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Getting Motivated to Work Out on Your Own

From the Show: Train Your Body
Summary: Can't afford a personal trainer? Here's how to get motivated to work out on your own.
Air Date: 12/16/14
Duration: 10
Host: Melanie Cole, MS
Guest Bio: Jim White, RD
JimWhite-BioPic resized bestJim White, RD, graduated Summa Cum Laude from Youngstown University in Ohio with a B.A. in Nutrition. He is credentialed by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as a Registered Dietitian and certified by the American College of Sports Medicine as a Health Fitness Specialist. On November 1, 2005, Jim opened his first Jim White Fitness & Nutrition Studios on Shore Drive in Virginia Beach. He soon outgrew this studio and opened a larger one in November 2006 on Laskin Road followed by an additional location in 2009 off Great Neck Road, both in Virginia Beach. Jim and his team have helped hundreds of people lose thousands of pounds. He is currently the National Spokesman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and has the reputation of being one of the top health professionals in the country.
Getting Motivated to Work Out on Your Own
Can't afford a personal trainer or gym membership?

You don't need a whole gym to work out.

You just need to stay motivated.

Sharing your workout via social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram can be a great motivator, because once you've shared, you want to make sure to follow through.

Music and other distractions can be a big help for some, but others need to concentrate fully on their workouts to keep going.

Listen in as Jim white, RD, discusses how to stay motivated while working out on your own, as well as how creating your own workouts can be financially beneficial.

Melanie Cole (Host):  If you’re the kind of person – actually I’m going to be honest and tell you about myself right here – like me, who isn’t a big gym person. I mean, I like to work out in a gym, I like the little TV sets on the ellipticals, I like the little TV sets on the treadmill and some of the equipment, but I am mostly an at-home working person and I need to use my treadmill and I like to work out at home. I might not be as motivated as I probably should be, but it is where I like to work out. I don’t have to dress up. I don’t have to put on makeup. How do you stay motivated if you want to work out on your own? Not at a gym, at your home, or outside. What do you do? My guest is Jim White. He is a registered dietitian. Jim, what do we do? How do we work out on our own and stay motivated? What do you think are the most important factors? 

Jim White (Guest):  I love this topic because let’s face it. A personal trainer, a registered dietitian, a gym, sometimes it can be quite expensive. So even as a personal trainer, we try to teach people accountability. We try to teach people to do this on their own because they’re with this body for the rest of their life. What I think is, they got to find accountability place. Number one is starting a home gym. It doesn’t even have to be that much. You can have a home gym for under $100 with a mat, stability balls, some bands, some basic dumb bells and some fitness videos to do it. If you go online, there are so many fitness apps and websites that actually have exercises for you. That is there for you at your need. What I recommend is setting up accountability for yourself, and some things you can do is go public with it. Why not put it on Facebook? Put it out there. “This is what I’m going to do. This is my goal.” I know for some people, it will be a lot of pressure, but once you set it out, the more likely to stick to it. Put it out to the public, share with your family, share with your friends, even your co-workers, and they’ll keep accountable to you. 

Melanie:  That’s a good idea. I like to write down and see in one week how many miles I did on the treadmill, how long it took me to do those miles, so that the next week I can maybe pick it up a little bit. I think one important factor is having a good situation in which to work. How much equipment do you really think people need? To me, a treadmill and dumbbells are vital – other than that, a good pair of shoes.

Jim:  That’s it, a good pair of shoes, number one, especially if you’re doing any walking or running. You’re right. Having a treadmill, getting calories, and let’s face it, calories burning. We guys got to get our body moving. There’s a lot of amazing pieces of equipment out there, but just to have the basics—weight training, cardiovascular training with the treadmill, and some dumbbells—will do the job. Also, I’d recommend is to keep a food journal. This is something they say 30% increased adherence by having a food journal. Writing down your food and maybe even having someone check it. Maybe your spouse, I don’t know if that’s a good idea. Maybe the spouse or maybe an accountability friend, or challenge people. Whether it’s at work, having a team challenge, weight loss challenge, or challenging maybe a friend to lose weight, whether it’s competitive or doing as a team effort, this is a great way to stay accountable to yourself and to really see results. 

Melanie:  When you’re working out at home, on the treadmill or whatever, do you like having a TV to watch or do you think you should be somebody who should be hearing your breathing, listening to what you’re doing. Do you want to stay motivated? Do you want to concentrate on what you’re doing or do you want to do just the opposite? 

