Even the most enthusiastic exercisers lose inspiration to get moving at times. Work gets stressful, family obligations get in the way, or the weather turns, and we suddenly find Netflix on the couch much more appealing than going for a run or sweaty gym session. Read on for our tips on rediscovering the motivation to move.
What should you do when you lose your inspiration to exercise? Try the following 5 tips to reignite your passion for burning calories and building muscle.
1. If you’re burned out, try something new
Exercise ruts are often born from boredom. If you’ve been doing the same old arms & abs workout for 6 months, not only will you stop seeing results, but you’ll probably start dreading going to the gym. If this happens, it’s time to look for something new.
There are so many ways to switch it up: Search for new gym workouts on your favorite blogs or Pinterest. Take a new group fitness class or check out a new studio—whether that’s bootcamp, yoga, spin, or the latest fad. If you’re a gym rat, take your workouts outside; if you do fitness videos at home, try a studio. A simple change can be enough to get you excited about moving again.
If you’re still not feeling it…
2. Find a gym buddy
Tagging along with a friend or family member to the gym doesn’t just turn your workout into a fun social outing, it can provide an accountability partner. If you know that skipping a workout will leave your friend in a bind, you’ll be much less likely to bail. You also don’t have to actually work out together—simply traveling to the gym and getting ready with a friend can make the whole thing a lot less painful, and still allow you to get in your workout free of distractions.
And if you will in fact be completing your workout solo…
3. Make a new killer playlist
A fresh playlist, a new album, or the latest episode of your favorite podcast can be extremely motivating, especially if you know your hour at the gym is the only time you’ll have a chance to listen. An inspirational podcast can be especially effective—I love listening to interviews with ultra-endurance athletes or those that have completed incredible feats of strength. When you’re hearing about a 100-mile race up and down a mountain, suddenly your 5 mile run doesn’t seem quite so hard.
If that’s not your speed, any other inspirational stories or personal development-focused content can be helpful for finding motivation and staying focused on your goals.
If you still find yourself dreading your workouts…
4. Forget what you think you should be doing
We’re constantly bombarded with exercise recommendations & rules: Exercise for 150 minutes a week. Strength train at least twice a week. Run every day if you want to lose weight. Lift heavy five times a week if you want to “build your booty.”
Once you enter the fitness world, it’s easy to feel like you’re never doing enough. But the only rule that you should steadfastly stick to when it comes to exercise is to find an activity that you love.
Sure, it would be ideal to have the perfect well-rounded exercise routine that addresses all aspects of fitness, but this can be unrealistic and unsustainable for many of us, especially at all times of our lives.
Exercise should improve not just your physical wellbeing, but your mental wellbeing too. If forcing yourself to do certain exercises causes more stress than it relieves, seek out an alternative. You may find that once you’ve thrown off your perceived exercise obligations, the whole thing comes more fun.
And if all else fails…
5. Give yourself a break
Sometimes a loss of motivation can be our bodies signaling to us it’s time to slow down. Perhaps you spent the last few months adhering to a strict workout schedule, or you’ve just entered a time of your life where other aspects demand more attention. It’s ok—healthy, in fact—to put your fitness on the back-burner for a while, as rest and recovery are just as important as movement and growth. Life has ebbs and flows, and our exercise routine is not exempt from these shifts.
The important thing here is to be able to distinguish the times when you can truly benefit from a break from those times when you simply need some inspiration. But if you do go for the break, leave the guilt and judgment out of it, and take advantage of this time to recover and re-focus.
Feeling re-inspired yet?