After eating a candy bar on a stressful day, I usually think to myself, "Well, I’m spending the night at the gym."
But guess what — it rarely happens. By the time I’m out of work, I want to take a nap, which turns into hours of sleep until work the next morning.
If you’re in a similar boat and feel my pain, I’ve got some suggestions from experts on how to get out of this slump:
1) It's not about finding the source, it's about creating momentum, according to Perpetua Neo, a psychotherapist. When you’re beginning the process of working out again, at first just work out on the days you feel like exercising. Track your behavior and feelings to understand why you may or may not want to exercise, then work around that.
2) Get the ball rolling by breaking your workout down into three simple steps. The plan to exercise may start as a complicated jumble of thoughts, but in order for concrete plans to happen, it’s beneficial to write down your individual three steps, Neo said.
For example, the plan could be to buy shoes, ask a friend where they work out and join that gym. Then decide on what type of class you’re going to take, including time and place.
3) Have a discussion with yourself about what would be your worst fears and your greatest rewards. Figure out the worst end result of not working out, and use that fear as fuel to get yourself back on track, according to Neo. You can also picture the end result of sticking to a consistent workout plan, and use that image of a healthier body as your reward.
4) Make sure that you’re reminded of your goals every day. For example, you can write them out, or print them out, and post them on the walls or your door — anywhere you can see them, Neo said. If you decide to tell everyone and even go to the extent of tattooing your goals, you may have more motivation to stick to those goals, now that they’re clearly out in the open.
5) Make your exercise program simple. For example, Neo said she puts one kettlebell upstairs and one downstairs so she sees them all the time. This reminds her to do a set of 70 swings three times a week.
6) Plan ahead. The night prior to working out, make sure to set out your workout clothes and running shoes near the end of your bed, Neo said. Also put your alarm clock far enough away so you will have to get up and move past your workout clothes to turn it off.
7) Use breaks throughout your day for additional quick workouts. You don’t have to change your clothes, head to the gym, do a specific workout routine and then change back into regular clothes, according to Lisa Nordquist. Just use a few 10-minute breaks during the day to walk and do planks and squats. Nordquist is an ACE certified personal trainer and licensed CORE Dynamics personal coach.
8) Stop thinking of exercise as a formal routine. Any time you move you’re technically exercising, Nordquist said. You can turn your life into a workout — you don’t have to always go to the gym to get in a good workout. For example, you can walk a dog, run around with a child, clean or garden. Start opening your mind up to different forms of exercise. Find the option that you enjoy the most, and continue to do it.
9) Try one of the following quick tips from Kristin McGee, a yoga and Pilates instructor who works with Acacia TV. Get a new workout outfit, or hang up pictures of yourself at your best shape for motivation. Buy a pass to a new workout class, meet up with a friend to work out, and put up notes with positive workout messages throughout your home.
10) Take baby steps — it takes time to get back into shape. Once you feel the switch of motivation flip on in your brain, you may want to initially overdo your workouts in the beginning, said Kim Evans, a fitness specialist. However, take a step back and realize that you can’t overdo it in the beginning.
For example, if you’re just getting back into shape and decide to take a Zumba class, then hop on the treadmill, and then lift weights, you may have issues walking and moving for a few weeks. Instead, ease into your workout routine.
Neo, Perpetua. Email interview. September 22, 2015.
Nordquist, Lisa. Email interview. September 24, 2015.
McGee, Kristin. Email interview. September 22, 2015.
Evans, Kim. Email interview. September 22, 2015.
Reviewed October 15, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith