Exercise motivation is one of those topics that is different for everyone. There is no magical cure that will make you get off the couch and head straight to the gym (if you do know of a magical way, let us in on the secret!). I know the struggle , you plan this great workout, get really motivated then you start and you just cannot be bothered! Countless times I arrive at the gym and from the moment I get there I just want to leave. I have just found that pushing myself through this grueling workout, just does not make me happy! So I have decided it’s just not worth it. Exercise is meant to make you happy and give you those positive endorphins! So how can I on those days when I don’t want to work out, make myself do it?
Here I want to give you new options to try, especially when your are feeling down and unmotivated. Lets break it down!
Table Of Contents:
- Why Do You Exercise?
- Planning Your Goals.
- How To Change Your Mindset.
Why Do you Exercise?
I find this to be one of the most important questions when trying to get motivation back. The point i am trying to raise is you need to think about why you started to exercise. Was it to feel better? Possibly a mental break you can take? To help you discover this, here is why I exercise and the importance this has in the long run.
Generally, it just makes me feel good. It doesn’t have to be a grueling hour at the gym , just being outside and active makes my day ten times better, and I feel…well happier. Exercise to me used to be all about seeing results , either by loosing weight or looking ‘better’ in the mirror, but I have come to appreciate it, a lot more than that. I think that other people too are beginning a realization of the other benefits to being active , apart from just body proportions.
I don’t exactly remember exactly when i stopped forcing myself to do an intense 2 hour workout everyday, but i am so grateful that my perception has changed and I can now fully appreciate my weekly workouts. I only strive now to use exercise as a way to be healthier. Goals such as building my endurance, improving my flexibility with yoga, certain lifting targets in the gym. When I am not using exercise to strive for my goals I just have it as part of my day, I wake up have breakfast and either go to the gym or do a 20 min routine at home. Being able to have that flexibility of when I want to workout and when i do not is something I have never had before and I see it as a massive achievement for myself.
I still have the struggle some days especially since Covid to workout, but I know now, that everyone else has the same problems from time to time, and I know I enjoy it , so I want to reach my goals and I will persevere and achieve them.
Exercising is a way of achieving realistic goals. That feeling of when you have reached your goal is amazing , a proper rush! I find having that having a small realistic goal in life brings me motivation and that is when I really push myself. So that is why I exercise , and why I think everyone else should do to. 🙂
How To Plan Your Goals
First off lets start with a list of a few exercised bases goals. Increase in endurance, Flexibility, gaining muscle or loosing body fat. Then lets move on to some mental goals. Positive thinking, daily affirmations, mediate, journaling. The reason I am listing all the goals is that I believe you need to set both physical and mental goals.
I always find it easier when I have an example to refer to. Even with something as simple as planning goals. At the moment I am trying to stay as positive as possible! Journaling every morning really helps me ground myself and get a good start to the day. I like to plan small achievable goals so I don’t get discouraged.
When it comes to exercise, I am someone who can just rock up to the gym and know what I need to do. My current workout split is push, pull and legs. So if I am doing a push day ( chest, triceps, shoulders), I can easily think of a routine in my head on the day. However, I find, when I do not have a set routine planned out, on paper , I tend to tell myself, “oh i can skip this set”, or i just leave as soon as i am tired. When this happens I am not really making the most out of my workout. So, every couple of weeks I write down the specific exercises to do, sets etc. This makes sure that I am slowly increasing my weight, and I am improving. Remember to plan to suit your own goals! It doesn’t matter if you don’t see results , the proof is on the paper. If you stick to your own plan, those are results!
P.s I am currently writing a post just dedicated to planning and goal setting. I find it really important for everyone to have something they are working towards. No matter how small , achieving a goal makes you feel amazing and I want everyone to feel that way!
How To Change Your Mindset
I have constantly struggled with, trying to push myself when I workout. Dont get me wrong I love exercise and the results I’m seeing , but I could be mentally and physically doing more. And I want to. So, how can I make the most out of my workouts and achieve my goals. Well here are a few things that have personally made me push myself to work harder…
- Before and After Fuel : Fueling your workout is essential if you want to have the energy to push yourself. I notice when i rush to the gym and skip a pre-workout meal, halfway though i get tired and unmotivated. I can use the excuse of “i haven’t eaten enough” to dodge more exercises! I know its not difficult, a bit of peanut butter on toast, enough energy to get you through your workout. I always try to get some protein and a carb before a workout. You can pair the two however you like! If you need the extra caffeine kick , try some pre-workout, gives you a great hype and buzz for the gym! (This is not for everyone). After exercise, within the next hour I always have a protein shake to ensure my body has enough protein to repair etc. A small carb focused snack as well to replenish the glycogen stores you just used up. Again there is so much research out there on pre and post workout fuel, tailor to your goals to ensure you are making the most out of your workout!
- Good Workout Days: As much as we have bad days, remember there are good ones too! When your in the mood for a proper workout, make the most of it! Push yourself then! Whatever you had planned add a few extra reps or even another set. Its not as much as it makes up for the days you missed , but when you are unmotivated you can think back to this day and know your full potential! Don’t let it dishearten you if not ever day is like this, that is not how it works. From a normal week, i get about 2 of these amazing workout days, 3 where i cannot be arsed, and then 2 just average days. And this changes every week. So strive to go that extra mile in the gym, because you know the feeling when you have had a good gym day!!
- Adapt and Change: If you’re trying something for a while and it isn’t working for you or you’re not seeing results, don’t be afraid to switch it up to something else, or ask someone where you might be going wrong with an exercise, draw from other peoples experience around you, you just might be making a mistake they can see that you don’t know about. Before i did my fitness instructors course, i learnt what i knew at the gym from a friend who had been training for much longer than me. And just by asking the instructors floating around the gym. Most of the time they love people asking them for help because they are a bit bored… So go for it!
So in conclusion, make the most out of every gym day. Push yourself when you are motivated, don’t be discouraged if you are not. Know what your goals are, plan your meals and workouts to ensure you are doing the best you can to reach them. There is so much guidance in the fitness world, from research to workout videos, utilize all of them to guide you on your fitness journey. Enjoy!
Don’t Give Up!
For everyone out there. We all have days where we don’t want to exercise, and feel down and unmotivated. You are not alone. Just calm down , find an easy workout that makes you feel happy, or go for a walk, or just take a break! Remember to listen to your body and do what it needs. Stay positive! Enjoy! 🙂