Ah, the dreaded workout. Maybe it’s been going well the past week, month or even year because you’ve managed to get to the gym or get outside for your daily workout.
It was going well, until… it wasn’t. Eventually, everyone hits a wall. That’s normal and it’s part of human physiology.
When we feel unmotivated to workout, it means something within us needs to be looked at. Whether you’re overweight and just starting a movement routine or whether you’re a five time marathon runner, we need to consistently check in with our bodies and make sure our routine works.
We need to get real about why we feel unmotivated. Pushing through is not always the best option because when we ignore our feelings, we let the root issue fester and rot until we have no choice but to have a full out breakdown, or worse— just quit exercise all together!
Creating a movement routine that works with your body’s abilities is essential. As humans we need to move every day. How you move, well… that’s up to you!
My 5-Step Process to Motivate
1. Check in with your body. Start by closing your eyes, sitting or laying down and noticing if there is any discomfort. For example, you may feel a pull in your heart or a pain in your knee. Zoom in on whatever body part(s) are speaking to you, and listen to them. Ask the body part(s) the following question, “what can I do to motivate you to workout?” And then allow the answer to come. There are no right or wrong answers in this exercise. When the answer comes, take it seriously. The knee might say, you are running too hard or the heart may say, I feel like it’s futile because we will never get results.
2. Reset your goals. There is an infinite amount of possibilities for why you have lost motivation. It is so important to listen to your body and to honor its feelings. Based off the answer(s) you get from step one, you need to alter, revise or reset your goals going into the workout. Often, our high expectations sabotage our success. If your head is telling you that you’re too lethargic or tired, the focus of this workout should shift away from intensity and towards restorative movement. A yin yoga session, a leisurely nature trail walk or a soft elliptical session while watching your favorite TV show might be the best answer.
3. Drink some water. I know, this sounds so typical of a health coach, but I really mean it. Often, dehydration will cause us to feel sluggish, lethargic or hungry when the time comes to workout. Your hormones will be sending signals for you to rest and eat, but if you just introduced some water into your system, you can reset your hormones. So, find your favorite glass, pour some high quality water (I love spring water) and sip on it slowly until it’s finished. Set the goal to finish the glass and then wait five minutes. You should start to feel better.
4. Take some deep, restorative breaths. Just like the lack of water causes sluggishness, the lack of oxygen to your cells makes you super tired and unmotivated. I recommend going outside (even if it’s cold) and taking several deep inhalations and exhalations. I like breathing in for ten seconds, holding for five, and exhaling for fifteen seconds. Do this several times until you start to feel present in the moment or a little light headed. The light headedness is a signal it’s time to stop and sit down for a second and resume your normal breathing. After doing this, wait five minutes and you will feel more awake.
5. Inspire yourself. After you have completed steps one through four, take some time to find a playlist, artist or album that inspires you or makes you feel hopeful, optimistic, or even— motivated! I love listening to electronic music or binaural beats and I start visualizing things I want to happen and I let myself feel like it’s happening. Then, on that upswing, I start my workout. Don’t limit yourself just to music! Podcasts, seminars, speeches, or even television shows can be just as inspiring and helpful for you during this step. The goal is to follow the path of your highest excitement and once you feel good— you’re going to feel naturally motivated towards your new goal.