It happens to the best of us – you work out so hard or so long, and then one day – you just lose your “mojo”. And you don’t feeling like running or walking or heading off to the gym.
Or you were never really into working out in the first place, so you keep starting … and stopping … and starting … and stopping …
Been there done that many times!
Of course, the best cure for the fitness blues is prevention – schedule regular breaks, or mix up your routine every few months. And that will help keep you from “hitting the wall” in the first place.
But we’re all human. So don’t be too hard on yourself when the “workout blahs” happen to you!
If the worst thing that happens is you just have no interest in working out – well, consider yourself lucky. Because it could be worse – you could develop an injury, like a pulled muscle that won’t heal, a chronic overuse injury like tendonitis, or even worse, a stress fracture!
I developed tendonitis in my knees in my early 20’s, and let me tell you – it was miserable! First one knee. Then the other. I did all the things they tell you to do – ice, rest, stretching, anti-inflammatory pills. And none of them really worked. Over time it got better. And fortunately for me it healed and never came back.
So if you’re just getting to the point of burnout – or even if you’re well beyond that point – there are some ways to get your mind … and your body … back into the fitness groove!
Here are 6 simple ways to get your butt moving again even if you’re burnt out, exhausted, or completely unmotivated!
1) Take one week completely off
There is no substitute for rest. And I’m not just talking about your body. Your mind needs rest too. If a week isn’t long enough, take 2 weeks off. Or longer if you’re dealing with a nasty injury. You can still walk or do really light exercise if you need to. But rest is a very, very powerful healing strategy!
I remember reading an article a few years ago. I don’t remember where I read it or I would share it. But the author said that it’s not just your muscles that need rest – it’s your entire body! Your digestive system, your hormones, your nervous system. All need reset. Before reading this article, I never gave that much thought. But now I do. And so should you!
Here’s a great quote from Anne at FannetasticFood.com that sums it up well:
“If you normally do love getting in a sweat, but wake up one day feeling as if a trip to the dentist’s office sounds better than going to the gym, then take that as a sign that you need a break for the day. Guilt-free.”
2) Do a challenge
Just last month I was really feeling down about my workouts. Everything I tried felt like hard, miserable work. And of course, my performance “sucked eggs” if you know what I mean. So I decided to do something completely different – the 100 pushup challenge.
I hate to admit this, but I didn’t quite finish. But I’m still working towards 100 pushups in a row. For me, just doing this challenge for 3 weeks completely changed my “workout spirit”. That’s the beauty of a fitness challenge – it’s quick, fun, and gets you excited! And now I’m feeling much more motivated (think how excited I would be if I actually FINISHED the challenge!)
3) Run one mile
If you’re a runner (or even if you’re not!) and the thought of doing a 3 or 5 mile run (or longer) makes you feel … like grabbing a bag of potato chips, jumping on the couch, and watching old movies … I hear ya! When you run (especially when you’re training for a race) there’s this feeling like you just have to keep running farther, and farther, and farther – and that becomes the ultimate measure of your running life!
Sounds familiar? Then it’s definitely time to dial back – and run 1 mile. Not several reps of 1 mile. Not 1 mile, then just a bit little further. Nope. Run just 1 mile. Then stop, and call it a day. If you’re really competitive, run the 1 mile as fast as you can. If not, run for fun. But stop after 1 mile. And go inside because your workout is over. Do this 2-3 times for one week. And most likely you’ll fall back in love with running (because the real joy of running isn’t running far or fast, it’s just running – and running 1 mile will do your mind & body good!)
Mark from MarksDailyApple.com has run a lot farther than 1 mile in his running career. But he has a really great perspective on why a mile run is a great choice:
“If you want to push yourself hard in a marathon, you need to train for it. You need to devote your life to it. If you want to push yourself hard in a single mile run, you just need to do it.”
For people who work out a lot, walking seems like a way to relax, not a form of exercise. Wrong!!! Walking is one of the best exercises you can do. Of course, if you’re training for a marathon, walking won’t get you in shape for a competition like that. But as a change of pace, walking is awesome for both your body and your mind.
If you’re so hardcore that you need a break, but don’t want to take one, walking is a great choice. It’s good for your back. It gets the blood flowing to sore and tired leg muscles. It doesn’t put a lot of stress on your body. Plus it’s just a nice change of pace. Instead of taking a whole week off, walk instead. Enjoy the scenery. Walk with a friend. And at the end of the week, consider adding a day of walking each week to your workout routine!
5) Do A Bodyweight Workout
If going to the gym is becoming a drag, try a bodyweight workout. You’ll work your muscles entirely differently, and you’ll do it in a new environment – you do it in your basement, family room, in front of the TV, wherever you feel comfortable! And you can get really creative. Just drop & do 10-20 pushups 5x a day – at home, at work, out in the yard, while taking a walk – wherever you are can become your workout area. Or here’s a more structured way to do a complete body workout without any weights:
- First, do three sets of pushups – one set normal, one set really wide, and one set really narrow.
- Second, do three sets of squats – one set regular squats with your arms out front, one set where you jump a few inches into the air, and one set of lunges for each leg.
- Third, do three sets of core exercises – one set of crunches, one set of front planks, and one set of bridges.
Simple & effective. And it should take you less than 30 minutes!
6) Set a new goal
If you’re bored with your current workout routine – or if you don’t even have a workout routine – then now is a great time for a change! But rather than changing your fitness plan, an even better option is to change your goal. If you don’t have a goal, then set one. Either way, you’ll feel a rush of energy. Here’s an example: if your goal is to lose 10 pounds, change things up entirely. Don’t focus on the weight loss any more – focus instead on the activities that will help you lose weight.
Here are a few simple ways to change your goal completely, and make it more fun!
- Let’s say you do your cardio by running on a treadmill, riding a stationary bike, or using the elliptical machine. Instead of doing the same 20 or 30 minutes every day, set a goal to do it for a time period that’s longer than you exercise now (if you normally do 20 minutes, set your goal for 40 minutes).
- Or if you track your workout by distance, set your goal for a longer distance (if you normally do 3 miles, set your goal for 6 miles).
- Or set your goal as a a faster time (if you normally do 3 miles on the treadmill in 40 minutes, set your goal for 3 miles in 30 minutes).
Just add a few minutes or a few tenths of a mile each workout, or do your work out a little faster. And give yourself 6 weeks or 8 weeks or 10 weeks to reach your goal.
Why do you work out? And why is it important to know? Pete from PeteMcCallFitness.com has a great answer:
“If you don’t have a purpose for what you’re doing or why you’re doing it then it can be hard to make the time for exercise. If you find yourself stuck in a constant cycle of starting and stopping exercise programs then you may need to take a step back and, as motivational speaker Tony Robbins suggests, ‘Find YOUR why!’ “
There’s no right or wrong way on how to change your goals – just step a little outside your comfort zone and you’ll be energized (both physically & mentally) like never before!
So, how are you going to break out of your slump? Share your thoughts in the comments below:
- A fun new way to get into GREAT shape
- NO equipment & NO gym required
- 30 fun & different exercises -- any time & any place!
- A fun new way to get into
- NO equipment & NO gym needed
- 30 fun & different exercises to do any time & any place!