The global pandemic has caused change for everyone, with gyms and Pilates studios closing many instructors and students have turned online to continue their practice.
How do you motivate yourself to workout? Write down when you’re going to workout, make sure you have a suitable space set up, join early for the social element, engage with the instructor, take on a challenge and celebrate your achievements.
As a Pilates instructor who loves engaging face to face I found the switch to online teaching a big adjustment. When teaching in a studio I enjoyed being able to offer clients hands on adjustments to their posture, their position and I really loved the interaction. With Lockdown came change for us all and for me in my role as teacher. Either I embraced the change or faced no longer being able to do what I love. It has been a learning curve for me and I also realize that it’s been as much for my clients.
On a positive note, the online world of Zoom has given us that human connection we crave and have had little access to. It enabled us to share energy, positivity and experiences. To converse with each other before and after class, to share occasional stories and to all laugh together when I forget which exercise comes next or trip over my weights lying on the floor!
Many clients have thanked me for motivating them to become online students by joining a virtual class and for pushing them (gently of course) to challenge themselves when what they really want to do is stop and have a rest on their mat. However, I don’t think all my lovely clients realize what an incredible positive impact they have on me. They inspire me with their effort, energy and smiles. I feel so motivated to keep making the classes interesting, fresh, challenging and fun.
After months of lockdown, social distancing, and waiting for gyms to reopen and stay open, it wouldn’t be surprising to find that we are lacking a bit of motivation to do a class online. Without a pat on the back after class or a post class debrief with a friend over coffee or sharing a car journey chatting to friend on the way to the studio there is not surprisingly going to be a shortfall in enthusiasm. Add on top of that everything going on in our lives, adjusting to working from home, maybe homeschooling and lack of things to put in our diary to look forward it’s not surprising to see why motivation can drop.
We can all benefit hugely from exercising with others online, lets face it we could all do with an extra burst of energy, positivity, and human connection, even through the screen.
Benefits of regular exercise
When we exercise the benefits are not only for our physical health but also mental health. During stressful times, we tend to forget to take care of ourselves. Let’s remind ourselves of the benefits of maintaining a fitness routine:
- Improves brain health and activity
- Reduces heart risk and disease
- Improves mood and reduces stress, depression, and anxiety
- Increases energy levels
- Improves relaxation and sleep quality
- Reduces weight gain and improves weight management
- Improves bone and muscle strength
This doesn’t require a massive time commitment, it could be as little as 10 minutes a day walking around the block.
Online Pilates Class
Online classes may not have the instant attraction that going to an in-person class does, but it’s currently the best way to learn from an expert instructor, to connect with friends & exercise together whilst experiencing the benefits of regular exercise, even at home!
You’re still able to continue on your fitness journey, it doesn’t matter if your fitness goal is weight loss, strength training or just maintaining your fitness routine, online classes can help you.
So how do we get in the right mindset for our workout routine?
Put a date in your diary
It’s easy to read inspirational and motivational material about exercise, however it turns out that if you don’t plan when you’ll exercise you likely won’t do it. A study in the British Journal of Health Psychology found 91% of people who planned exercise by writing down the when and where it would take place would complete workouts.
When trying to create a health habit such as regular exercise it’s important to plan when in your calendar you’ll have a session. First thing first, write down a specific time you plan to workout, even if it’s on a piece of paper.
Next week I will take part in at least 20 minute of exercise on [DAY] at [TIME] at [PLACE].
If gyms and your regular exercise class aren’t an option why not book yourself onto an online session that has a set start time?
Not sure where to find online trainer? No sweat! Book a free online session here: https://pilatesmovesyou.com//free-online-pilates-class/
Create a workout space
Ambience is everything! Creating the perfect at-home workout environment, somewhere you can spend an hour in a room on our own undisturbed by family members, this can be a challenge in itself!
A bright airy space would be ideal, perhaps with the lovely scent of lit candles and calming music playing. In reality, you don’t need a long list of things, all you need is a mat and a space to move freely.
You may also need some additional equipment such as weights and a stretch band, don’t have them? Don’t worry, you can easily use food tins as small weights and a bath towel for a band.
The reason gyms, classes and personal trainers are so popular is, in part, to do with the psychological benefit of having a set time and place and being held accountable. Your instructor expects you to turn up, your class mates look forward to seeing you and your mind is ‘workout ready’.
