How To Exercise When You Don’t Want To

Exercising and working out isn’t always the easiest thing to do, or what we actually want to do at times. Even for the most regimented die-hard fitness fanatic there will always be occasions when you just don’t want to put yourself through it.

Yes, if you’re in need of a well-earned rest or have some kind of injury you probably shouldn’t workout but I’m talking about the times when it’s mentally tough and you know you can and should be doing it to maintain your consistency. You may have the energy and deep down inside you want to, but you would rather just click your fingers and it be over and done with.

It could be said that those feelings are enough to justify a break and sometimes that’s very true and this can also be beneficial mentally; It can also be your body’s way of telling you to take it easy.

Below is a list of ways of how to exercise when you don’t want to, to help you push past that barrier and get that workout in no matter what! And let’s be honest, there are more difficult things in life.


Are You Weight Training?

Are You Weight Training

Many people don’t weight train until they lose weight because they think cardiovascular workouts alone may burn calories faster, but depending on how intensely you work out with weights, can result in your metabolism staying elevated for as long as 12 to 48 hours or even more afterwards.

The majority of people would benefit from weight training before they even start any other type of exercise program as it will result in them being less prone to injury. Weight training develops overall strength making your body better equipped for cardiovascular challenges. Keep the heart rate elevated during training and in doing so add a cardiovascular element and burn more calories.

Weightlifting will not mean you’re going to become musclebound either, which is a false and common misconception. For that to happen on truly significant level you have to be in a calorie surplus; eating more than you’re total daily energy expenditure or TDEE. So why not substitute some mundane cardio sessions for pumping iron and add variety to your program and improve you’re cardiovascular ability.


Alter Your Workout

Make things more interesting and change the intensity, frequency, or exercises within your workout once a month. Up the weight and do fewer reps or lower the weight and do more reps for a week or so.

Time For A Change

Replace exercises for variations like using dumbbells in place of barbells or use a machine or cable to do a similar version of an exercise. Do a bodyweight routine now and then. You’ll feel the difference.

Try a harder class, add one more walk a week, or pause your exercise DVD and do some extra minutes of an exercise that targets an area you want to improve, or rent exercise DVD’s from the library, regularly changing them and you’re routine as a result. These changes will challenge your muscles to keep guessing and learning making them burn more calories.


Create An Exercise Routine For Every Mood

Create Routines For Every Mood

Your mood could be determining whether to go to the gym or exercise at all. Instead of not bothering, arm yourself with different routines offering different challenges and difficulties to choose from depending on how you feel.

The point being is by doing something and not missing a session, you can pat yourself on the back afterwards for not, not bothering.

Even if it’s only walk or a moderately difficult bike ride you’ll have maintained consistency and not given up.


Time Of Day

Pick a time of day to exercise at that works best for you. We’re all different and prefer different types of exercise and with that, exercising at different times of day. Perhaps you like a strict routine and you’ll workout at the same time each day or maybe you like to keep things varied and surprise your body with different workout times.

What Time To Exercise

Personally I find exercising in the morning, be it early of approaching midday is what works best for me, but I can and often workout at all times of the day, this can be good in terms of difficulty for example in the evening but you need to make sure you’re well-fed during the day and have enough energy for the latter.

Being too tired to exercise will result in low effort and performance and could lead to injury, so choose the time that’s best for you.


My Exercise Program Isn’t Working!

Feeling frustrated that you workout program isn’t getting you the result you want? Feeling like you want to give up? Maybe this always happens and you feel like you’re back in the same situation again so what’s the point in going to the gym?

My Routine's Not Working

Now is the time to be honest with yourself and ask; Am I being consistent? Am I actually following the program and putting in the effort? Am I eating correctly and am I sleeping enough? Oh and am I being CONSISTENT?

Consistency in all these things is the key which will unlock the results you want. The majority of programs will produce the desired results so be honest with yourself and follow the program. Give it the time and chance to do it’s work.

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I’m Injured

Are You Injured

I’m talking about a genuine lingering injury or long term impingement.

This can be s legitimate reason to miss workouts even if you don’t want to so simply see a doctor, assuming this is something you may have been avoiding doing because you believe the problem will just pass or that nothing can be done about it.

A quick trip to the Dr. could result in discovering the answer to the problem or the beginning of understanding and resolving it which may change you’re whole outlook on your exercise routine for the better, so miss a workout and instead book an appointment.


