We’ve all been there before — that all-too-familiar feeling of being out of shape and unmotivated. It’s often during those periods when the stress of work and life begins to weigh a bit heavier than usual. A project at work isn’t panning out the way you wanted it to, or that job search is starting to feel completely hopeless. Maybe it’s that awkward strain of leaning on a friendship that you simply can’t shake.

Physically and mentally, you feel exhausted. Your schedule fills with last-minute dinners out, ordering in, and easy, unhealthy fixes. Soon enough, that carefree justification to consume what you want catches up and starts to weigh you down, and not just on the scale.

Fortunately, staying healthy physically is also excellent for emotional and mental stability. There’s an endless array of fitness options out there today; the key is to find the best one for your lifestyle and goals. So, how to know which is really best for you?

Incorporating a workout that works should be just as important as finding the time to eat, drink, or do anything else to function every day. Start off by realizing your fitness goals. Are you looking to simply maintain sanity and enjoy those exercise-induced endorphins, or also to reach a healthier weight and tone up?

If you just need to escape for a moment, take a brisk walk around your neighborhood. Keep your arms and elbows up and have them help you maintain speed. Don’t forget to look around and enjoy that outdoor breeze.

For weight loss, you’ll want something at a higher intensity where you’ll be burning more calories. Recognize your body type. The way our muscles move is very much tied to our build. Are you shorter with an athletic frame?  Quickfire movements and high-intensity interval training would be the place to start. These exercises are intense bursts of activity followed by periods of rest. The point is to rev up your heart rate in less time than normal cardio. Are you taller and leaner?  Barre method or ballet could be the place for your body’s therapy.

Clearing your mind from the white noise of daily life is key to not only staying sane, but keeping focus on what’s really important.

Lastly, find a way to keep yourself committed. This means allowing zero room for flakiness ahead of time. Find classes or hours that match with your schedule. If you’re a morning person, squeeze in a workout before prepping for the day and heading to work. Or, if you know you’re easily tempted by last-minute happy hour plans, literally block out time on your work calendar to hold yourself to a spinning class — pretend it’s an important meeting. Find a weekly running partner that lives nearby. Treat yourself to a reward, like a new lipstick or a drink, at the end of every month for being consistent. Do anything you can to stay on top of your goals.

Clearing your mind from the white noise of daily life is key to not only staying sane, but keeping focus on what’s really important. Don’t be afraid to get out there to see what you like and what doesn’t jibe with your goals. With apps like Class Pass, Gilt City, and Groupon, there’s really no excuse for uninspired exercise. And remember to listen to and monitor your body. Once you find the right workout, you won’t feel like you’re dragging yourself to a class. Both your mind and your body will thank you for it.

If you’re in Los Angeles, here are a few spots that won’t make you feel like you’ll be spending the next hour in a stinky dungeon of machines:

1. City of Angels Boxing: If you’re looking for a community and a very affordable unlimited rate, this place will leave you feeling like a pro. The owners, Alex & Jesse, will make you feel right at home the second you step foot in the door. Bonus: the first class is free, which includes gloves and wraps.
2. The Sweat Spot: For all you dancers, this place is a rite of passage if you’re an Eastsider. Great for all levels, this workout boasts a mix of ballet, contemporary, jazz, and hip hop.
3. The Sweat Garage: With this gym’s effective AMRAP (“As Many Reps As Possible”) motto, there’s no denying that this HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) will get you going. Don’t be intimidated though; it’s not their intention to crush you, but rather to engage you and make you feel challenged and inspired.

Do you love your workout routine?

Images via Stefan Junir

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