Getting up on a calm Sunday morning and going for a long run or a relaxed bike ride probably even sounds good right about now.
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But once you hit Monday, just the thought of finding some exercise time can be a struggle.
Between work and family obligations and everything else going on during the week, finding time to breathe is a challenge, let alone carving out time for the gym.
Making time for a workout during the week, however, is pretty important.
Just having 20 minutes of low or moderate exercise three times each week can help you feel less tired and as if you have more energy.
Physical activity also helps bust stress, improve sleep and brighten your mood, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
To get all these benefits and stay on top of your health, try these five tips to master the art of the weekday workout.
1. Start Keeping A Schedule
Being busier during the week is why most people struggle to get their exercise in, so you have to schedule your workouts ahead of time. Once they're on your weekly calendar, you'll be less likely to skip or forget about them.
When Sunday rolls around, think about what you want to accomplish over the next week and what all your exercise goals are.
Many fitness places post a monthly class list, so you'll be able to see what is available ahead of time.
As you're considering your goals, decide which classes you want or things you want to do. Use that information to work your exercise into your busy daily schedule. If you go with classes, sign up as soon as possible.
Any applicable cancel fees may prevent you from skipping class to go out for drinks after work instead, and when you sign up early, you'll be more likely to get a spot and avoid being stuck on a waiting list.
2. Get Your Gear Organized
Once you've got your workouts set and scheduled for the week, you can start organizing your gear.
If you already do some laundry over the weekend, this will be simple.
Take every single item you need for your workouts and set it aside, including tops, pants or shorts exercise bras.
Put a pair of socks aside where you keep your gym sneakers – one pair for each workout you scheduled.
If you're going to shower at the gym after you exercise, get that stuff together too, such as your dry shampoo, your flip-flops, your towels and any other toiletries you may need.
Put everything into your gym bag, and store it in your gym locker, car or near your desk at your job.
Don't forget the little things that may be specific to what you plan to do.
If, for instance, you're planning on taking spin classes one day and yoga on another, have your cycling shoes and yoga mat ready to go so you're not trying to find them right before you're due in class.
Pack some protein or granola bars into your bag too, as they will be lifesavers if you get hungry after you leave work or when you're coming home from the gym.
This will also help you avoid giving into temptation when it comes to junk snacks or fast food.
Get some laundry bags if you don't have some already. You don't want to stuff your dirty clothes into the packed bag with your cleaned ones, and using these bags can help prevent that.
Get into the habit of tossing the bags into your hamper or by your washing machine when you come home.
If you leave them in your gym bag, you're likely to forget about them when laundry time comes along on the weekend.
3. Know Yourself
If you know you can't stand getting up in the morning and are often almost late to work, chances are an early workout isn't going to be ideal for you.
In the same vein, if you really love your post-work happy hour, you're probably going to have a much harder time sticking to that after-work gym class you signed up for.
You need to make your plan work for you and your preferences, so think about what you can live without doing and what you can't when it comes to weekdays.
Should you have a more flexible work schedule or a longer lunch period, you may be able to fit exercise in during the middle of the day.
This will leave you more time free both before and after your work hours, but remember to find a gym with a shower if you're going to go this route.
4. Don't Let Things Get Boring
When you keep going to the gym to do the same routine multiple times per week over and over again, or if you're always going to the same classes, it's probably time to make some changes.
Having a routine isn't bad, as it will help you stay on your schedule to meet your exercise goals.
But it's also exciting to change things up sometimes, and you just may find new workouts that really energize you in the process.
Try using apps to find new routines and classes.
There are even apps that let you try classes across multiple gyms for one monthly price, such as ClassPass.
5. Organize Workout Buddy Groups
Having people with you when you work out is more fun, simply because you'll have someone to chat with when you're exercising.
But working out with someone else also gives you other benefits, such as helping to hold you more accountable when it comes to showing up.
You can also support each other as you both work toward your individual fitness goals.
If you're sociable to begin with, look for fitness meet-up groups or exercise clubs in your area.
You could join an adult sports league and play after work. There are leagues for many sports, including volleyball, hockey and soccer.
Many adult recreation leagues also have social gatherings, so this is also an effective way to meet new people and make more friends at the same time.
Ask around at your work and see if any co-workers want to try a new exercise studio nearby or form a walking or running group for lunchtime.
Someone else at your job could be in the same boat as you, and when you join forces, you can keep each other on track when it comes to work week exercise.
If you work near an area with some interesting landmarks, you can even give your exercise lunch group a tour element by planning routes out in advance.
Getting into a solid work week exercise routine does take a little planning and dedication, but the myriad of benefits are worth it.
Start getting into the weekday workout groove today by using the tips above and committing to your decision!