10 Non-Food Ways to Reward Yourself for Working Out


I don’t know about you, but after an intense work out, I feel like eating ALL THE FOOD. Which isn’t a bad thing – it’s just my body telling me that I’ve been depleted of energy and I need more. Food should always be the natural reward for working out – it’s a necessity.

I absolutely do not believe in starvation diets or food deprivation – I believe in eating plenty of healthy whole foods, and only splurging on occasion. But I know there are some of you who are pairing exercise with a specific diet plan, and after pushing yourself hard, it’s easy to be like, “Okay. Ice cream. Come to my face.” You don’t want to break your diet, (especially after working so hard!) but you do want to reward yourself. And so you should. You worked out! You KILLED IT. You are, in short, awesome.

So let’s talk about some non-food ways to treat yourself after exercising! They are tried and true, my friends. (Tried by my unicorns, even. They skipped the workout part though, because they’re lazy little cakepops who just want to have fun all the time.) 


01: STRETCH.

I know – this might not seem like a reward. You’re like, “Come on, I just finished working out!” EXACTLY. While your muscles are still warm and (let’s face it – total jello) reward your body with a good stretch! It doesn’t have to be long or challenging. Even five minutes of stretching is better than nothing. I’ve found that my body reacts less to intense workouts if I stretch my muscles after using them. We want to push ourselves, but we don’t want to neglect ourselves.

If you’re into videos, here are a few post-workout stretches that I find particularly yummy: this runner-tailored cool-down, this quickie yoga flow, and this shoulder-focused stretch.


02: PAY YOURSELF.

Seriously. If you’re currently making an income, there’s no reason to not stick a dollar in a jar every time you show up to sweat. It’s money you don’t have to feel bad about spending – because it’s your reward! Impulse-buy that new book, take a friend to the movies on a whim or just generally SPLURRRGE without feeling guilty! You earned it, after all.


03: BEEF UP YOUR ‘WATCH LATER’ PLAYLIST.

This one takes some self-control, guys. I know how tempting it can be to click ‘play’ when a new video pops into your subscription feed – but try to resist the urge. Next time you find yourself checking YouTube, make a pact to get your workout done before kicking back to watch those uploads. Trust me – you’ll enjoy that new video much more when you’re sweaty and out-of-breath, than when you’re stiff and unfocused.


04: TAKE A NAP.

We could all use some extra sleep, right? Especially after working out, when our bodies have been depleted of energy. Shut-eye is second to food (and by food I mean WAFFLES) so it’s a worthy reward. If afternoon hits and you’re feeling a little drowsy – and maybe even sore – don’t push it. Kick back on the comfiest surface (couch, bed, kitchen counter…) and close your eyes. Breathe deep, think about something you’re grateful for, and notice the sounds around you. See what happens. Even if you don’t fall asleep, you get a precious moment of time-out.


05: MAKE A CUP OF TEA AND CURL UP WITH A BOOK.

Is it just me, or does this sound like the BEST REWARD EVER? Maybe this is because I’m a slow reader with a giant TBR pile (hmmm NAH.) I’d be all goody-goody and tell you to drink herbal tea (because HEALTHY! YO) but come on – you deserve black tea. You worked out. #justified


06: PLAY A VIDEO GAME.

You could also replace this one with “do something that makes you forget about reality.” For me, this is VIDEO GAMMESS. But I know that not everyone escapes responsibilities through a virtual reality inside a computer. So yeah – do whatever you want!


07: WATCH A MOVIE (OR THREE.)

Movies are good because a) they distract you from real life, b) they involve kicking back on the couch, and c) they distract you from the ICE CREAM IN THE FREEZER THAT IS CALLING YOUR NAAAAAME. Seriously, when you’re busy crying, shaking your fists at the screenwriter, and watching your OTP’s every move,* only 12% of your brain will be thinking about ice cream (because the only thing that can make a movie better is ice cream.)

*let’s just assume that the only thing you watch is Downton Abbey, Little Women, and Anne of Green Gables.


08: TAKE A LONG SHOWER.

There are few things in this world more glorious than a good 15-20 minutes of hot water. (Few things being waffles. Duh.) Bring along a relaxing playlist or rock out (karaoke, my friends) to your favorite songs. (I apt for the latter. Like, every night. It’s my secret weapon. Sauna-like conditions + vocal practice = better singing voice. True story.)


09: WRITE YOUR BODY A LOVE NOTE.

This might sound a bit silly to y’all, but trust me – it’s actually really restorative, not to mention healthy for the brain. Grab a notebook or Word doc and start writing some thoughts. What are you grateful you can do with your body? How did your workout feel today? Did you feel tired or energized? How do you feel now? What goals do you want to work towards?

Your body serves you every day – time for you to give it a little love. Close your eyes and smile. Be grateful for all the things you are capable of doing, all the things you can accomplish with hard work and determination.


10: CHOCOLATE.

