We’ve ALL been there. For whatever reason, some days we just aren’t feeling it. It might be that we’re a little tired, a little distracted or maybe a little down in the dumps. Whatever the reason is, some days it can be difficult getting yourself to the gym (or your home workout space).
We’ve also had the experience of both possible outcomes. You do your workout and feel better afterward, even if maybe you didn’t bring your usual energy to the table. You don’t do your workout and you feel sort of guilty, and wish you had. While logically we all KNOW that we should work out today, sometimes our emotional brain plays tricks on us. And sometimes, it is all too good at convincing us to play hooky.
What can we do to overcome these uninspired feelings? I bet you have some techniques that you’ve used with yourself in the past, but it’s always good to add a few new ideas to your bag of tricks. Here are a few motivational mantras that I come back to on those days when I’m just not feeling it.
1) Don’t Think Too Much. Just Get Your Gym Clothes On!
On days when I’m low on energy, I sometimes make the mistake of asking myself if I feel like working out. Or worse – sometimes my brain envisions the workout as being hard before I even get there! That’s the quickest way to convince myself to throw in the towel for the day.
The best technique for this is just to stop thinking about the workout itself. Put on your workout clothes and think of something else. If you’re going to the gym, hop into the car, put some energizing music on and don’t think about where you’re headed. Just get there. Once you’re there, you’ll probably start feeling better. If you’re at home, pop in a workout DVD so you don’t have to think and can just follow the instructor. You may be surprised to find that you have more energy than you expected once you get into your workout. I’ve found that at times, days I didn’t initially feel like working out I end up working out my hardest!
2) Start With a Little ‘Me Time’
Sometimes when we’ve had a rough or stressful day, we may need to nurture ourselves a bit, even decreasing the revolutions a little before moving forward to our workouts. Lots of times if we’ve pushed ourselves all day long (or been pushed by others) it can be helpful to take a short emotional breather to prepare us to push ourselves at the gym.
Grab your Kindle or e-Reader and treat yourself to a few pages from your favorite novel while you do a 10 minute warm-up on the treadmill or stationary bike. You’ll temporarily distract yourself from whatever is on your mind AND get your blood pumping and your body ready. Or, run out and buy a copy of your favorite fitness magazine and flip to an article that seems interesting and motivating.
If you work out at home, treat yourself to a short walk before your workout or read a good fitness article online as you eat your pre-workout snack.
We women are natural born overachievers. When it comes to our workout goals, we tend to shoot very high. Then if today we fear we can’t live up to our own standards, it can be easy to convince ourselves that if we can’t give it 100% it’s best not to try. We tell ourselves, “I’ll feel better tomorrow.” Do you sometimes fall into this all or nothing thinking?
The truth is, whatever we’re able to do in our workout today will have benefit to our body, to our fitness goals and to our workout goals. Even if it’s just a few reps or a short walk! Or even if it’s 30 minutes with a bit less than your usual amount of energy. You give your all in your workouts 95% of the time! Give yourself permission to be wherever you are today – and just get through. You’ll be glad you did.
4) Enlist a Friend or Family Member for Today
On those days when it’s tougher to motivate yourself, having a partner in crime can be a big help! Ask your significant other to accompany you to the gym or work out with you. Call a friend, your mom, your sister and invite her to the gym. Or even over to your house to do a workout DVD with you. OR, if they live far away, suggest that you each work out on your own at the same time, and call each other to check in when you’re done to celebrate your accomplishment!
5) Seek Inspiration
It can be helpful to remind ourselves of why we’re doing this in this in the first place. Sit and quickly jot down the top 5 reasons you work out. Then write down the top 5 ways you’ve progressed since you started your current workout plan. Or, read a few success stories of women who’ve reached their goals (we’ve got some great SuXXess Stories on our Athlean-XX website). Then turn on some high-energy music while you change into your workout clothes and GO!
If you don’t already have one, invent a reward for yourself for logging a certain number of workouts in a certain amount of time. Some examples might be 20 workouts to a spa day. 30 days on your new exercise plan and then buy yourself a new blouse or workout tank. Being able to look into the near future to a tangible reward that is motivating to you will help you get yourself working out today. Try to choose a reward that is non-food related and that is truly a treat for YOU.
What tricks work for you when you’re low on motivation? One of the biggest motivating factors for exercise is having a routine we really enjoy. Our ladies on Team Athlean report that they really enjoy both the Athlean-XX for Women DVD and “Girl on the Go” Cards gym workouts because they are fast-paced and involve types of movement that are actually fun! It’s helpful for a lot of women to use the Athlean-XX DVDs, especially on days when they’re needing a little extra kick in the pants, for two reasons. First, there’s no thinking involved…just follow along and it’s over before you know it! Second, even though you might be doing the workout on your own, you feel like you’re doing it with Olga and Brittany who are NOT ultra-fit muscle women, but rather two gals learning the program just like you! Join Team Athlean today and become part of our community!