What To Do When You Don’t Feel Like Exercising

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This definitely looks like a day when she’s not in the mood to exercise.

People have different feelings about exercise. Some people love it, for the most part, like I do. Some people enjoy parts of it, push themselves through the tough bits, and appreciate the good things it does for them. Other people do exercise only grudgingly (and rarely) and because they know they “should” do it and want to be either healthy or slimmer.

I’m going to assume that you’re in one of the first two categories.

You appreciate exercise, and most of the time you’re reasonably happy to have that “me time” that makes you feel energetic and strong.

Even if you know it’s good for you, and enjoy it most of the time, there will be days when exercise just doesn’t feel like the way you want to spend your time (and energy). I’ll admit I have that feeling too sometimes.

Ok, generally at least one of my workouts (of the six I currently do each week), doesn’t start with the type of enthusiasm that I would like.

There are times when I just don’t feel like exercising.

GASP! Horror!

Believe it.

When you work out regularly, there are going to be times when you just don’t feel like it. And if you’ve been in this game for a while, you probably realize that being able to push yourself to workout when you don’t have 100% enthusiasm is the key to keeping your results coming.

Heck, if we waited to have overwhelming passion and excitement about going to the gym every time then most of us would NEVER get there.

Most of the time we need to coerce or cajole ourselves to go to the gym. Then we need to keep pushing ourselves once we get there.

There are a few things that can happen when you don’t feel like exercising, but do it anyway:

1) You end up having a great workout.

2) You end up having a crappy or average workout.

3) You stop partway through the workout session and give up.

I’ve been through all of those scenarios.

Almost all the time, I’ve been happy that I’ve at least given the workout a shot (1% of the time I wish I hadn’t wasted time changing into my gym clothes!).

It’s important to know yourself. Talk to yourself, and ask:

“Am I really tired/sick, or am I just being lazy?”

don't-feel-like-exercising“Hmmm, should I get up or not?”

Maybe you’re had a rough week, not enough sleep, your throat has started to get scratchy, and you can barely keep your eyes open at your desk. It might be best to go home after work and have an early night.

DO NOT lie on the couch with a bag of potato chips and binge watch “Game of Thrones” until 2am.

That’s not going to make you feel like hitting the gym tomorrow.

Most of the time, if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll know what your body is feeling.

Maybe your body is telling you that you need a rest from the gym, physically and mentally.

That’s fine. Take a rest.

Make a plan to work out tomorrow, or later in the week.

Maybe you’re just feeling like a slacker and aren’t motivated. Sometimes you just need to get some caffeine in your system (organic coffee or tea, ideally!) and force yourself to have some enthusiasm.

Figure out which one it is. And if you’re really not sure, head to the gym and give it an effort. It might turn out better than you expected.

Ivana Chapman

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Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman BSc BA CSCS is a Canadian fitness and nutrition coach, happy wife, and mom to an energetic 6-year-old boy. She is a writer, published fitness model, speaker, 3rd Dan black belt in Shotokan Karate, former World Cup Karate Champion, one-time marathoner, and CBBF National level Natural Bikini competitor. She loves weight training and chocolate, not always in that order of preference.
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