How Do I Make Working Out a Lifestyle?

I’ve been asked this question a lot, and while I think there are a plethora of answers out there about “finding your why”, I think there’s just a bit more to it than that. Yes, knowing WHY you want to workout in the first place is helpful in getting you out the door, setting goals, etc, but there’s so much more to it than that, in my opinion.

I recommend grabbing a piece of paper (or blank screen) and brainstorming your own answers to the questions below. You might just find out some things about yourself that you didn’t know along with some ways to make working out more consistent for you.

  • Do you like group classes? Prefer to do it solo? Partner training?
    • Group classes: endless! Barre, spin, yoga (and so many variations within that), pilates, CrossFit, boxing, circuits, etc
    • Solo or partner training: gym membership, with a trainer, or home-gym 
  • Do you like having a coach, or are you self-motivating?
    • If you like having a coach, do you need them right in front of you to keep you accountable, or is having one on-line checking in on you enough? If you have an on-line coach, do you require daily, weekly, or monthly check-ins?
  • What’s most important to you while working out? Do you like hard workouts that get you sweaty?  Seeing your strength increase? Learning new skills? Short or long workouts? Intense or slow burners? Making your mind work as hard as your body (I love CrossFit for this as it’s always teaching me new skills), or do you like to zone out and know exactly what’s coming next? Each has their benefits – but it always comes down to what YOU like.
  • What time of day are you MOST likely to stick to it? Least likely?
  • How new to working out are you? Brand new? (If so – definitely get to a trainer if you can, even for 6-8 sessions to learn proper form and pinch out bad habits before they start). Intermediate? Advanced?
  • If your workouts rely on others, when are they most likely to be able to help you? For example, if your partner consistently works late, maybe signing up for 5pm classes isn't going to be the best of ideas if you need them for childcare.
  • How much time realistically do you have to invest in working out daily? Weekly? If you only have 30 minutes a day to workout but keep signing up for 1-hour classes and then missing them, is that really helping you make it a consistent habit?
  • Do you have any performance goals? Racing, lifting competitions, a weight you want to hit, a skill you want to master? If the answer is YES, do you have enough knowledge to do it on your own, or would you benefit from a one-on-one coach or a group coaching setting to not only train you but also keep you accountable?
  • What do you ENJOY doing? Are you doing an activity because everyone does it or you want a particular body type? Or are you doing it because it boosts your confidence, gives you energy, and leaves you feeling happy you did it once it’s over? Spoiler alert: I ask if you feel awesome AFTER, instead of during, because yes, sometimes exerting yourself will make your muscles or lungs burn;) I’m not a believer in working out so hard you’re sore after every single workout, but I am a believer in giving as much effort into a workout as your body (and mind) allows you to that day. On days I really really don’t want to workout at all but I still go – I don’t beat myself up if I’m not doing 100% of what I’m capable of that day – I celebrate that I actually made it there at all. Days when I’m feeling great? Yes, go for it.

There are some you'll need to give a little on - unfortunately we can't have ALL the things at once. Perhaps you're not a morning person but that's literally the only time of day you can get it done. Or maybe you love group training but can only make it once a week - you may need to find ways to do shorter solo workouts at home on the other days.

It’s a little more than just “finding your why” when it comes to working out. Create the easiest path for yourself to work out, so that it CAN become part of your regular routine. Removing as many barriers as possible will make it that much easier to lace up each time.

Let me know below if this exercise was helpful for you, and what ONE thing you learned about yourself that you are going to apply going forward!

P.S. Summer Strength is available right here if you're looking for 20-30 minute at-home workouts requiring nothing more than dumbbells.