Remove this and people often find you remove the motivation to do any physical exercise. The advantage a buddy gives is higher commitement, in 2018 a study of 704 people enrolled in a 15-week online weight loss course demonstrated that those with buddies lost more weight than those without.
Get yourself a workout partner, someone who can attend the same live workouts you can, who you can chat to outside the workout classes to compare which parts of the body are sore or which muscles are firming up or which exercise routine you really loved/hate (delete as appropriate!). Set each other goals and arrange to check in to see how you’re both doing.
Can’t find someone to hop onto your Zoom workout? Find someone you can report back to, let them know if it was a tough workout, if you’re sticking to your workout plan or if you’re managing daily workouts.
Online sessions are often open to join before they begin. Join early to chat, connect, and catch up, you’ll find you not only keep in shape but also enjoy valuable social interaction.
I love how my clients are getting to see the same familiar faces onscreen before class and chatting to each other. It’s a good opportunity to chat about your day, discuss any injuries with the instructor, and to get excited for the class.
Prepare for something new
Just because the class is online it doesn’t mean you’re going to do the same thing over and over, I’m proud to say no two classes I have ever taught on Zoom have been the same. I use familiar exercises to enable a measurement of progress but will add a little twists on those fabulous classical Pilates exercises to spice things up.
Find an instructor or personal trainer who offers you variety and challenge, to keep you moving, focused and interested. If your instructor isn’t doing this you need to find a new one, these are your classes, designed for you.
Unlike an in person class, your instructor may not be able to see and hear your feedback clearly so be sure to let your instructor know what you want and enjoy. Give your input and feedback, your ideas should always be positively received.
And if you are lacking motivation to sign up for classes why not get in touch with your instructor, reach out, you’ll be glad you did. I love it when a client gets in touch to let me know they are struggling to find their mojo because ultimately I know they want to train but just need motivating and supporting and that’s part of an instructors’ role. Pick up the phone, call, text or email and let your trainer get you motivated and moving.
Celebrate the wins
No matter how big or small your achievements, be sure to celebrate them. Maybe you’ve added more steps to your daily count in lockdown, hooray!
You’ve tried something new like Pilates and discovered how much you like it or while you’ve battled with low motivation you’ve still signed up and turned up for an online class at least once a week, yaaaaay, another win!
Better still, arrange a morning class and gain a psychological benefit for the rest of the day. Research has shown accomplishing something early can lead to a more productive day. In the case of the study the participants just made their bed, imagine the boost you’ll get from a morning Pilates session!
Any milestone reached, any challenge faced physically or mentally, should be celebrated. Log these goals and achievements, share them with pride. I love to receive messages from clients about the progress they feel they are making. I also receive messages telling me how challenging they felt a class was but how much they enjoyed it. Let’s not get frustrated when things challenge us but instead celebrate that we are still trying and giving our best on the day.
Take on a challenge
Nothing gets us motivated like a challenge! Many people push themselves to accomplish fitness goals, whether that be to nail a new pose or break our personal records. It has been fantastic to see so many people taking part in the online ‘8-Day Challenge’ and being personally accountable each day.
Challenging yourself could be as simple as deciding to do two online classes every week for the whole month. You could challenge yourself to try a class you haven’t had the time or confidence to try before. If you’ve never tried yoga and always wanted to then challenge yourself to sign up for a couple of online classes with different instructors and give it a go.
If you want to set yourself a fitness challenge and you’re not sure where to start, get in touch and let’s see what we can come up with to inspire you. Try something you’ve never done before and do it online, in the comfort of your own home, build confidence and be inspired.
Stay positive. There are dozens of ways to find inspiration and motivation to train online. Be sure to check out the credentials of the instructors in terms of their qualifications. There are lots of enthusiastic influencers out there that whilst being very motivating may not be adopting the correct technique for you to learn from and stay injury free.
If your schedule doesn’t allow you book classes in advance or maybe you’re not quite ready to join a live online class then my YouTube channel would be a great option for you.
Having an hour to yourself focusing on you and switching off from the world will be so beneficial ,the rest are just an added bonus.
Donna Finnie is an accredited Pilates instructor based in the UK, owner of Pilates Moves You Ltd and the growing YouTube channel ‘Pilates with Donna Finnie‘.