If only keeping up with your workout schedule was as exciting as following Khloe Kardashian and Tristan Thompson’s relationship drama. But unfortunately, getting your butt to the gym and cranking out a workout can be a bit more dull (although equally challenging, tbh).
It’s all too easy to pull the same excuses to ditch your sweat sesh: You have no time before or after work to hit the gym, you forgot your athletic wear, fitness memberships are way too expensive—the list goes on and on. But at the end of the day, breaking a sweat can make you feel confident, boost your mood, and, of course, drastically improve your overall health.
To make sure you don’t cheat yourself out of a good workout, try some of these research-backed ways to stay motivated.
1. WATCH A RERUN OF FRIENDS
Yes, really. Watching a rerun of your fave show may actually boost your willpower to get things done if you’re feeling totally depleted, according to research by the University of Buffalo. (This isn’t permission for a Netflix binge, though; cue up one episode then hit the gym. Just one.)
RELATED: How To Find An Exercise Routine That’s Right For You
2. LISTEN TO THAT PODCAST EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
Make gym time more enticing by pairing it with something you actually want to do—like finally listening to Ashley Iaconetti and Ben Higgins’ Almost Famous podcast on the dreadmill.
That’s called temptation bundling, a concept dreamed up by Katherine Milkman, an associate professor on individual choices. She conducted an experiment among students who wanted to work out more, and found that students who only had access to audiobooks at the gym were 29 per cent more likely to work out than students who could access audiobooks wherever they wanted and 51 percent more likely to exercise than students who were just given $25 and told to work out more.
Not into podcasts or audiobooks? We won’t tell if you stream Netflix on your phone.
3. SAY: ‘YOU GOT THIS, WOMAN’
Self-talk is often hyped as a motivational tool, but make sure you’re doing it right: Science says talking to yourself in the second person is actually more effective than chatting yourself up in the first. So next time you’re feeling sluggish, tell yourself “You’re going to crush this long run” instead of “I can crush this long run.”
4. UNLEASH YOUR INNER COMPETITIVE BEAST
Do you follow your friends on MapMyRun? Or connect with them on FitBit? Start. Now. A study that evaluated 1.1 million runners found that the more miles you see your friends log, the more you’re likely to rack up. Turns out we’re all super competitive, and when people see their friends running an extra 10 minutes, they run an average of three extra minutes.
5. REPLAY YOUR PERSONAL HIGHLIGHTS REEL
Remember that time you went for a long run and you felt totally amazing afterwards? Yeah, pull whatever zen voodoo sh*t you need to put that memory top of mind next time you’re staring down the miles.
In one study, participants who were asked to think about positive memories around exercise had higher levels of subsequent exercise than participants who didn’t recall memories about exercise. In other words, the more you can associate positive emotions with working out, the more likely you are to show up.
6. VOLUME UP ON CARDI B
I think we can all agree that the music gyms blast over their speakers is the worst. Create your own high-energy playlist is a must. Choose songs that have 125 to 140 beats per minute (about as fast as Britney Spears’ “Work B**ch“), which research says is the optimal tempo to boost your stamina.
7. ENLIST YOUR CRAZY FRIEND WHO RUNS ULTRAMARATHONS
Working out with someone you perceive as more physically fit than you can help you increase your workout time and intensity by 200 percent, according to research out of Kansas State University. So yeah, you should grab a workout buddy ASAP.
8. STORE DUMBBELLS NEXT TO YOUR TV
Invest in the basics for a quick at-home workout: like an exercise mat and two five-pound free weights. That way, when you really don’t feel like making the trip to the gym, you’ll have the resources to spend 30 minutes flexing your muscles at home.
Even if you do fewer crunches, lunges, and bicep curls at home, it’s better than skipping out on your workout altogether. Plus, all you really need is 10 minutes—researchers say that a 10-minute workout, with just one minute at high-intensity, has the same benefits of 45 minutes of jogging.
9. GET YOUR ATHLEISURE ON
Toss your stanky-ass sports bra and high school sweats. Like, right now. Once a month, treat yourself to a new piece of athleisure. Sporting a cute new pair of leggings is sure to make you feel even more amped to break a sweat.
10. MAKE IT COST YOU
To really up the monetary motivation, sign up for ClassPass or prepay for a workout class. Since ClassPass, and most studios charge you if you cancel last minute, you’ll be less inclined to recline on the sofa watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians instead of hitting the gym like you’d planned.
This article originally appeared in Women’s Health US.
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