On most days, working out falls into the same category as cleaning our room—we know it should probably happen soon, but we’ll put it off for as long as humanly possible in favour of more pressing matters (such as, deciding which bottle of vino to uncork first). If only there was something we could do to trick our brains into craving a good sweat session the way we crave takeout Chinese. Oh wait, there is. We spoke with celeb trainer Patrick Murphy (he’s worked with everyone from Eva Longoria to Jennifer Lawrence) and asked him for advice on motivating ourselves to hit the gym—or rather, tricking ourselves into hitting the gym. Because a little smart tricking, er, thinking never hurt no one. Keep scrolling to see what he said!
When we asked Murphy some of the biggest roadblocks that prevent people from motivating themselves to work out, he named three: working too much, unhealthy habits, and having too many diversions in the form of well-meaning, but distracting, friends. To overcome the first, he suggests changing the way you prioritize working out. “I get it—work is important! But you need to realize your work will never leave you,” Murphy says. “Your health, on the other hand, can … and will!” He uses catching a plane as an example: You’d rarely ever let yourself miss a flight, right? Why is that? “You’ve made the choice that it’s a top priority,” Murphy says. “It’s time to develop the same mindset with your workouts and make a long list of reasons why it’s important for you to exercise.”
So you’ve established a couple of not-so-healthy habits over the past couple of months (or years). Tell us if this sounds familiar: “You go to bed too late, get up super early in the morning, sip down a large cup of fast-food coffee (borrowed energy) with a baked good, skip lunch, then energy crash by 3 p.m. and can't wait to get home since you're starving and eat a huge dinner, then repeat it all the next day,” Murphy says. Sounds like you? It’s time for a wake-up call—there’s no time better than the present to break bad habits. “This cycle will age you more quickly than you can ever possibly realize,” Murphy says. “We all need to start somewhere.” He suggests starting a food journal and logging your sleep hours, too. “Awareness is the biggest key to unlocking your power. Healthier habits begin here!” he says. The more aware you are of your habits, the more motivated you will be to change them—simple as that.
Your friends call you a social butterfly—which speaks wonders for your people skills, but probably isn’t doing favors for your gym time. “If your close friends never work out, then it’s time to add more friends into your social sphere that do,” Murphy says. Blunt, but we see where he’s coming from. “This doesn’t mean dumping who you have, but a support system built with people on the same page can change the story.” He suggests making active dates, like hikes, with friends before or after work. “The more friends you have around you who lead active lifestyles, the more actively consistent you will become,” he says.
We know you’ve been waiting for something juicy ever since you started reading—and here it is. “Motivations are great, but they can be short-lived,” Murphy says. “The key is to change things up consistently with a fresh goal.” Whoa—talk about a paradigm shift. Instead of setting the same goal each week, Murphy says to consistently change your goals. So, for example, one goal might be to get yourself in bed by 10 p.m. every week night; the following week, it might be drinking 100 ounces of water daily and getting four cardio workouts done. “Keep reflecting on your progress and goals, adding and changing weekly, and go from there,” Murphy says.
Sometimes, you just have to school yourself—the more you know about health and how important it is to keep active, the more you’ll want to actually do it. “Don’t take for granted your ability to partake in an active lifestyle,” Murphy says. “Realizing the value of your health after you lose it is what I’m trying to get people to avoid.” Preach! Also, if you need some help, we're here for you.
How do you motivate yourself to stay active? Tell us below!