Lockdown home gyms are back: here are 15 tips to stay motivated third time around
Updated: Jan 15
Here we are, back in that same position as we found ourselves in March and then November of 2020. But this is 2021, so we are here to bring you 25 new tips on how to stay motivated for those home gym workouts! I feel like lockdown home gyms needs little introduction (we have been there before!), so let's just jump straight in.
1. Get yourself a workout schedule – write that stuff down!
Your workout schedule should include, at least, the number of sessions you want to do a week, what type of sessions you are doing, and the time they will take. It would also be beneficial to you to work out the best order those sessions should be performed in to get the most out of each. For example, a basic schedule for a runner may look like this:
Making a workout schedule can be difficult in the changing climate so creating the plan for 4-6 weeks blocks may help you get the most out of your training. Another barrier you might face as an athlete is the reduction in team training / loss of use of facilities and equipment. With indoor gyms and pools closed, and team sports prohibited, you might need to be a bit more inventive. Here are some examples:
- Swap a swimming session for an arm workout with swim-focused strength drills.
- Swap a football squad session for some drill practice, followed by sprint / agility training.
- Add in a longer run than you would normally do to help build and maintain your endurance baseline.
2. Block out the time in your real-life / work calendar
Creating the plan above is okay, but it’s not going to get you motivated for your workouts if used alone. The plan you created from the above tip should then be translated into your real-life / work calendar, whether that be pen to paper or online. You need to make sure that you have the time to fit in your sessions. If the 'workout time' is not obvious, then consider the workout's relevance, benefits, and then make a suitable time. This method is just as important for scheduling in workouts, as it is for ensuring you are taking enough rest between workouts and leaving enough time to fuel appropriately.
3. Create yourself a dedicated space for your workouts
This space does not have to be kitted out with the latest gym kit or even be a whole room in your house. The requirements for this space are minimal; it should be big enough to do the exercises you plan on practising and have the relevant storage to keep your necessary equipment (if any). However, having a space in the garden or the spare room or corner of the sitting room that is known as your workout space, can help motivate you as it is somewhere to 'go'. During lockdown, we can feel isolated to our own four walls and having a 'workout location' can make all the difference.
4. But sometimes be spontaneous
On the note of being isolated in our own four walls, do not be afraid to go outside and find somewhere to work out! Find yourself a local park or open space to take your equipment or just yourself and your bodyweight to work with. There are so many benefits to exercising outside (more on that in a later blog post!) and it may actually lead to you enjoying it more and feeling more motivated to complete the next session. My personal favourite is a run loop around my local lake, dedicating various checkpoints and locations to specific gym exercises. This helps give me a boost as I tick off the exercises in my head, as well as a full-body workout.
5. Get some friends / teammates / family on board
When you are struggling to motivate yourself, simply get somebody else to do it for you. Whether that means a family member reminding you that you've got that session today, friends on Facetime doing the workout with you from their own sitting rooms, or a partner taking responsibility of the cooking that evening, so you have got time to work out and finish with a nutritional meal afterwards. Lockdown can drag and feel a bit lonely when you go from a team training environment or busy gym environment to exercising on your own, so make a real effort to stop your sessions being so 'solo'.
6. Set yourself some SMART goals to aim for
Some of you will have heard this time and time again but there is a reason why – it’s just so important! SMART goals can help you reach smaller milestones of a bigger dream, with it, increasing your confidence, self-esteem, determination, satisfaction and will to go on. SMART stands for
- Specific: make the goal relevant to your sport, your weaknesses and what you want to achieve
- Measurable: you need to be able to measure your success. For example, set yourself a 5km run time you want to hit or a number of squats you want to do in a minute. These should be something you can compare 'before' and 'after' to see the progression.
- Achievable: you should be able to achieve your goal with hard work – it should not be easy but not impossible either.
- Relevant: your goal should align with what you want to achieve. For example, if you want to be a faster runner, there is more value in having a goal focused on improving your endurance rather than your single-rep strength.
- Timed: as previously explored, set yourself several weeks for your workout schedule. A good one to use is 4 or 6 weeks as you may want to change your workouts up and review them after that time.
