I’ve always been one of those people who values time and wants to make the most of every day.
In my late teens and 20s making the most of every day simply meant going to the gym most days.
But as I got older, growing responsibilities and a family meant that my priorities changed somewhat and I had to learn how to get motivated to workout at home.
Suddenly, spending two to three hours of the day at the gym wasn’t an option, but I still wanted to workout.
I started to build a garage gym set up, but there were times when I really struggled to motivate myself – especially after a long day in the office.
Over the years however, I identified exactly what caused home-workout demotivation and I developed strategies to overcome these obstacles. I rarely miss workouts now and in this article I’m going to share my strategies with you so that you too will get motivated to work out at home.
The Number 1 (and 2) Reason Why You Struggle To Workout At Home
Distraction! Never in all of human history, has there been so many competing voices vying for our attention! The success of Netflix testifies to our susceptibility to screens, to stories, to fantasy.
All of that on top of family and friends who also need our time and attention.
So distraction is the number one reason, but there’s another factor that can be just as much of a hindrance to your workout plans.
If you work a 9-5 it’s so important to either have your workout before you leave for work in the morning or immediately upon returning home in the evening.
I have found that if I get home from work and then sit down to enjoy a nice meal, I find it practically impossible to get up again and hit a workout. So avoid doing this if at all possible.
Now that we’ve dealt with the primary factors that destroy our motivation to workout, let’s dig in to what you need to do consistently in order to get motivated to workout at home.
Make a Weekly Planner
Try creating a weekly workout plan with all your workouts plotted on it. Colour code it for cardio, resistance and stretching and create tick boxes next to each workout.
As you progress through the week and begin to see a growing number of boxes getting ticked, you’re going to feel a tangible sense of achievement and you’ll be driven to push on.
A fully completed week with all your workout boxes ticked is the perfect motivation for the week ahead!
Turn Off The Tech…
When it’s workout time make sure that you remove as far as possible all those devices that compete for your attention.
Obviously the main one is your smartphone, but as we’ll discuss in a minute, we don’t actually recommend getting rid of this. If possible, turn off notifications and turn on auto call-forwarding so that you won’t be disturbed during your workout.
Keep TVs, tablets and laptops switched off.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll be able to watch a Netflix series in the background as you work out. If you’re anything like me, you’ll end up abandoning your workout and becoming engrossed in the screen.
…But Use a Timer!
They say that time is precious and it surely is – for so many reasons. This is why it’s important to limit the time that you spend working out so that you have more time for the genuinely important things and people in your life.
By using an interval timer on your smart phone you can ensure that every workout session is intense and effective.
Taking this approach will also mean that you know before you start your work out exactly how long it will last.
Not only does that make it easier to squeeze your workouts into your busy life schedule but it also helps with motivation.
For instance nothing will zap your motivation more than knowing you have an arduous, open-ended, heavy leg workout ahead of you!
So download an interval training app and experiment with timing your workouts. For an example of an effective timed workout, see my kettlebell leg workout here.
Make Exercise A Household Habit
This is a big one – bring the other members of your household with you on your fitness journey.
If your workout habits are getting in the way or disturbing other members of your household then exercise is going to become a source of contention.
You risk falling into the trap of not exercising simply to avoid conflict.
This is why it’s such a good idea to engage with them and attempt to get them to begin exercising too. If at all possible you should try to include them in your own regime. However this will not always be viable given that we’re all at different levels of fitness and often have different objectives.
As an example, I recently convinced my son to join me in the couch to 5K program.
Not only has it been great for him to improve his fitness and get him doing something other than gaming, our tri-weekly runs have become a precious bonding time. During the time we’re out running we will have conversations that we just otherwise wouldn’t have.
In addition to this, he is supportive of my other exercise activities. I believe that this is because his perspective has changed now that he has seen firsthand how exercise has had a positive impact on his life and health.
The quality of family life has improved dramatically because of exercise.
Wear The Right Clothes
When I say wear the right clothes I mean that you need to wear clothes that are specifically for working out.
This is to help you get into the right mindset.
After the Covid pandemic and associated lockdown, I went back to the office and it was agreed between management and staff that we’d drop suits, shirts and tie on days we had no external meetings.
So we all got into the habit of rocking up to work in our jeans and T-shirts. Then I’d go home and I’d be in my jeans and t-shirt. Rinse and repeat.
Over time, I noticed that we weren’t working as hard as we ought to have been doing. Within myself, I noticed that I was struggling with motivation when in the office.
Dissatisfied with what was happening, I went back to wearing a suit (or at least suit trousers and smart shoes) and to my surprise I found that my attitude was different and that my output increased.
