Fitness is possible without a routine, but motivation is really up to you, says blogger Jenna Spesard.
As a freelancer, my employment is unpredictable, unreliable, and often requires irregular hours. Even when I’m not working, I’m working to find work! And with my varying routines, I often neglect staying in shape.
I’ve tried it all—gym memberships, yoga classes, fitness videos, and smartphone apps—with varying degrees of success. Here are five fitness regimens that work with my freelance lifestyle.
1. Take a 30-Day Challenge
An image search for “30-Day Fitness Challenges” results in dozens of focused workouts aimed to build muscle, from push-ups to planks, burpees to squats. Save a few workouts on your phone and set a reminder to do them every day. These exercises can be done anywhere, with little or no equipment, and can be customized. The best part? They’re free!
I tried a 30-day push-up challenge, acknowledging my upper body strength left much to be desired. At the beginning of the month, I couldn’t do five push-ups in a row. By the end of the month, I was doing 30!
Focus on one muscle group each month or combine several challenges for a full-body workout. Keep an exercise journal to monitor progress and challenge your friends to do the same. Sometimes a little competition can motivate you to keep going!
2. Step Count
The average American only walks 5,900 steps a day, which is (literally) miles behind the average Australian or European. When I first started keeping track of my steps, I was shocked by how sedentary I had become. Empowering yourself with knowledge can be a great motivator.
The rumor is true: Activity trackers encourage you to walk more! Devices such as Fitbit and Garmin range from $27 to $150. If you’re on a tighter budget, you can download a free app, such as MapMyRun or the Health App to your phone.
There are plenty of moments each day where you can multitask a fitness routine. Do some pull-ups while your coffee brews in the morning. Count how many pull-ups you complete the first day, then try to beat that number the following day. Do lunges as you take the garbage out at night; squats as you brush your teeth. Take a walk during your conference call. Try calf raises as you wash the dishes. Every minute you are still is a minute you could be exercising. If you begin to think this way, making time for fitness becomes easy.
4. Be Accountable
Sign up for a future event such as a marathon, walkathon, hike, or swim competition. Ideally you’ll have a few months to prepare; once you’ve signed up, there’s no turning back! (No excuses, Grownups.)
I recently booked a four-day hiking trip to Machu Picchu. To get in shape, I need to complete a weekly series of aerobic and weight-lifting workouts. The fear of not being able to finish the hike—already booked and paid for—has motivated me immensely!
You don’t have to spend a bunch of money to compete. What are your passions? Research local charity events. Most humanitarian events are donation-based, which means you will need to fundraise. Giving back to your community will energize you to train for the event.
5. Join a Team
Sports for Grownups? Yes, they exist! Adult dodgeball, kickball, tennis, and soccer leagues are popular everywhere. If you’re worried about commitment, join a team that allows player substitutes if you can’t make the game. Learn about local sports clubs by asking at your gym or joining a local Meetup group. (For example, check out all the kickball Meetups across the country! They have more than 220,000 members.)
Fitness is possible without a routine, but motivation is really up to you. It’s important to mentally prepare yourself for your new fitness regimen. When you’re exercising and feel like giving up, remind yourself why it’s important. Picture your ideal body and strength. Escape negative thoughts about fitness, and do not body-shame yourself. Instead, give yourself a reward for exercising, like a new yoga mat, a hot bath, or a massage.
Even though my routine changes on a weekly basis, I find ways to exercise. Once you prioritize your body’s health, everything else in your life improves. I truly believe that, and that is my main motivator!
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