PSSSH WHATEVER I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING THIS IS FOOD. But you’re wrong, my dear. Chocolate is not food, it is a necessity of life. End of story.



How do you reward yourself after a workout? Do you already treat yourself to some of the awesomeness on my list? Do you agree that chocolate is most definitely NOT optional when it comes to ANYTHING??

love,
abbiee

33 comments

  1. These are awesome tips!

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    1. Thank you so much, Nabila!! :)

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  2. I love this! :) I've literally just been thinking about different ways to reward myself after a long run. And this list is the jam, yo. I already watch a movie, read and nap as my reward for my Saturday morning long run, but I like the idea of writing my body a thank you note. This made me smile! And chocolate is not a food. It's an experience.

    P.s. What about chocolate waffles? That's like next level stuff, yo.

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    1. YOU GOT YOUR GAME ON GIRL. Those sound like lovely rewards! AND EEEEP I'M SO GLAD YOU LIKE THIS LIST. ♥ Yes yes yessss chocolate is most definitely an experience. you know what up. ;) CHOCOLATE WAFFLES ARE NEXT LEVEL. And now I think I need some in my face thankyouverymuch. XD

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  3. Great ideas! I'm gonna try that!

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    1. Thank you! And enjoy ;)

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  4. *let’s just assume that the only thing you watch is Downton Abbey, Little Women, and Anne of Green Gables. >>>>lol me lololoolololol alt+2

    These are great tips! I need to get my butt in gear and actually, like, do something... Yeahh... MAYBE THIS POST IS ENOUGH TO GET ME MOTIVATED.

    I crack up at how many times you mention waffles in like, every post of yours known to man. *millions of laughing emojis*

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    1. XDD RIGHT?? ME TOO. That was very inspired by my go-to selection of movies/shows. EEEEP I'm so happy you liked this post!! And the waffle mentions. XD WAFFLES ARE JUST LIFE KK?

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  5. *my dumb chromebook doesn't allow me to make symbols so alt+2 is supposed ta be a smiley face. #idrivethestrugglebusthroughmudondisappointmentavenue

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    1. XD THAT HASHTAG. I'm going to use that k thanks. *cry laughing emojis*

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    2. LOL you're welcome. It is one of my most-used phrases, I think.

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  6. ice cream come to my face. I FEEL YOU. help. i am laughing so hard. but i'd like to add one more item to the list.

    #11: read this post again and again and laugh until your exercise seems slight in comparison.
    xx

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    1. FIHDKKDLSNLS KK YOU ARE LIKE THE MOST AMAZING PERSON EVER AND MAKE ME SO HAPPY. x) *wipes tears* thank you Addy darling. ♥

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  7. Okay, so... I LOVE THIS! I'll definitely refer to this list tonight! My afternoon class was canceled today and I plan on getting a really good+intense workout in! And hun, chocolate is definitely NOT food! It comes from cocoa, which is a tree... that makes it a plant... so, basically, chocolate is salad...

    And a little love note is such a good idea! After pushing myself hard, its a neat idea to sit and thank myself and love myself a little more each workout! Genius!!!

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    1. EEEEP YAY!! I'm so glad you like this list, Kianna Rose!! UM YES I APPROVE OF THIS LOGIC. CHOCOLATE IS BASICALLY SALAD. *NODS VIGOROUSLY* eeeep I'm glad you like that love note idea, as well -- I really need to practice that more. x) hehe. Thank you for reading, dear!

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  8. I reward myself by laying face down in the floor, congratulating myself for not crying.

    (also I really related to the unicorns view of exercise)

    CHOCOLATE IS ALWAYS A GOOD CHOICE. ALWAYS.

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    1. AHHABDSJAKNDNS YOU'RE SO FUNNY OMG. *wilts and wipes tears* (i do this also...ahem. XD) OMG WELL MAYBE YOU ACTUALLY ARE A UNICORN. i'm jelly. x) YES TO CHOCOLATE. thank you for reading, dear. ♥

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  9. These are good rewards for things other than working out too. (Because yes, I'm one of those inactive people who would rather not puff and sweat.)

    Number two is an interesting idea, and why not? I might have to try it. Other than that, number five is my favourite, and especially because winter is approaching here, I'm looking forward to having more hot mugs of tea, and getting through all the books I'm currently reading. (Of which The Happiness Project is one. Have you read that? It's different to anything else of read, but I think I'm learning something.)

    Anyway, I know this is about rewarding yourself, but it's also super-satisfying to do something for someone else, especially if you can make it a surprise for them. That's one of the most fulfilling rewards, I find.

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    1. Yes, this list could definitely apply to other things besides working out!! Good thought. :) I keep forgetting that you're going into winter and we're coming out of it (finally lol) so yessss to tea always tea. ♥ Hmm, that books sounds familiar and really interesting! I'll have to check it out. YESSSS it's very fulfilling to do things for others, and surprises are the best!! I love making people smile as much as possible, hehe. x) Thank you for reading, Jessica!