Have You Reached Your Weight or Workout Goal?

What Comes After Achieving Your Goal

Excited having achieved your weight loss or workout goal, you may have quickly set yourself a more ambitious target that is proving to be more difficult.

Ask yourself if you really need to keep losing or training harder, because now you are in fact where you wanted to be those months back when you started.

Maintaining a comfortable weight or being on a plateau and enjoying your accomplishments if actually find, so enjoy a workout that is manageable.


Get A Personal Trainer

Get A Personal Trainer

A personal trainer can finely hone your workout or provide you with an improved one or a variety. This could get you results you’ve been lacking. You’ll be paying for it but it’ll be without wasted time and effort on your part thinking up of new ideas.

Get an expert to provide you with a fresh set of challenging routines to look forward to and show you how they should be performed. Then schedule follow-up visits as few times a year which will also give you goals to strive for. A bit of gentle pressure could make all the difference.


Put Your Exercise Gear On

If you have the tiniest amount of effort in you, but truly don’t feel like you can’t get out the door, just put on your workout clothes. Even if you stay in the house, the clothes will give you an increased range of motion, so, if you have some chores to do you’ll probably put more energy into them.

Get Your Fitness Gear On

However, think baby steps. You’ve gone to the small effort of putting on your gear so why not go a little further and do a small workout, or go for a brisk walk.

You’ll likely think it’s not worth doing anything for 5 minutes, but even 5 minutes of HIIT is beneficial! Or opt for 15-10 minutes of activity, and before you know it, it’ll be done and you can feel the sense of accomplishment.

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Are You Eating Breakfast?

Your busy morning routine causing you to skip the most vital meal of the day could be preventing you from having the energy you need to regularly complete lunchtime trips to the gym or even stop you wanting to go all together.

Have A Healthy Breakfast

Further more not eating breakfast can easily result in you craving the wrong types of food by mid-morning or lunch and affecting your energy levels through the day leaving you feeling as if you can’t face you’re after work session.

Prepare a tasty breakfast like morning oats the night before to wake up to and set yourself up for the day and your workout properly by getting the right type of fuel in your body to feel satisfied and prevent bad food choices during the day.

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Stay Hydrated

Stay Hydrated

Dehydration will seriously affect your energy levels. Research has shown that even when eight glasses of water a day are drank, just 45 minutes of exercise can put a person into a dehydrated state.

You should not rely on thirst as a measure of hydration either. Health authorities recommend the average adult consume approximately 2 liters of water a day.

Sip water every 15 to 20 minutes while you work out or as required and I’d also say through the day or have regular drinks, especially if you’re exercising regularly.

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Are You Getting Enough Iron?

Iron is a mineral that helps convert food in to energy. It’s essential in keeping energy levels within the body high. But dieting, avoiding meat, and for women having heavy menstrual periods can put you at risk of low iron levels so make sure you’re diet includes 18 mg of iron every day.

Spinach Leaves

Get this from lean meats or legumes, leafy greens, and whole grains. Don’t forget citrus fruit and other juice with vitamin C, which improves iron absorption from plant foods.

Recommended average daily iron intake sourced from food and supplements are as follows; 13.7–15.1 mg/day for children aged 2–11 years, 16.3 mg/day for children and teens aged 12–19 years, and 19.3–20.5 mg/day for men and 17.0–18.9 mg/day for women older than 19. The median dietary iron intake for pregnant women is 14.7 mg/day.


Eat Healthy Snacks

Tuna Salad Sandwich

When you run low on fuel, the extra energy you body demands because of exercise lead your body to decide it’s being overworked needs to conserve fuel by slowing down the metabolism.

That’s the last thing you want, so have a protein and complex carbohydrate snack such as a hard-boiled egg and a slice of whole wheat toast, 2 hours before you plan to work out. This will keep you burning calories and also provide your body with the energy and protein to tackle that workout you were contemplating avoiding.


Are You Getting Enough Good Sleep?

Bad Sleep

Sleep not only gives you energy, but it also protects your body’s muscle-building and fat-burning efficiency. When sleeping sleep our body re-builds any ‘damage’ caused to muscle fibers during exercise.

This is the time you will make those gains in whatever it may be; strength, size, endurance, weight loss etc.

Think of sleep as the gateway to consistency. If you are’t getting enough sleep before a workout it’s always going to be tougher than it needs to be and you won’t be able to give it your best.

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Make Music Playlist

Listening to music has a dramatic effect on they way people exercise if used correctly.

