A few months ago, the Pilates, yoga, and HIIT classes that had been regular parts of my weekly routine had been nixed in favour of… general malaise. We were in a pandemic, in the middle of Canadian winter, after all, and my workout motivation was at an all-time low. I knew I should get moving: I’d read recent studies that people who reported better moods during the pandemic were more likely to have exercised and that exercise had an association with reduced symptoms of anxiety, anger and depression. And I knew I was moving less than I would be during regular life, too.
So, when I got to test Redken’s new dry shampoo by participating in a sweaty workout over Zoom, I (truly) forced myself to dust off my mat and sweat along with the event’s host, Eva Redpath. As a founding trainer at Barry’s Canada and Canada’s first Nike Master Trainer and coach with 10 years of experience, I shared my recent struggles with motivation as we chatted after class. And I was surprised she understood.
“I know how challenging finding the inspiration and time for exercise has been,” she said. “Especially since our routines have been thrown off, and the lines between work and life have been blurred.”
So, how would a pro recommend getting out of this slump? I asked her some questions so I could learn her strategy.
How do you cope when your workout motivation is at its lowest?
ER: I set aside time every day to do something active. Whether it’s a quick HIIT workout or walk outside, I do it in the mornings when my mind is sharp and my willingness to get the job done is strongest. Studies show it’s best to tackle our most difficult tasks in the morning when our cortisol is higher. If there’s an area in your life you’d like to see some positive changes, start by making small changes and commitments to yourself. It’s the little things compounded over time that create the big results.
How has being confined to working out alone at home affected the way you exercise?
ER: To start, it was a huge adjustment. Initially, I kept it simple and remembered the power of movement. Whenever we move our bodies, we are able to automatically shift the state of our nervous system. If you are feeling stressed or agitated, try moving your body for a few minutes! That can mean going for a walk, doing some stretching, putting on some music and dancing (my fave!).
You mentioned you had a game-changing hack for sticking to pandemic workouts. What is it?
ER: Create a ‘workout-from-home date’ with a friend over Zoom. I meet my best friend from L.A. on a Zoom call daily for a workout, stretch and meditation. I either lead us through it, or I share my screen and stream a workout, and we follow together. We set goals, challenge each other and hold each other accountable.
Are there any other tips you have for increasing workout motivation going into spring?
ER: My number-one tip heading into spring is to get outside! My go-to is the Beltline Trail, a linear path running eight miles, with parks, woods and ravines along the way. Connecting with nature reduces stress and increases energy levels.