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  10. I'm so glad you pointed out that chocolate is not food but life. THAT IS SO WISE OF YOU. EXACTLY YES.

    So I workout before breakfast, ergo I do get to reward myself with food but it's BREAKFAST and it's healthy so it's acceptable. XD I HOPE. AHEM. But omg the struggle not to eat chocolate after going for a run or whatever is A TOUGH ONE. Gah. (I mean, we established that chocolate is in fact life not food, but it's still expensive to exist on solely if one likes the really REALLY dark stuff. Omg, Abbbbbbie. Do you like dark chocolate?! TELL ME YOU DO BECAUSE IT IS THE BEST KIND??!?!?)

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    1. YES I AM QUITE WISE AREN'T I. :') Chocolate is never an option hehe. EEE YES I DO THE SAME EXACT THING DUDE I FEEL A CONNECTION RN. Breakfast is a very nice reward. (especially if it involves cake because come on. cake should always be eaten at breakfast. xD) OMG YES NONE OTHER THAN THE DARKEST OF DARK CHOCOLATE. AS DARK AS MY SOUL, AS YOU ONCE SAID ON INSTAGRAM I THINK. XD it's just the best. thank you for reading, Cait!!

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  11. Abbiee! these are such great ideas! i'm really trying to start working out again, and these are gonna be great motivators...instead of ice cream...which is an awesome motivator other than the part that its really unhealthy. :( i think my favorite is stretching. really. i looooooove stretching. and chocolate. chocolate is a necessity. like air. :)

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    1. EEEP I'm glad you like this list, Sami!! It's tough to get back into working out, but it just gets more and more fun, in my opinion! :) Ice cream is a beautiful demon XD and stretching yesss. I love stretching too. MEEP. RIGHT YOU ARE -- AIR. THAT IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE. *nods* thank you for reading, dear!

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  12. CHOCOLATE IS MY FAVORITE OPTION HERE!!!!!! Because honestly after I go work out (which is a rare occasion, tbh), chocolate is necessary to survive. Chocolate or tortilla chips.

    So in other words I really needed this post. XD

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    1. YESSSSSSS ME TOO GRACE ANNE ME TOO. xD eeep tortilla chips are amazing as well. HOW ABOUT CHOCOLATE-DIPPED TORTILLA CHIPS OKAY

      this is dangerous help XD

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  13. OMG eating food after workout is like the best thing EVER! I don't think I like to eat that much any other time than after a good workout. And I mean, you have to get that nutrients, right? :D
    All of these tips were awesome and from time to time I switch through some of them. My favourtie after workout routine is this: yoga (because who doesn't want a good strecht and also peaceful mind? ), long hot shower, food and then green tea and my favourite book. If I don't have to study in that case homework. :D

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    1. YES TO ALL FOOD IS SO GLORIOUS. Definitely get all them nutrients on board, yo. ;) hahaa. OOOH your workout routine sounds lovely!! I want to try that now, in that exact order. x) Thanks for reading, Simone!!

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  14. After a workout or a yoga session I love to reward myself with a lovely walk. For some reason where I live Mother Nature has decided to dump 12 inches of snow on the ground (DURING SPRING BREAK) and there is nothing better the going for a walk during a blizzard to cool down. (okay maybe chocolate...)
    -Em
    www.destinationblissblog.blogspot.ca

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    1. Yessss I agree! Walks are so relaxing to me but ACK. SNOW. Seriously blizzards should not be allowed to happen during spring break that is just wrong. O_O always, always chocolate. ❤️ Thank you for reading, Em!

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  15. Read this is morning! I love posts like this one, giving me more motivation to flow up my health and fitness related goals! AHA... Isn't chocolate food?
    LOVE YOU!

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    1. Chocolate is one level up from food... ;) haha. thank you for reading, Vanessa! I'm glad you liked this post!!

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  16. HA.
    EXERCISE.
    Sometimes I type really fast and my wrists get sore. Does that count as exercising? I flail to music sometimes. I bang my head against the wall in frustration at editing.

    No? None of them are exercising?
    Oh. Well. *rewards self anyways with movies and books and naps*

    (My mom keeps telling me to exercise. I TRY BUT I'D RATHER EAT TEN POUNDS OF BROCCOLI OR SKYDIVE. I dunno, man. Me and exercise don't get along. We'll try again later. xD)

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    1. Hmmm, some of those rather tiring tasks could count, I think! XD I also flail to music and reward myself with lots of chocolate. Because. HAHA TEN POUNDS OF BROCCOLI. you're amazing btw ❤️ Thank you for reading!! :D

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kind words are like raindrops on the desert. they make me bloom with happiness, as absolutely cliche and cheesy as that sounds. even if it's just a simple alt+3 i will heart you for it. so, go ahead! MAKE MY DAY. literally.