Make Music Playlist

Choosing the right music to listen to while exercising will distract you from fatigue, aid coordination, and relax your muscles to maximise blood flow. Possibly the most important factor music can provide is motivation.

It may not be the combination of tunes you’d listen to at any opportunity but music choices that when listened to sound that good they get you energised, focused, determined and feeling positive will in my opinion do you no end of good in the gym and can quite easily allow you to push your limits. Music alone can turn a difficult workout in to an enjoyable one.


Exercise With A Friend

Exercising with a friend or partner can be extremely beneficial because it will add other motivational dynamics to your fitness routine.

Exercise With A Friend

These could be a sense of responsibility to work as team and not to let your partner down by missing workouts, a sense of competition to maintain the same level of fitness or better your partner; missing workouts is definitely not going to help you with this. Mutual encouragement for each other and the feeling of having gone through the same endeavors together to achieve the same goal.

Arranging workouts with a friend who’s fitness levels and goals match you’re own will help to cancel out motivational lulls and research shows having as dedicated a partner as yourself will make you more likely continue and complete an exercise program.


Conclusion

So hopefully these tips and techniques will go some way to helping you overcome those workout woes we all have from time to time. Maybe you’re already aware of how to trick yourself in to not giving up but this has given you a few ideas.

Personally sleep and energy levels are the ones that can have the biggest impact on me, so if you feel the same, remember to be consistent with your sleep and eating and this should make a world of difference.

If you have any ideas yourself about how to workout when you don’t want to why not share it in the comments section below, I’d love to hear it.

8 thoughts on “How To Exercise When You Don’t Want To

  1. Great post, lots of very useful content in terms of tips and suggestions. This morning I definitely didn’t want to work out but I sucked it up and did it anyways and as usual, at the end was glad I did it. I generally tend to literally make myself do it when I can tell it’s mostly a mood/attitude issue rather than a genuine issue. From your list, my biggest takeaway is choosing a workout for every mood so I really don’t have any excuse. So even if it’s 10 pushups, I’m at least still moving and doing exercise. In your case, how do you correct when your energy and sleep levels are low?

    1. Hello, I’m really pleased you enjoyed the post and found some tips to take away. Yes even if you just do some push-ups you have at least done something. Creating the habit of exercise is crucial if you intend to exercise regularly and when you have the habit it takes away a lot of the ‘I don’t feel like it’ feeling.

      When my energy levels are low I check what I’m eating and the calories i’m burning. I use a food and calorie tracker without which I’d be lost so I recommend using one, even if you’re not in to fitness.

      Sleep is easier said than done for me as I’m always wanting to get something (not exercise!) done, even if it’s watching something i’m interested on TV. I have to try to prioritise sleep. Thank you for your comment.

  2. I found this article to be quite informative, and for me personally very motivating! “In my mind” for months I have resumed my exercise regimen…when in actuality, I haven’t :(. There always seems to be some reason as to why I never get started…as you so strategically outlined in your article :). This article has given me the motivation that I needed to take “baby steps” and get recommitted to exercise. Thank you for taking the time to write this article!

    1. Hello and thank you for reading my post. I very glad you found it motivating enough to hopefully give you the push to exercise a regularly as you would like to. Yes, start of really easy and create a habit of doing it.

      Train your mind to think that exercise is just another little part of your daily routine and it’s not that difficult and over time you’ll naturally increase the level of difficulty.

  3. My biggest issue is life getting in the way. I will be like “well I have to do this today so maybe I will skip the exercise”. I think that is just a way to rationalize it so I don’t feel guilty. I will try the tips you suggest. I like the idea of putting the clothes on, then making a healthy breakfast to psyche myself up for it. Get me in the mind frame that I need, before I make the excuses to myself.

    1. Hello and thank you for posting such an honest comment. I’d say it’s very common for us all to make excuses not to exercise. Sometimes we just can’t because of other things but a good thing is to try to do something fitness related on the day you planned to exercise on, even if this is just for 10-15 minutes of your time to create a habit.

      Create the habit by starting off being able to easily include it in your day so it doesn’t affect your other plans and if at times you don’t want to do it, it’s only taking a tiny amount of time to complete and try to maintain this. This will hopefully be something you’ll feel happy with yourself about and over time you can more easily increase the time you devote to it.

      You have to make the time available. Your intention is there already so create the habit. I hope the tips work well for you.

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