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Rumour has it that one’s motivation levels for working out drop with every degree in temperature change. That’s a fact! As the temperatures get colder, the longing to stay bundled up inside, under your blankets gets stronger. In the summer when the sun is shining and the birds are chirping, it’s easier to bounce out of bed and onto the bike. Morning yoga classes? Sign us up for the 6 am class, please! But come winter, you couldn’t drag most of us out of bed even if you were holding pancakes, bacon, and Canadian Maple Syrup …
In today’s blog post, we’re going to be getting creative and challenging ourselves to stay healthy and fit this year with indoor exercise challenges! Nothing says motivation like reminding yourself you set the rule and you can’t break it now!
Let’s get into it! Motivation is not something that strikes us. We have plenty of it at times, which is how we’re able to power through writing paper after paper in University, and then there are days where we lack any and all creative brain juice and cannot put pen to paper. Motivation is not something we want to bank or rely on during this time - we want to rely on habits and routines. Habits, the things we tend to do regularly - take getting a cup of coffee before you head to work. Whereas routines, is something that you do daily - think eating dinner, brushing your teeth and changing out of your work clothes. The habit is practically effortless to you as it comes to you naturally without having to dedicate a ton of energy, time, or even thought to it. Just like driving, your body knows the route, or in this case, the routine and you are simply along for the ride. We want to do the same thing when it comes to exercise, we want our brains to say “ding ding ding, I set a goal that relates to “X” and now I have to complete it.” With the help of these 5 indoor workout tips, you’ll be able to create that trigger in your brain to take your body from the couch to the yoga mat. Ready? Let’s do it!
Indoor Workout Tip #1: The 100 Challenge
This challenge can be as easy or as hard as you like. The name says it all, you are challenging yourself to do 100 of something - burpees, sit-ups, squats, push-ups, lunges, step-ups… the list could go on. You can break the repetitions down throughout the day by doing 10 every hour, or you could do them in one big set. The benefit of breaking them down is that you force yourself to move every hour - this increases energy levels, boosts your metabolism, and improves blood flow to the brain making returning to your desk or work easier as your brain is overflowing with ideas and brain juice!
Indoor Workout Tip #2: Set It, But Don’t Forget It
Have you heard the term, “make a date with yourself” before? This is one of my favorite tips as it is one of the ultimate tests for how you hold yourself accountable. “Set it, but don’t forget it,” is a fancy way of saying, set a workout date for yourself in your calendar, but don’t you dare forget it or skip it! It's easy to plug in a workout for the middle of the day during your lunch hour or after work, but our motivation levels change throughout the day. At the end of a long workday, we no longer have the drive to do the 100 burpees or sit-ups. By setting a date in your calendar for yourself, we are encouraging you to take it as seriously as if you were to have signed up for an in-person class. Would you show up late or cancel at the last minute? No! The instructor would likely make you do burpees as punishment for that! Set a date and time for yourself and hold yourself to it. The hardest part is starting - once you’re into your workout, just keep telling yourself “I’ve already started, there’s no stopping now!”
Indoor Workout Tip #3: Timer Tabatas
“Hit it!” Literally. Set a timer and get to it! Tabatas are easily one of the most effective and efficient ways to get an effective workout into your day. Simply search “Tabata timer” and then enter your work and rest time goals. Take push-ups, for example, enter 30 seconds for work and 30 seconds for rest. This 1:1 ratio will allow you to push and challenge yourself during the first 30 seconds and recover during the other time. Tabatas are effective metabolic and energy boosters and they can be done in 15 minutes or less. Simply select a few exercises, squats, lunges, burpees, sit-ups, step-ups...etc, and then set your timer. Your workout will be done before you know it, it’s that quick!
Indoor Workout Tip #4: The Walk Past It Rule
One of our favourite rules of all time as it encourages one to not only exercise but to drink water and take a short work break every hour or two. So how does this strange-sounding rule work? Pick an object in the room that you’re working out of, such as a plant, picture, or door frame. Every time you walk past or through that object, you have to perform ten air squats, or whatever exercise you pick for that day! Change it up each day to give yourself some variety, but don’t allow yourself to cruise by the object without doing the work! The intention is to walk past the object on your way to the bathroom (because you’ve been drinking so much water!) and sneak in a short break from your work so your brain can recharge for a moment, blood can freely flow to it and you can sit down feeling energized and refreshed.
Indoor Workout Tip #5: When In Doubt, YouTube or Zoom It Out!
When all else fails, if you’ve walked past your plant a million times without doing a single squat, if you are tired of Tabatas, if you can only ever seem to get to 70 in the 100 challenge and you hate “setting a date for yourself” in your calendar - this tip is for you. When in doubt, zoom it out! Call a friend and schedule a daily zoom workout date or join a local gym that is offering zoom classes. Phoning a friend forces you to be accountable to someone else. Having someone else watching you, cheering you on, and showing up for you - that will make you want to break a sweat! So call up your friends, root each other on, and get back to crushing your New Year’s goals!
One Last Note:
At the end of the day, we have to remember that this is an act of self-care. Having the ability to move our bodies is a privilege. We have the option to take care of them with healthy, nourishing foods, movement, and rest. If we do it right, they will serve us well for many years to come. So the next time you find yourself in a slump where you don’t want to move or leave the cough, try to get outside for 10 minutes. Get some fresh air, charge your battery, and remember, winter doesn’t last forever!