We have all been there – we begin to find our workouts boring and we skip a workout one day because we just couldn’t find the time. The next day “something came up” and we miss another one, the day after that we just don’t feel like it and the next day you find yourself making an excuse like “but I don’t have my favourite workout trousers washed”. Soon you find yourself skipping workouts and having no motivation to start again.
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Perhaps you are not skipping your workouts, but every single one of them feels like a chore and you are not enjoying them at all. You have found yourself in an exercise rut and that is a slippery slope into skipping your workouts. Finding motivation is pretty easy, we can all probably think of at least 5 reasons why we want to make a healthy change, but acting on that motivation is more difficult.
It is said that it takes 21 days to create a new habit, although that is going to be different for everyone, so in the beginning, don’t focus too much on your long term goals, but focus on getting through each workout and doing what you can to break through a rut.
I have definitely been there, but I realised it was just a rut quickly enough to pull myself out of it. If you feel like this is happening to you, or if it already has happened and you need to get yourself back into a routine, try some of the following things that always work for me:
– Change your music:
If you don’t workout to music, then I suggest you do – it totally transforms my workout. If you do listen to music, and you have been listening to the same playlist for a while, then it might be time to change things up a bit. The right music can motivate you and fill you with energy. The tempo is important too, I mean, I wouldn’t run to Coldplay. Also, if there is a really motivational song you love, listen to it towards the end of your run, or when you are on your last reps. It might be just what you need to get through.
– Get a fitness tracker:
There are loads of great fitness watches and apps out there that track your workouts and log your distance, speed, calories burned and will also set goals for you and keep track of your progress. Seeing all of that written down can be really motivational, especially when you can compete with yourself.
This one is so important for many reasons, like not burning yourself out and giving your muscles time to repair, but it is also important so it doesn’t become the only part of your life and you start getting bored of it. Having 1 or 2 days off a week to do other things means that you are ready for your workout again the next day.
– Make the most of your time:
Sometimes you can spend 60 minutes being really unproductive in the gym, whereas you could have spent half the time and been much more productive. Combining moves is a great way to cut down on your workout time and a squat and press it a good way to do that.
– Get a workout buddy:
I know this isn’t for everyone, and a lot of people like to workout alone, but I personally feel more motivated when working out with someone else. I think it is important to find someone with the same ability as you, so you are not holding each other back, but even if you can’t find someone with the same ability as you, just having someone to walk in and out with can be motivating enough. Once you schedule your workouts together, it is also harder to back out of them compared to if you went alone.
– Get out of the gym:
I often find that just taking my workouts outside of the gym is enough for me to re-motivate myself. Go to a local park and do sprint intervals and some squats and lunges. Use the kids climbing frame to do pull-ups. The fresh air and change of scenery can do wonders!
– Get a trainer:
Getting someone on board that can show you how to use machines properly and show you correct form for certain moves can really boost your motivation and make you feel more in control of your workouts.
– Get enough sleep:
I am not suggesting that everyone should be waking up at 6am full of energy and eager to workout, but the more sleep you are getting, the easier it will be for you to workout. I know it is difficult with busy family life, but get as much as you can.
– Picture your progress:
I find making a vision board is really good for this and it keeps me motivated.
– Find something you enjoy:
This might sound like an obvious one, but it really isn’t. The amount of people out there that are forcing themselves to run, despite hating it, and then just end up quitting, is shocking. If you don’t like running, then don’t do it. Of course you need to give it a chance and give it more than a week, but if it just isn’t for you, there are loads of other great workouts out there. If you find something you enjoy, then you are much more likely to stick to it. Dancing is a really fun workout, I always suggest people try a dance class. Don’t worry about not having co-ordination. I dance like no-one is watching.
– Look at what you are eating:
It can be really frustrating to be putting in lots of effort at the gym and not seeing any results, and that is when we start to lose motivation and skip workouts. When you are not seeing any results, it is usually because of what you are eating, not what you are or are not doing in the gym. Make sure you are eating enough, but not more than you need, and you are eating the right things to support your activities.
What are your tips for breaking through an exercise rut and staying motivated?