By Christina Perinhas

We have all been there. It’s the middle of August, it’s hot, and we fall into that workout slump. It’s like pulling teeth just to get to the gym door or to get outside for a run. Let’s face reality: physical activity is in constant competition with everything else in our lives, especially when we’re in late summer mode. How do we stay motivated to move?

Here are some of my personal tips:

1) Have a plan and sick to it.  Plan your workouts when you’ll have the fewest conflicts. For most people, that’s going to be first thing in the AM, especially now when the sun rises early. Plus, you’ll have added energy for the day. Not an early riser? Try inching your alarm back a little every few days. It will gradually reset your body’s clock, so you’ll wake up earlier. If you’d rather get your sweat session in during the evening, then try getting changed before you leave work. It sounds too simplistic—but these little steps will help you follow through. If you still feel like there’s never enough time to get that workout in, try scheduling your workouts first. Daily exercise is that important. Study after study shows that it makes everything else you do better–helps your mental sharpness, learning, and memory, and lowers your stress levels, all of which are essential when you’re on the job.

2) Focus on feeling good.  Are you mostly motivated by your appearance and/or that number on the weight scale? These changes can take weeks, and are always temporary. As humans we all want instant gratification at some level, so try switching your focus to how exercise makes you feel (more energetic, happier, healthier). These changes happen immediately! On top of feeling good, consistent movement is going to make you healthier on the inside; lower blood pressure, stronger heart, better immune system etc.

3) Keep things fresh.  Changing up your routine is also key. If you’ve done the same routine all summer, it’s probably gotten boring by now. What felt great in June now seems stale. Professional athletes change up their routines every 3-4 weeks, both to make sure they’re making progress through their season, and to make sure their muscles don’t get into a rut by doing the same movements in the same way. Whether it’s different exercises, incorporating more strength training with your cardio (or vice versa), running on a trail instead of the park, or signing up for a different class, there are so many options for you!

4) Hook up with a workout buddy.  Whether it’s a professional trainer to shake up & improve your routine, or just a friend to share that hour with, training with someone new can add to your motivation and keep you on a schedule.