How I Reward Myself After a Workout (a.k.a. How I Convince Myself to Do the Damn Thing)

Monday, October 22, 2018


Look, working out is hard, & I still hate anything that isn't cycling. I'm only a few months into my attempts to get healthier, & I'm still very far away from feeling healthy or in-shape or like I'm doing half of these things right at all - but it's important to start somewhere, & at 34, I figured it was better late than never.

Still, when you've gone 34 years without working out ever much, you may find that you need to entice yourself a little. Here are just a few of the ways I've come up with to trick myself into reward myself after working out.

Stretching at the End of Class

Each class ends with three minutes of guided stretching, though they're not mandatory. As soon as the ride ends, lots of people hop off their bikes & head out - but when I began, I promised myself that, unless I was really under a time crunch, I would always stay for the stretching portion of class. My favorite stretch is one where you unclip one shoe & bend your foot & knee up onto the handlebars, then lean in at the waist to stretch out your hips. Aaaahhhh. Sometimes, when class is kicking my ass, I think about how, soon, I'll be able to do that stretch I love so much.

A Healthy Meal

I'm trying not to reward myself with food, but I think a healthy food reward is OK, especially when it's something I wouldn't make at home. When I first started working out, I told myself that each time I went to a Harness class, I could also get dinner from Boaz Cafe, a fast-casual Mediterranean place I love. Sure, it meant I was spending more money than usual, but if that was what it took to bribe myself into working out, so be it - & their loaded lentil bowls are so delicious and so good for me.

A Little Tip

At the recommendation of my friend Ashleigh, I downloaded the Tip Yourself app & pay myself $5 after each ride. The money comes right out of my bank account & is held by the app until I withdraw it. I haven't yet decided what I'll do with the money I save - invest, buy something nice, put it into my actual savings account? - but I love the idea of rewarding myself monetarily for my workouts, even if it does come from my own wallet. Pay yourself first, they say!

A Really Hot or Cold Shower

A shower isn't so much a reward as it is a necessity, but that doesn't mean it doesn't feel rewarding to wash away all that sweat & grime. Sometimes, a reaaaaally hot shower is exactly what I need to melt away some of the soreness; other times, I want a borderline-cold shower to rejuvenate me, wake me up, & help me feel alive again. Either way, they feel great - &, yes, totally rewarding.

A Good Cup of Coffee

As perpetually sleepy as I am, workouts sometimes make me tired instead of waking me up. After class, I let myself enjoy a soy latte or an iced coffee (no crazy, sugary drinks, though!) to slowly bring me back to life. Sure, I could make them myself, but, uh, I'd rather the staff of a cute coffee shop make it for me. Luckily, both of my studio's locations are next to great coffee shops: Pour downtown & Rising Star in Hingetown, plus my favorite spot, Civilization, which is on my drive home. If there's one thing Cleveland doesn't lack, it's good coffee!

Bath Bombs

I've never been a fan of baths, but once I started riding, especially in the beginning, I needed to relieve sore muscles. I started soaking in Epsom salts & using bath bombs to make the experience more soothing & satisfying. My favorites right now come from Puget Sound Soap Shop, an Etsy shop run by my Internet friend Stevie, who sent me a few to try. Unfortunately she doesn't have any for sale right now, but she also sells really amazing handmade soaps! I also just ordered a few geode bath bombs from the incredible Lesley Saligoe Botanicals.

Legs Up the Wall

I'm trying to get better about stretching, generally, but this alleged yoga pose hardly feels like work or exercise. You just lie on your back & rest your legs against the wall, straight up in the air, to help with circulation & alignment... & damn, it feels so good. It also usually means I have to vacuum my carpet first, but that also feels worth it.

Tell me: How do you reward yourself after workouts? Anything I should add to my repertoire?

Disclaimer: I received three bath bombs & a soap from my friend, who owns Puget Sound Soap Shop. All opinions are my own.

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