I struggle with keeping a fitness routine. Personality-wise, I’m a rather spontaneous person and love travel and adventure and I guess, I’m not the best with routines in general. I’m relatively active. I do some form of water activity like paddle boarding, surfing, or windsurfing at least once a week. When I do this, it’s always with my boyfriend because he has access to the gear, but our schedules don’t overlap as much as I’d like, so this ends up being only once a week or so. I try to do a Nike Training Club workout every other day or so but realistically it’s once or twice a week. Occasionally I run or go for long walks. I used to bike to work but with fewer daylight hours I’ve abandoned that. Once in a while, I’ll do yoga. I’m sort of all over the place. Reflecting, I’ve realized that I’ve had the best success with consistently working out when I have a partner or buddy- whether it’s running or Pilates class, or whatever.
The difficult part is that I recently moved to Miami and haven’t made too many friends yet. I want to make friends, but suffer from a fair amount of shyness, and I’m pretty strapped when it comes to budget. What are the most social forms of getting a workout, that aren’t too expensive? Over the summer, I joined a kickball team, hoping to combine exercise with making friends but it turned out that the league revolved around partying, I mean heavy drinking- and this wasn’t really how I wanted to make friends, and it certainly wasn’t helping my fitness. Do you have any suggestions for cheap ways to work out and meet people (who will hopefully keep me accountable)? I’m really not a gym person and prefer the outdoors but I’ll try anything. I just want to commit to something that could maybe also help me make friends in my new city, and also develop more consistency in my fitness. I fluctuate a lot in terms of effort, sometimes being really active every single day of the week and then going long stretches of five days or even a week of no exercise, which feels awful.
Do you have any advice for how to motivate yourself to work out? Sometimes I just reach 4:30pm, with workout clothes on, ready to at least go for a jog and just don’t do it. I don’t want to guilt-trip or shame myself into exercising, because this just does not work as motivation for me, but I also just am blown away by people who consistently exercise alone. How do you all do it?
Forgive me, somehow this became a novel! Thank you for any advice you can lend. I truly appreciate you listening to me.
I understand your struggle to find new friends to do “active” stuff with. Although I haven’t moved, most of my friends are married with kids, or getting married, and the only time we see each other now is when we get together for a night of laughs and wine. Because of that, I was forced to try and increase my social network too, as I wanted friends to go do stuff with. I am also a little shy so it was a struggle, but it can be done.
Start with the things you love, and by the sounds of it you really enjoy water activities. Research a sailing center in your neighborhood and sign up for group windsurfing lessons or SUP lessons. This may not fit your budget at the moment, but it is worth the investment as it will allow you the opportunity to meet other people who love to do what you do. Then, do what I did every time I would go out riding and ask people for their phone numbers so you can call on them to do it together. Trust me, nobody will say no. Some of the friends that I see the most of now were made because I did just this every time I met someone new who shared similar interests as me. There came a point when I was more excited when I met single girls to go ride bikes with than single men to go on dates with!
For something money saving, since you love running, check out your local running shops and ask them if they have a nightly running club, or know of anywhere that offers one that you can join. These clubs are usually free, or inexpensive, and with the running community being as inclusive as it is, it will be a great way to meet new running friends. The first run club I joined was 15 years ago, and I am still friends with people who I met there.
You can also check out a local community center, or boutique fitness studio, and join a group class. Stay away from classes like spin or yoga, as these types of classes or not as social, and join a group fitness class. Smaller centers usually have a great community feel and it is easier to meet people. If these centers offer “meet and greet” nights, step out of your comfort zone and attend them. But be kind to yourself, as it may take some time to make friends, just like the first days of school. It is ok to feel uncomfortable.
In regards to motivation, you are not alone in that matter either, as we all struggle with days we just don’t feel like doing anything. I have two tricks I use when I lack motivation. My first is to set your expectations of yourself a little bit lower than you normally would. If you were planning a 30 minute run, cut that back to 15. It is easier to motivate yourself for 15 minutes and more likely than not, you will go longer. My second trick is do something you love. When I feel like sitting on my couch in my workout wear, rather than exercise in it, I go to my favourite hiking trail and spend 2 hours in the forest. I get a good walk in, an enjoyable workout, an endorphin release and a clear head ready for my next workout.
Exercise is different for all of us, and it can be different every day. Some days you may want to work out alone and escape for a bit, and other days you may thrive on the comradery of a group or team-like environment. Put yourself out there. You may surprise yourself.
Attached - Ashley Greene and Bradley Cooper at the gym together in September.