progress by trying on your dress (or whatever it is) here and there to see how far you’ve come! It’s a neat way to motivate yourself!
Losing weight is not easy! But staying motivated to keep going is sometimes even more difficult. I hope some of these tips motivate you and keep you on track!
Good luck! Much luv,