7. Check-in with a coach regularly
Having a coach to regularly compare notes with, ask questions, and get reassurance from can help motivate you. It takes that sense of ‘solo’ away from your training because you know you have someone to rely on for new exercise ideas and to help challenge you. This does not have to be a sport-specific coach. If your goals for your workouts are centred around getting physiologically and mentally stronger, fitter and / or faster, then a Personal Trainer may be the way to go. Here at Parfournen, we have a mountain of expertise and experience, so drop us a line and we would be happy to help!
8. Work out WHY you want to do these workouts
The ‘why’ is probably more important than the ‘what’ when it comes to workouts. Having a motivational or inspiring reason to train and succeed helps many people achieve their goals. The most popular 'why' is self-improvement. For different individuals, this can mean anything from making time for themselves by going for a run, or improving their mental health with regular yoga practice, to improving themselves as an athlete to help support the team they are part of. For others, the 'why' might be linked to raising money for charity. If this is something close to your heart and your life, training can be a way of raising money or awareness or just supporting a deserving cause; because, in those moments when it hurts, you'll remember 'why'.
9. Tune in to an online class or watch a YouTube recording
Hate solo workouts and haven’t managed to drag any friends or family into your crusade? We’ve got a solution for that! Tuning into a live online class can make you dedicated and committed to a specific day and time, ensuring you get that workout done. The next best thing is a pre-recorded YouTube, giving you the atmosphere of the class environment, a tutor or instructor telling you what to do and mixing it up each session, and often an upbeat playlist ready and waiting to get squatting to.
10. Make a good workout playlist
Alternatively, if you like the idea of having some background noise but not somebody telling you what to do, make yourself a good workout playlist. This doesn’t have to take long, although the more invested in it you are the more motivated you will be when you know what song comes on after ‘Mr Brightside’ by The Killers.
11. Or listen to a podcast
Some days you might feel a bit calmer and with the need to achieve two things at ones. In this case, why not stick on a podcast – you can gain knowledge through education as well as muscle through bicep curling tins of beans. Podcasts are also a great method to help you switch off from the world yet still get stuff done. Personally, I listen to podcasts on longer runs, helping me tune out to the sometimes-tired muscles and the fact that I know exactly how many kilometres I am from my front door and a hot shower. If it works for you, great. If it doesn't and you want to take in the environment that's great too!
12. Work out the best time to train is FOR YOU
Everyone knows and accepts that some people are early risers and some are night owls, but it is important to know what time of the day you not only cognitively function best but exercise best. Below are some categories (disclaimer: founded through experience, not science) – do you recognise yourself as one of these athletes?
13. Sort out your kit
Some of us are motivated by kit others not. Either way, it is important to sort out your kit in some sense of the phrase. For some, this might mean ensuring there are enough matching outfits for when the gym finally reopens. For others, it might mean ensuring you have enough tops, shorts, trackies and jumpers for those 5 sessions you are aiming to do per week. It is important to have the right equipment as well as enough of it. Having the right shoes for your activity is perhaps one of the most tips because an injury can lead to demotivation and un-succeeded goals.
14. Acknowledge the mini workouts
If you are running out of time in a day or struggling to fit in a whole hour’s workout, then perhaps try the 3 x 10 rule. This rule can mean a lot of things but ultimately ensure you are succeeding at something, progressing towards your goal in some way (even if small) and also getting in some much-needed endorphins. Here are some examples of the 3 x 10 rule in action
- 3 x 10 mins walk per day; one in the morning, at lunch and in the evening
- 3 x 10 squats, lunges, press-ups and sit-ups will not take you long but ensure that you have done some form of exercises
- 3 x 10 mins run intervals – not too exciting but not too strenuous either
- 3 x 10 dropkicks, box kicks, grubber kicks, conversion kick and punts for your rugby kicking drills
15. Schedule some time with a pro
Scheduling time with someone that knows what they are on about can help you in so many different ways, whether that be via a Zoom call to chat through some options with a PT, or outside in a 121 session with a coach (currently allowed). Someone with the bank of knowledge that the guys here at Parfournen have will help motivate and progress you via your sport-specific training. If you are a regular gym-goer, they can add new life you’re your routines and goals to help you move forwards. Our PTs can create a tailored program to maximise your improvements. Having someone invested in you and your progression can really help motivate you to achieve your highest-level performance.
So, there you go – multiple ways to help stay motivated with home workouts, despite finding ourselves in this position. Feel free to comment your favourite ways to motivate yourself on this blog or our social media page!
Happy Hope Workouts!
From the team at Parfournen.
written by Bronwyn Tagg