Despite my passion for fitness, it's not uncommon for me to grow gloriously unmotivated to get up early and put on those muddy shoes for my morning run. And I often find myself unable to imagine schlepping to the Pilates studio for that class I know I’ll enjoy, but …
I JUST DON’T WANT TO GO!
All of us, no matter how disciplined we are, experience periods of staunch ambivalence toward our commitment to consistent exercise, and sometimes we just need a doggone break.
If this happens to you, then read on for some simple yet effective strategies to once again get your body moving, your blood flowing and your heart back in the game.
1. Switch it up.
If you have an exercise form from which you rarely stray, maybe it’s time to see if the grass is greener. You may believe that you're a true blue yogi, but if you can’t seem to get on the mat these days, perhaps you need a new tune for your body to sing.
So fold up the mat and fill up your bike’s tires. Put away the yoga block and pick up some boxing gloves. Trade the Savasana for some good old-fashioned squats. Explore the unfamiliar without judgment and with a beginner’s mind, and see if what used to be physically dissonant now feels like perfect harmony. The mat will always be there when you’re ready to zero back in on the Zen.
2. Grab a friend.
If you can’t keep your workout promises to yourself, enlist a partner-in-crime to steal you off the couch. Ask a loved one, friend or sibling to sign up for a structured six-week program with you.
Commit to meeting your comrade at the base of the running trail three times this week. Plan a luxury weekend you two can enjoy as a reward for sticking to the routine and reaching your goals. Encouragement, support and camaraderie go a long way when it comes to renewing your commitment to your health, so find that fitness friend you can really rely on.
3. Enlist the help of a professional.
Whenever I’m “phoning it in” at the gym, I hire a trainer to give me the boost I need to transcend my physical and mental plateau. A good trainer can observe poor body habits and help correct your form so you access parts of your body you're not readily accustomed to using.
This isn't only physically beneficial — it also stimulates your brain so you're more excited by and invested in the workout.
A trainer can also provide encouragement and tough love in the right doses, so you're pushed to your limit but not over it. We rarely have the self-motivation to walk the razor’s edge, but a good instructor will know how to take us there so our body changes and our self-confidence grows with each lift, each squat, each curl.
4. Take a break.
If you just can’t conjure up the motivation to exercise, no matter how disciplined you’ve been historically and how deeply you understand the benefits, then maybe you really do need a break.
Perhaps you’ve overtrained and feel burned out or maybe new interests are simply steering you in a different direction. If instinct is telling you that you need a few weeks off, take them without guilt! Spend those free hours doing something meaningful, like spending time with family, starting a project you’ve been putting off or volunteering for a charitable organization in your area.
Enjoy the downtime and allow the body, mind and soul to recover. Then, after a few weeks, reinvest in your fitness regimen. Your muscles may be a little softer upon your return, but your fresh attitude, enthusiasm and work ethic will surely make up for it!