Motivation for spring workouts

Ian Carroll

Now that the weather is clearing up, it’s time to look ahead to the coming summer. That means something different to everyone. For some it’s days on the beach, surfing, relaxing, or showing off their killer body. To others, it’s days on the trails hiking, running, or ripping through turns on two wheels. Me? I’m looking forwards to days spent high up on rocks and deep in the mountains. No matter how you intend to spend your summer though, it’s time to start thinking about your fitness.

A lot of us have probably spent the winter hibernating and doing a little bit more couch time than normal. That’s fine, that’s what’s so great about the winter to a lot of people. Even if you stay active with winter sports, the transition to summer sports usually involves checking in with different muscle groups and training different motions.

But it’s not always easy to stay motivated to work out. That’s especially true if the weather isn’t quite where you’d like it to be yet, or you haven’t started spending days at the beach yet. So let’s cover some of the best ways to stay motivated to work out. These tricks are perfect for prepping your body for summer. Whether you just want to look good, or are hoping to tackle some big physical goals this summer, we’ll get you going in the right direction.

Eat well

One of the most important parts of working out is your diet. All the hard work you put into your body will be lost if you don’t focus on nutritional and balanced meals. Eating well won’t just help you maximize your muscle mass, it will make you feel good. It’s hard to overstate how important the way you feel is.

Healthy eating is the first step to feeling your best.
Healthy eating is the first step to feeling your best.

If you wake up every morning feeling stiff, hung over, or heavy, you’re not going to be very motivated to move. A healthy diet can change your whole life, whether you’re working out regularly or not. Now, obviously, a healthy diet is a pretty contentious topic. However, there are some basics that I think we can all agree on.

Cut out most of your sugar and processed foods. Coffee and donuts are not breakfast. It’s better to cook for yourself than to go out to eat in almost all instances. And yes, bread tastes great, but it’s not how you get ripped. If you’re interested in a more in-depth look at a high-performance diet, check this article out. It will introduce you to the ketogenic diet, which has been a real game-changer for me and countless other people around the world.

Wake up with the sun

Now, the morning isn’t for everyone, I know. It was never for me either before I taught myself to wake up early. For some people, maybe their body really works that way, for most though, sleeping in is just a habit. Habits can be changed.

spring motivation
Seeing the sun rise will give you energy and motivation.

In the springtime, waking up with the sun is a great way to slowly push yourself to earlier and earlier mornings. Of course, you should also adjust your bed time to match. Otherwise, you’re just depriving yourself of sleep. But this goes with healthy eating, it will make you feel better.

Stop hitting snooze, and get up and get moving. Set a morning goal, like a thirty-minute yoga session, a 5k run, or a hundred push-ups. Not only will this get your metabolism going first thing, but it will also get your body loosened up and your mind moving.

Build exercise into your routine

If you have trouble getting yourself to go to the gym or stick to an exercise routine, try building it into your day to day life. Start biking to and from work. Or make a goal of never driving anywhere within a mile of your house such as the corner store, bar, or library. If you’re walking, biking, or skateboarding everywhere, it will do a big part in keeping your body ready to go.

Bike to work.
Bike to work.

I’m a person who has trouble building the gym into my routine. It just takes so much time to get there and get going. Not to mention I feel weird about getting in a car to go exercise. So instead, I purposefully do workouts that can be done anywhere. I usually run in the mornings and do small amounts of body weight work like push-ups and lunges. When I want to do a full workout, I do it wherever I am. In my room, on the beach, in the woods. A hundred push-ups can be done anywhere. The same goes for squats, lunges, curls, etc.

Some people thrive off of setting rules for themselves. A common example is not allowing yourself desert unless you workout for at least a half an hour that day. For many people, this works great. Rewards aren’t so popular for no reason. However, I find that some people also get carried away with this or compromise their healthy eating habits in exchange for staying on top of their workout routine. Make sure your rewards aren’t too big, or too unhealthy.

