Time for a confession.
Sometimes, I don’t want to exercise.
Idk…is that really a surprise? Don’t get me wrong. I love working out, but sometimes I don’t love love it, you know? Especially when I have to sneak it in early in the morning. Or when I have a crazy long to-do list and it would make life so much easier just to skip it.
But then I think about what exercise does for me—and not just for my body. Exercise helps me keep my head on straight. It lifts my mood. Keeps me centered. This is something that I won’t give up, and it gets me to the workout.
That’s what works for me when I’m in an exercise slump, but that doesn’t mean it will work for you. So I’ve come up with a couple of ideas that might help you get your groove back.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big fan of clockwork habits. Having a routine just makes it easier to get things done, and it turns out they’re good for your mental health too. But that doesn’t mean you can’t shake things up—especially when you’re in a bit of a funk.
Think of it this way: your routines are your framework. They’re your support. So if you’ve gotten in the habit of exercising first thing in the morning (yay, you!), keep that routine, but maybe try something new. Take a dance class or go for a bike ride. Hit the weight room, but substitute pull-ups for your seated rows or try doing pushups on a Bosu ball. You may even want to switch workouts with a friend. That way, you don’t even have to make a plan!
Not only are these all good ways to find your groove again, but changing things up can help you bust through a plateau. Just remember to get some pointers from a professional if you’re interested in trying new equipment.
Did someone just say routines are awesome? Oh, yeah…that was me. But now I’m going to completely contradict myself. If your workouts are really dragging and you just can’t get yourself to the gym, then maybe it’s time for a break. One or two days off won’t ruin your progress. In fact, they re-energize you so that your workouts are even more effective than before.
How quickly you lose any fitness gains depends on your fitness level—and there isn’t really a hard definition for those either. But according to an article from Healthline, both trained athletes and nonathletes can take three to four weeks off without seeing a significant drop in their muscle strength. Cardio fitness is a little different because you’ll notice a change in it in seven to 14 days. However, the drop levels off fairly quickly, too.
Once upon a time, before you ran your first mile or did that first burpee 🙄 , something motivated you to start moving. Maybe you just wanted to look your best for a high school reunion, or maybe it was something more serious, like a doctor’s recommendation. Or maybe you just decided it was time to put yourself first.
Whatever it was, it was important to you. Try to hook into that inspiration again. You might want to write it on a piece of paper and put it someplace where you’ll see it often. That little nudge can help you get moving on the days when you just don’t want to exercise.
As much as you want to tap into why you started, you also need to remember where you started. Making health gains is a slow process, so you may not always see the changes you’ve made, but they are happening. If you look back, you might notice that:
And the most important one:
Okay, you’re struggling with it now, but so what? EVERYBODY struggles! What matters is that you’ve made a choice that’s making your life better. And even if you’re having a hard time now, I know you can get through it!