Sometimes a girl just wants a 100 layer donut, you know?
Total honesty moment: there are a lot of days that I don’t feel like working out (*cue the gasps of shock and horror*). There seems to be a myth out there that personal trainers are always amped to hit the gym and eat stalks of broccoli all day and, while I’m sure there are those trainers out there, I’m not one of them. I love to train and eat healthy foods that make me feel good, but I am also managing a couple of autoimmune disorders, running a business, and dealing with the same life stresses as most people. All that to say, some days working out feels impossible and in the past I would really let that get to me. I would put big expectations on every workout: If it wasn’t an hour, it didn’t count. If I wasn’t sore the next day? Didn’t count. I could go on and on, but that mindset was setting me up for failure. Do you find yourself in the same boat? Well listen up because this post is for you.
The first thing I did to stop beating myself up and start enjoying my workouts again was to shift my most basic fitness philosophy. This new approach to training has fundamentally changed my mindset and has let to more, and better, workouts than I ever used to have. Here it is: Any workout is a good workout. And I mean any workout. Went for a 10 minute walk? Did some stretching while watching tv? Did 10 squats? Awesome! Those are all good workouts. Once I stopped putting expectations on what workouts are worthwhile, it took all of the stress out of exercise. You never have to beat yourself up for not doing enough–just do something. When I am going through a period of low motivation, the thing that keeps me going and gets me out of my rut fastest is letting myself do as much or as little as I want when I get to the gym. And this leads me to my next point…
Just get to the gym. I want you to make a deal with yourself. If your goal is to lift weights 3 days a week and you find yourself with absolutely no motivation to go to the gym one of those days, tell yourself that all you have to do is walk in the door. That’s it. If you get yourself inside they gym and still find the idea of a workout to be miserable then you have my full permission to turn around and head back home. I really mean this. I have literally done this. I know it sounds weird, but if you give yourself that permission, more often than not you’ll decide that you should at least do something since you’re already there. That “something” might be 10 minutes on a treadmill or it might turn into a 2 hour lifting session, that’s up to you and your body. The secret is to really give yourself the option to leave at any time. That option is freeing and, instead of sitting at home feeling guilty about not getting your 3 workouts in for the week, you can be proud that you at least got off the couch and gave it a shot. When you take control of your workouts and don’t let thoughts of what you are “supposed to” be doing get in the way of what is realistic on a certain day, you feel stronger, your mindset will shift, and you might find that you stop thinking of the gym as such a chore.
The last thing I want is for fitness to be something you dread and forcing yourself into long, intense workouts when you really aren’t up for them is going to end badly. This post isn’t a hall pass to stop working out because you never feel like it. You need to be staying active to feel your best and be healthy. Rather, this is a strategy for when you are close to burnout or for those of us who struggle with some negative self-talk when it comes to our abilities. Be kind to yourself and give yourself the option to slow down, but on the days you have energy I want you getting SWEATY. Push yourself when you can and rest when you need to. Listen to your body and find the balance that works best for you. You are capable of great things, you just need to give yourself the benefit of the doubt, back off when your body tells you to, and give it your all when you can.