Spring and summer always get me in the mood to work out — maybe it’s the sunny weather, or the fact that I can actually enjoy time outside without wanting to go home and curl up under a blanket. Whatever the reason, this is about the time of year I get inspired and actually excited about strengthening my body. But, I’ve found that this fades. Over a year ago I started a workout plan that carried on through to the summer, but when my schedule changed so drastically I couldn’t figure out how to rekindle that excitement, and when I got back to school in the fall I was trying to adapt back to my life there (and maybe a little more excited to see my friends than to spend time working out).
So now that suddenly I feel compelled to work out each day, I’m beginning to ask myself: Where do I find the inspiration to work out, and how can I find ways to keep my motivation steady? Here are a few tools we can all use to help make working out exciting and fun!
Pinterest is great for ideas and inspiration. While many pins rely on the “thinspiration” method (which I have many issues with as a concept…), I’ve found dozens of cool workouts and tips that help me stay excited. But I love Pinterest especially for…the food! Eating clean is a huge part of seeing results from your workouts, but if you’re like me and just starting to figure out how to put meals together, it can help having some creative recipes to follow.
Here are some useful pins (click to visit their websites!):
YouTube Workout Videos
I love using YouTube videos to work out because it’s like I have a trainer right there with me, but I can choose my own location and schedule. I prefer working out at home, because going out can make me very anxious, and that makes the whole experience less fun. I’ve also found that I do more reps and try different exercises when I use these videos because I’m more focused on keeping up than with counting and how much my muscles hurt. These can even be fun to do with friends, too!
Cassey Ho has hundreds of videos on her channel, ranging from full-body to targeted workouts to pilates and stretching. She also does a lot of recipe videos and chats about health-related topics. Whenever I get back into working out, it’s usually these videos that I go to first. But it can be a bit overwhelming to navigate through because there’s just so much! Her beginner’s playlist and series videos can be a good place to start if you’re looking for some guidance.
BeFiT offers workout videos from the big-name trainers that range from beginner’s yoga to 30-day bootcamp plans. If you’re looking for more guidance than Blogilates and a variety of trainers to learn from, then this could be a good place to start, but most of their videos are mostly for those who are serious about intense training and are ready to commit.
Similar to Blogilates, Sarah Fit offers a plethora of workout videos targeting any and all areas of the body. However, Sarah also makes videos and aggregates playlists about nutrition and food, advice for college students or new grads, and even tips for shopping at the grocery store. If you’re looking for both workouts and lifestyle, check out Sarah’s channel.
Mobile apps are great for tracking your workouts so you can see your progress over time and even get involved in a community of people who can help cheer you on.
This is the app I’m currently using to stay motivated. Not only can you access any of Cassey’s videos through the app, but you can even purchase special workout calendars to suit your needs. Plus, there’s a forum where users can interact, share photos and recipes, and comment on one another’s posts to help stay motivated. Simply scrolling through the “before and after” section is inspiration enough to keep going.
I shelled out $0.99 for the beginner’s workout calendar to help me get back into working out, and so far it seems to have been a dollar well spent. Each day lists a combination of tasks (such as drink a full glass of water or do ten burpees) as well as a set of workout videos to complete. It helps to have some guidance when getting started, and since it’s tailored to beginners, I’m not wasting any time on videos that are far beyond my fitness level. Also, once your purchase a calendar it doesn’t go anywhere, so I can continue using it over and over if I ever need a schedule to push me to keep going!
EDIT: You can get the beginner’s and monthly calendars for free on the Blogilates website by signing up for the newsletter, but to get them in the app you have to pay $0.99.
I used Cody for a while and have seen it through some major updates. There is now a community focus, similar to Blogilates. You can share your workouts to social media or keep them in the app, where others can read your posted workouts and comment or like them for encouragement. They have categories of exercises to choose from in your entry, and you can report distance (if walking, biking, swimming, etc.), length, place, and location of your workouts, as well as if it’s part of a training program. Their training programs are similar to Blogilates, where you subscribe to specific workout plans if you’re looking for guidance (however, these are much more pricey, totaling from $10 to upwards of $50).
I don’t really use this app anymore because they took away some features I really enjoyed and replaced them with the community focus. But, I don’t feel that the app handles community quite as well as Blogilates, where it feels like users share their workouts to help each other out rather than brag. However, if you’re looking for a clean, simple app with an intuitive design and you’re more interested in keeping a log than making friends, this could be a good option to keep you motivated. I think it’s on;y available for iPhone, though, so Android users may have to find something else.
Fitocracy is similar to Cody, except with an adorable robot named Fred who cheers you on! This app also lets you follow premade workouts or build your own, so your favorite exercises are saved for you to repeat later. You also earn points for your workouts, and you can connect with friends to see how your scores line up. So if you’re looking for a competitive way to track workouts with friends or just want flexibility in your workouts, this could be a good app for you.
7 Minute Workout
If your main concern is time, this app is great. It has two premade 7 minute workouts and one 7 minute pilates workout, so you can do one or all three depending on your schedule. The app counts reps for you so you don’t fall behind, either. You can build your own 7 minute workout, but it costs $0.99 to unlock that feature. You can also “go pro” for $1.99 and get even more flexibility, letting you set a workout log, determine exercise durations, set reminders, and more. If you just want to get moving and you’re not looking for anything too intense, this is a great place to start.
If running is your thing, then check out the running app it seems like everyone’s using. It uses your location to calculate your average distance, rate, and time of your runs, and provides great visuals to show your progress. You can play any playlist during your run, and you can set it to tell you how you’re doing every time you reach a certain distance or after a set amount of time–I have it tell me how far I’ve gone and what my pace is every five minutes, which is a HUGE motivator! It also allows pairing with smart wearables like heart rate monitors, and it allows for other apps to integrate your stats, so your progress will transfer easily into many fitness, nutrition, calorie counter, and other apps (they’re also already preparing for HealthKit integration for the iOS 8 release, iPhone users).
I’ve been told by medical professionals my whole life to stay away from cardio, but I want to be healthy, and right now I get winded after one flight of stairs. I’m using RunKeeper to jog at least once a week, and I think having all of that great data will help keep me motivated to push myself to eventually be able to run without feeling like I can’t breathe.
I hope these tips help you if you’re interested in starting to work out, or if you’re looking to add a little more variety to your workout routine. I’m thinking about doing a video about my health and fitness journey in the next few weeks, so please comment below with any questions you’d like answered!
Thanks for reading! What do you do to stay motivated?
*app images pulled from Apple’s App Store