Today’s post is sponsored by Nature Valley.
Since moving further away from work, I’ve been going to the gym after work to let traffic die down before heading home after work each day. Adjusting to my longer commute was really hard at first (it’s still not easy!) but now that I am going to the gym and getting into the groove of being active after sitting at my desk for 10 hours, it seems like a blessing in disguise.
I was used to going home to change and grab a snack before heading to the climbing gym so it’s not surprising that for the first few weeks I would forget essentials like a sports bra or hair ties. Not having everything I needed threw me off and I wasn’t able to focus on the task at hand. I lost interest in going to the gym right after work and tried to talk Alex into just letting us sit in traffic so I could nap in the car or anything else equally boring/dumb.
Good news: Now that I’m in the groove of going to the gym after a long day at work, I wanted to share some of the small things I’m doing to get me from “ugh, no!” to “hell, yes!” when it comes to working out. This week I went climbing, sat my ass on a stationary bike for 45 minutes, and to a heated power yoga class…and I caught myself looking for discounts to a spinning or Barre studio. Who am I?
How to get motivated to go to the gym after work
Reduce the opportunities for excuses.
Wearing a dress to work and realizing I didn’t pack pants for the gym was an excuse. Forgetting my climbing shoes and chalk bag by the front door? Another excuse. My being too long and not having clippers was yet another excuse. I now take 5 minutes each night and pack my climbing bag to make sure I have my harness, shoes, chalk bag, clippers, hair ties, and baby wipes. I also make sure to pack a top, sports bra, and pants because digging around in the back of my car for cast offs gets old after a while.
Tip: Pack your bag the night before and have it ready to go for the next evening. Keep a small pouch of essentials in your gym bag so you aren’t caught without something like eyedrops or lady products. Make sure your bag is easy for you to carry around in addition to the normal bag you bring with you to work. If you don’t like to change in the locker room, sneak into the washroom before leaving the office and change there.
Wear clothes that make you feel awesome.
I wear a lot of black, navy, and grey at work so wearing a hot pink tank top and leggings with a wild print on them makes me feel like a different person. I feel most comfortable in my leggings and knowing that I’m changing out of my boring work pants into my favorite pants helps me look forward to a few hours at the gym.
Tip: Make sure the outfit you pack in your bag is something you want to wear! Maybe it’s a pair of shoes in your favorite color or a pair of shorts that not only cover the essentials but come in your favorite pattern. Few things are more distracting than when you don’t feel comfortable…you pull at the straps of your top, tug at the hem of your shirt, and worry about the sheerness of your pants…so wearing comfortable clothing is important.
Find a snack that keeps up with you.
I’ll be the first to admit that I get hangry when I don’t eat. Hangry and going to the gym? No thanks! I’m getting better at having a mini-meal toward the end of my work day so I have enough fuel for the climbing gym, but I need snacks to keep me going for the next 2 or 3 hours. Thanks to Nature Valley, my go-to snack right now is the new Nature Valley Nut Crisp Bars. I know what you’re thinking, “Nature Valley? That shit gets everywhere, no thanks!” These aren’t the same bars…they’re thinner and have a bit of sweetness added to them.
Unrelated to going to the gym, I tested eating one of these in bed (which was just an excuse to grab a snack without needing to head downstairs to the kitchen) and it wasn’t a disaster. I tried both the almond dark chocolate and salted caramel peanut Nature Valley Nut Crisp Bars.
Tip: Find a snack that you can toss into your bag the night before (like Nature Valley Nut Crisp Bars!) and that are tasty enough that you want to eat it…imagine getting off of the treadmill and ready for a quick snack before you hit the foam roller and you don’t even want the snack in your bag. Don’t torture yourself! Pack a tasty snack!
Reward yourself for going to the gym after work a certain amount of times a week or month.
Maybe you’re in need of a new pair of shoes for Zumba…reward yourself with a new pair after you attend 12 classes. Maybe you reward yourself with a cold-pressed juice on Friday if you hit the gym three days that week. If clothes and juice don’t motivate you, maybe you could reward yourself with new music for your playlist, a new kettlebell for your at-home workouts, or splurging on a massage at the end of the month to pamper yourself.
I reward myself with food…because I love food.
Tip: Brainstorm a goal for yourself and establish a reward for yourself that makes sense (don’t buy yourself a new pair of shoes after going to the gym twice, that makes no sense). Rewarding yourself may help you build a habit of going to the gym and will motivate you to keep going so you can earn your prize!
Remind yourself that you get to work out all of the frustrations of the work day.
Too many people telling you to smile and appreciate the dead-end job you’re overqualified for? That kickboxing class probably sounds really great right now. Or maybe you are tired of the amount of time you are sitting at your desk cleaning up Excel documents your teammate thought would look like totes adorbs with her special take on formatting…that power yoga class is calling your name! Take your mind off of your workday with an awesome workout. I certainly couldn’t think about anything other than the sweat burning my eyes during class the other night. I’m looking forward to spending some time on the stationary bike tonight to get this long week out of my system.
Tip: Going to the gym can be the new happy hour, right? As minor frustrations build up during the day, remind yourself that as soon as that clock hits 5:00, you’re off the clock and on your way to rocking the shit out of the core conditioning class you are learning to love.
Get a friend to join you!
The time on the elliptical will go quickly with your friend by your side! If you’re nervous about trying out that spin class having somebody next to you to encourage you and motivate you to not walk (or stumble) out of the class is nice. My friend, Iris, and I hit a heated power yoga class this week and it was a lot more fun having her in the class than if I took it alone! I wasn’t worried about cursing under my breath or laugh when the instructor told us to smile when I was being blinded by my own sweat. That pole fitness class I took a few weeks ago? So much more fun with friends!
Tip: See if your gym membership includes guest passes so you can bring a friend to class or score discounts to a class you’re both interested in trying. Having somebody next to you who is also thinking about a giant cheeseburger with fries after class is motivating!
It’s not easy to get motivated to do something you don’t really want to do and going to the gym after a long day at work is one of those things for me. I’m learning to love the routine and I’m sure I’ll love it even more once I start taking fitness classes at my gym.
How do you get motivated to go to the gym?
This post is sponsored by Nature Valley. The new Nature Valley Nut Crisp Bars are now available for you to enjoy while hitting the gym or exploring the outdoors. While Nature Valley sent me Nut Crisp Bars to try for myself and are compensating me for this post (I may have the almond dark chocolate ones in my Amazon cart right now), the opinions expressed in this post are my own.