Set big goals for the season

One of the best ways to get yourself psyched to exercise is having a goal. It’s true of every aspect of your life, really. If you’re working towards something, you can stay focused even when it’s difficult. In many ways, a big goal can actually motivate you more the harder the going gets.

mountain climbing
Summiting a mountain is a great goal.

As a rock climber, my big goals revolve around climbing at higher grades, and doing a couple of specific challenging routes. It’s easy to stay motivated because I know that I’ll be putting myself in a potentially deadly situation out on the rock. If my body isn’t ready, I know exactly how I’m going to feel out there. Not good.

If you’re a runner, maybe your goal is to do a marathon this year. For surfers, maybe you’re sights are set on a certain trick, or size of the wave. Do you like to bike? Then sign up for a really hard race this fall. Anything tangible that can help you push your limits to the next level.

Set daily goals, then exceed them

Big goals are great for keeping you driven day after day. But sometimes you need something to keep you going minute by minute. Running is a great example. It doesn’t matter if you’re an ultra runner or just starting out. There are always times in the first couple miles of a run where you don’t feel great. There are always barriers you have to push through.

hardest race in the world
When the going get’s tough, set small goals for yourself.

Setting a goal for every exercise you do is a great way to stay on track. I like to set a goal that is hard, but definitely achievable. As I work towards it, I break it up into smaller parts. ‘This lifeguard tower is about a quarter way, I’m already halfway to halfway.’ ‘Twenty push-ups is already halfway to forty.’

Then, once you approach your goal, look ahead and see how much further you can go. That’s the difference between athletes that are average and those that are exceptional. Don’t stop at a distance you ran yesterday. Push it another mile, or two. Some days you may even be able to double your goal. That’s how you develop the type of mental momentum that will push you to achieve things you never thought possible. Your body may have limits, but most of them are actually in your mind. Exceeding your goals will help you learn to push past limits both mental and physical every day.

Track your progress

Tracking your progress goes hand in hand with setting goals. Usually, when I work out, I keep a tally of my sets and reps in a journal. It’s motivating to write down each set as I complete it and it helps me keep track of how much I’ve done. This works just like marking points along the course of a run for me. If my goal is a hundred push-ups before breakfast, then hitting fifty feels even better when I see it on paper.

climbing squamish
As a climber, I keep a journal that tracks all of the climbs I’ve completed.

It’s not just motivating to track your progress as you go through a single workout either. It’s also an essential part of progressing over time. When you look back at your old workouts, it’s inspiring to see how far you’ve come. When you started setting goals maybe you could only do a hundred crunches in a day and were doing them in sets of twenty. But now you do sets of fifty and are hitting five hundred in a day. That’s the kind of progress that makes you proud and motivated to keep moving the bar higher.

Listen to music or motivational speakers

For most people, audio is a big part of working out and staying motivated. For many, that means turning on upbeat or intense music. Some people like calm, or melodic music to keep their mind moving. Personally, I like motivational speakers or a mixture of music and motivation.

It may sound corny, but it’s surprising what words can do for your mind. After all, that’s a big part of what a coach or personal trainer’s job is. They’re there to tell you-you’re capable of more just when you’re about to quit. Now, that’s something we’re all capable of telling ourselves, but it’s not always easy. If you’ve never tried it, download a couple of hours of motivational speakers like Tony Robbins or Les Brown from Youtube and take them on your next run. It may be just what you need to push through that extra mile at the end.

Build motivation this spring and then keep going

Get outside and start getting after it.
Get outside and start getting after it.

Healthy eating and higher standards don’t need to stay in the springtime or be reserved for preparing your summer body. Outdoor enthusiasts like us are always outside getting after it. If you take these tips and build them into your day to day routine. Keep them there. Don’t let them fall off next winter just because it gets cold. Find ways to adapt them to the snowy season and keep pushing the bar higher and higher.

If you can make these spring time habits into life time habits, there’s no limit to what you can achieve. Keep striving, keep pushing, and keep making the most of your days this spring, this summer, and every day beyond.

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ian-carroll is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival