7 Things You Can Do Today To Up Your Workout Game

Illustrated by Sydney Hass.
by Maya Kachroo-Levine

I’m one of those people who’s good at working out, in theory. I was a competitive gymnast and traded that in for cross country at some point in high school. Once those ended, it became increasingly clear that I actually wasn’t good at exercising, I was just able to do it with a coach telling me what workout plans to follow. I can be a "self-starter" work type, and have drive for a lot of things, but when it comes to keeping my body healthy, I apparently have very little motivation.

Maybe that’s true of a lot of us — we can work hard at our jobs and our relationships, but somehow have a mental vice when it comes to working out. And exercising at home only makes it worse. When you buy a gym membership, you have the added pressure of dropping a lump of money every month motivating you. Once you’re there, you’re not going to ignore the treadmill in front of you. But at home, it’s easy to succumb to the fact that you had a long day. Plus, there’s wine on the counter and your roommate is skipping her workout, too.

Read on for seven ways to up your game, fight those excuses, and get your sweat on right in your own home.
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Illustrated by Sydney Hass.
Gather Some Weights
My friends living in major cities spend — at the very, very least — $45 a month on their gym memberships. Weights cost $5 to 10 at your local drugstore and will still make you sore as hell the next day. You can do your basic bicep curls or incorporate them into a workout engaging a different part of your body, like lunges or squats. If you commit to doing a mini weight workout for 15 minutes per day about 4 days a week, you’ll notice a difference with minimal commitment.

Note: Buy weights you’ll actually be comfortable lifting. (I recently learned that 8-pound weights are too heavy for me, so you won’t be the only one opting for the 5-pound ones.)

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Illustrated by Sydney Hass.
Find Someone To Run With Once A Week
I understand the concept of workout buds isn’t new. It’s still something to consider, especially because you’re surrounded by other people who want to get in shape and can’t find the time. My friend and I had a streak where we traded in happy hour for a 2.5-mile run. Passing up $4 wine for a 25-minute reminder that we’re out of shape was decidedly not fun, but it was an easy (and satisfying) way to get healthy.
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Illustrated by Sydney Hass.
Get A Yoga Mat
By some miracle, I have hardwood floors. It's great aesthetically, but really doesn’t inspire me to drop and do crunches. A yoga mat costs $20 on Amazon, but ask around before you buy one. Chances are, you have a friend or a parent who has one collecting dust at the back of their closet. Steal it. Do crunches or push-ups on it. Even if you can only do five, resolve get through it and try to do 1 to 5 more every day.

Related: 8 Beginner's Tips For Running Your Way To Being Fit
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Illustrated by Sydney Hass.
Sign Up For A Very Low-Key Race
Generally, the farther you race, the more expensive it is. So if you’re trying to start out with a 5K, it shouldn’t cost you more than $20 or $30. Find a local race that fits your budget. Give yourself time to train by signing up for a race in a few months. Download MapMyRun and a training schedule and complete your first race.
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Illustrated by Sydney Hass.
Try YouTube Workout Videos
I was adamantly against these for a long time, because you know what’s not fun? Having super gorgeous ladies who are 80 shades more tan than I am tell me to “push myself.” I use them sparingly, but will admit that they are an easy solution because you don’t have to think about what type of crunches or ab work you should be doing. Most people I know use Tone It Up. (It’s exceptionally frustrating when they’re laying on a beach, but they still make good workouts.)

Related: 21 Things Young Women Shouldn't Be Afraid Of Asking For
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Illustrated by Sydney Hass.
Make A Space For Yourself
Clear out a small corner of your room, or commandeer 8 feet of the living room. Your roommates will understand. The last thing you want to do before working out is clean, so try to scope out a space that’s not being used to store the crock pot that doesn't fit in the kitchen cabinets. (Pro tip: If your room is as tiny as mine, see if your yoga mat will fit in the hallway.)
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Illustrated by Sydney Hass.
Watch What You Eat At Lunch
In an ideal word, we would be watching what we eat at every meal. But when you’re starting out, it’s a lot easier to hone in on one part of the day. It’s less overwhelming. If you’re going to exercise after you come home from work, try to eat foods that won’t weigh you down at lunch. If you’re tired around 3 p.m., it leaves no motivation for a workout three hours later. Try to cut down on high glucose foods at lunch and learn what you need to eat if you want to workout later. Sometimes a protein-based late afternoon snack is a good thing to keep around, so you’re not famished when you get home.

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