Normally, if I’m lacking motivation to workout, the answer is simple: Show up. By that, I mean I drive to the gym and walk in the front door.
I’m immediately greeted by other athletes that help to pick me up out of a funk. The coach provides the specific workout and warm-up. They set the clock, and I just…start moving. Within minutes, I feel worlds better.
With that in-person atmosphere temporarily on pause during COVID-19, it can be difficult to find that motivation. There isn’t a set in-person environment where you can go or a definitive group of people to hold you accountable at a specific time.
We’ve heard this struggle from many athletes. There isn’t one single solution that works for everyone. So, we thought we’d share a few different ideas and mindsets to help you find motivation during challenging times.
Use the Clock
Think about the last time you did a benchmark workout like “Fran.” If you’re like me, it lingers in your mind a bit leading up to the class. You know it’s going to sting. Perhaps you even have some expectations in your mind about times you want to beat or past performances.
If you’re like me, you might look for any excuse to delay the workout. I need to chalk my hands. Do I need to go to the bathroom? Let me adjust my clips…
Then, the coach starts the clock, and you hear the “3, 2, 1…Go.” All of the doubt and butterflies are pushed aside, and you just start moving.
There’s something magical about the clock in that way. It eliminates excuses and provides a catalyst for you to start moving. You can use this to your advantage! Apps like SmartWOD offer a similar countdown timer. When I set a timer on my watch, I’ll set it for 20:10 or similar so I still have a 10 second countdown.
Remember “Something Is Infinitely Better than Nothing”
We’ve talked about this before, but it’s a drum that should be beaten often. Something isn’t just better than nothing. It’s infinitely better.
Maybe a workout calls for 20 minutes of an AMRAP, but the kids are going crazy so you have to call it quits after 12 minutes. That 12 minutes of work is still worlds better than skipping the workout altogether.
Don’t feel the need to chase perfection. Follow the mantra AJ shared: “Do what you can with what you have where you are.”
Recreate Your Routine
If you’re in our private member group on Facebook, you’ll recall a post Zach recently wrote regarding the power of routine. With in-person classes, we feel it naturally. Many of the same people show up at the 5AM or 12PM class each day as part of their routine.
Well, routines currently look a bit different than they did several months back. However, that doesn’t mean all is lost! You can still build your own routine and hold yourself accountable.
- Set a designated time each day where you’re going to work out. If you’re having a difficult time with motivation, earlier in the day might be better.
- Make that time public to friends/family/accountability buddies.
- Keep a tally either on your phone, on a piece of paper, your workout journal, on a calendar, etc. Mark down each day you knock out the workout. This way, you get to celebrate as you build momentum.
Outside of workouts, look for other ways to build in routine. Sit down and schedule out your day the night before. It will give you a feeling of calmness and control.
Lean on Accountability Groups
Members will also recognize this recommendation from Zach as well. Accountability groups can go a long way in helping you stay motivated! Everyone has been sharing their workouts in the member group, which is fantastic. Creating a smaller, more intimate group can help even further.
Here’s how it works:
- Team Up: Think of 1, 2 or 3 friends max from your usual class time that you enjoy talking with and working out with from back in the glory days. Keep it simple. Keep it small. Too many people in a group makes coordinating too challenging and this becomes counter productive.
- Connect: Reach out to those friends and communicate with the mindset of accountability. This isn’t a meme war messaging group. This is meant to help be a positive and encouraging group.
- Establish your Daily Workout Time: Set a time every day that the 3 or 4 of you will commit to doing the workout. (If you know you need to knock it out early in the morning because if you put it off to later in the day it more than likely won’t happen, team up with others like yourself! You may need to post here in the member group asking if there is anyone else willing to crush it with you at 6:00 AM)
- Plan it: “Let’s start a group text message thread! At 5:00 PM can FaceTime call or simply text that we’re starting. We all will warm up, do the workout and have scores ready to text to each other by no later than 6:00 PM.”
- DO THE WORKOUT: You’ve committed to your team, now get it done! You’re accountable to respond with either a text message containing your results or an excuse.
Scale and Modify
Some workouts just look intimidating. Maybe the set workout calls for 30 reps of thrusters. I just know it’s going to sting…bad.
There’s value in pushing yourself through something even if it’s tough. That’s how we build strength (both mental and physical). However, if the choice is between skipping the workout entirely or changing the workout up a bit, we’d much prefer the latter.
Use scaling to your advantage! For example, there was a workout that involved running and thrusters. The thrusters were programmed to increase in reps, starting at 20 and ending at 40 on the final round. Knowing that a set of 40 was mentally overwhelming, I did 15/20/25 on the three rounds and pushed myself to get them all unbroken.
Did I do the workout as prescribed? No. Did I get a great workout? Yes!
Scaling could look like modifying the rep scheme, changing the weight, or even switching out an exercise altogether. These are all tools at your disposal! Don’t be afraid to use them.