What I had discovered post lockdown, scientists have known for some time as demonstrated in this 2016 article which appeared in Scientific American that looked at how what we wear at work influences our performance.
Applying this to your home workout regime, if every time you workout, you get changed into a designated workout outfit this will signal to your brain that your body is about to get an intense workout.
Don’t underestimate the power of this subtle cue to the body and mind. You will find that you will be less likely to back out of the workout or quit midway through.
To compound the benefits of this, invest in some new workout clothes. If you’ve paid out hard-earned money to buy some new workout clothes, you’re more likely to want to put them on. By doing so, you’re almost removing completely the risk of not starting your workout.
Get The Right Equipment
Make sure that you’ve got the right equipment to get the job done.
When we’re talking about intense, timed workouts, that’s simply not going to be possible if you’re trying to change the weights on a set of conventional dumbbells during your 20 seconds rest between sets.
Instead of conventional dumbbells you may want to consider selectable dumbbells. Yes they are a significant expense but as you will learn in my article discussing powerblock dumbbells, throughout two decades of ownership they have proven to be THE most used and valuable item in my fitness inventory.
Similarly to the benefits of wearing the right clothes, by investing in good quality fitness equipment such as selectable dumbbells, you’ll be incentivised to use them because of the money you’ve spent on them!
But beyond the financial motivation, good equipment will make your workouts much more time efficient and enjoyable.
Another example of good equipment making all the difference to home workouts, is the functional trainer.
In this review of the FT1 Functional Trainer we look at what a versatile piece of equipment the functional trainer is.
A full-body resistance workout can be completed rapidly and without the hassle of having to change plates on a dumbbell or barbell.
If you find you regularly have only 30 minutes available for your workout, a functional trainer would be the perfect addition to your home gym.
Invest In an Exercise Program
Back in 2012 I completed the P90X program. It was three months of three months of +60 minute workouts, 6 days per week. It wasintense. It was time-consuming. But it was devastatingly effective.
More recently I have completed the hyperbolic stretching 30 day program, again achieving great results as you can read in my full review.
I’m also eyeing up the next program to complete and review.
You may well ask why bother with an exercise program if you’ve been working out for years and write your own fitness blog?
It’s a fair question.
And the answer is simple…
Sometimes it’s great to change things up; to stop doing the things you think work and try something else that comes from somebody else’s knowledge, experience and perspective.
It’s also a relief not to have to think about panning your workout. Instead, you just need to flip open your laptop, navigate to the exercise program and hit the play button.
This can be especially helpful during busy times at work when you’re mentally drained and just want to give your mind a rest while you engage the body and exercise it.
Try a Supplement
No – I’m not talking about pre-workout supplements (I’ll cover them in another article).
I’m talking about getting hold of some good quality, safe supplements that are proven to aid in muscular development.
For me this is a short list: whey isolate, creatine and omega 3s.
Just as investing in new workout clothes or new fitness equipment can help motivate you to work out, buying the supplements that will help to maximise your results, has the same effect.
You’ll be much more inclined to stick to your workout plan if you have a supplement regime that you’re also sticking to. Having spent the money on the supplements, you’re more likely to want to work out so that you can get the maximum effect from them.
It goes without saying however, that supplements should only be considered if you’ve also sorted out your diet.
You need to ensure that you’ve eliminated junk foods and excess sugars and are eating a sensible, whole food diet that is rich in fruit and vegetables.
In Summary: How to Get Motivated to Workout at Home
- Create a wall chart featuring your various workouts and tick off your progress. As the ticks increase, you’ll be motivated by your progress creating a positive feedback loop, inspiring you to press on each day.
- Get other members of your household invested in your fitness plan. The best way to do this, is to encourage them to draw up their own.
- Turn off the tech! Make sure you won’t be disturbed during your workout time. Switch your phone to auto-divert and ask other members of your household to give you the time to complete the workout.
- Keep workouts short but frequent – under 40 minutes is ideal. To assist you, make sure that you use a timer (there are many good interval timers available on the apple and android app stores).
- Wear the right clothes so that you signal to your body that it’s time to workout.
- Get hold of the equipment you need to make your workouts convenient and time efficient – whether that means buying a set of adjustable dumbbells or resistance bands. Make the investment.
- Invest in a 30, 60 or 90 day exercise program. Just being part of such a program will motivate you, especially if that program features genuine before and after shots of those who have successfully completed the program.
- Invest in the right foods and supplements.
Well there it is: our complete guide on how to get motivated to work out at home. I hope you’ve found this helpful and that you have a renewed sense of determination about your home workouts.
One thing is for certain: you’ve no excuse for skipping another workout.
So get motivated and get working out!