Jim:  You know what? I think it’s all the above. There’s a lot of people out there that hate exercise, and if you could distract yourself with TV or putting on a movie and you’re burning calories, that’s great. If you need music to get you going, to get you motivated, that’s great. Or if you need maybe a book on tape, just to keep you occupied, that’s great. Then there’s some people that don’t want those distractions. They want to maybe focus on their breathing, they want to focus on their mind, what’s going on, maybe they want to think about their day or it’s a great way to meditate, a great day to focus on your goals. Whatever it is, whether it’s distractions, whether it’s finding ways to become motivated or just find that inner space, I feel that any of them are great ways to keep you going at home.

Melanie:  That’s good advice, too, I think, whatever it is that gets you motivated, whether it’s a buddy or the TV or good cranking loud music. What if you find that because you’re working out at home, you’re distracted easily? Your kids come in from school, you jump off the treadmill to go help them with their homework. The phone rings, you jump off the treadmill, you stop doing push-ups. What about those distractions that you don’t have at the gym? How do you put those out of your mind? 

Jim:  Yes, this is the one difficulty of working out at home. What I’d recommend is be flexible, maybe even working out two times a day. If you can only get 20 minutes a day, 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes at night, find a quiet time. Maybe talk to your spouse. Maybe talk to your family and say, “This is something that’s getting me better as a family member. It’s going to make me healthier.” Or do it together with everybody. Maybe have a family fitness fun where everyone works out together. There’s a lot of great ways to do that, whether it’s bringing them together and doing it or just isolating yourself, finding a room, finding a quiet space, or even doing it at work. We’re seeing a lot of workplace wellness programs actually increasing, whether it’s taking the steps, whether it’s bringing some [audio skips] in. A lot of corporations definitely have gyms at their place. Take advantage of this if this is the opportunity.

Melanie:  Well, it is. That’s for sure. More motivational tips, Jim, when we’re looking to do the strength training, getting yourself to do that extra push-up – because one thing, a gym, a little competition or a trainer can help you do is push yourself just that much further. It’s one thing to get on the treadmill and to do the push-ups, but how about pushing yourself to just that next level. How do you do that?

Jim:  Yeah, this is tough without someone. You’re a personal trainer, I’m a personal trainer. We’re pushing our clients. “Come on, get that extra rep.” This is hard to do on your own. But by setting goals, setting accomplishments, maybe it’s doing 50 push-ups or maybe it’s doing 60 sit-ups in a couple of minutes. Set these goals and really try to achieve them. I can’t talk more about accountability partners and finding someone to keep accountable because we can do it on our own, but to have someone there checking in on us just increases that intensity. So having a partner to do with, whether it’s running outside to jogging to walking or to doing exercise at home, trying to find that partner. Then, if not, if it’s just us, find that inner will to succeed. I think by setting up these goals and trying to accomplish them, it could really give us that motivation to really hit those goals.  

Melanie:  I think that that’s really important. Some more tips for working out on your own and those distractions that happen in the gyms and such. Working out on your own doesn’t necessarily mean working out in your basement. It could be outside. By looking around, seeing other runners, do you think that making little goals with yourself, getting all these kinds of things going are what can help you? And do you prefer working out in a gym or at home?

Jim:  I’m back and forth on it. It depends on what type of person. You see some people are talking to people all day long at work, they’re just totally extroverts, and they just might want to go home where no one’s around and just have a nice, quiet workout. A lot of other people might be introverts at work. Maybe they don’t get a chance to talk to people, maybe they’re isolated throughout the day and they want that culture, they want to meet people. So those social aspects are really important. I always say have a backup home workout plan. If you can’t make it to the gym, if you’re schedule is tight, and this happens to a lot of people, have a backup workout place where you can do it at home and then some days, you might want to do it at the gym. I always recommend for everyone to have some sort of exercise fitness equipment at home to do it.

Melanie:  I agree with you completely. It’s great advice. If you’re somebody who is motivated and you just don’t dig the gym, then get your own treadmill, get your really good shoes, as Jim says. Make sure that you have everything in place. Try and put the distractions aside or work out at a time when you’re not going to have as many distractions, whether that is in the morning before you start work or after the kids have gone to school, whenever you can find the time, and do it as often as you can. This is Melanie Cole. Motivate and perform with the American College of Sports Medicine on the show Train Your Body right here on Thanks so much for listening and stay well.