10 things to do when you are lacking motivation in the gym

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t ever get into ruts where I lose all motivation. In fact, I think this happens to the most of us quite often. We go three days or even three months where we are on top of everything… getting stuff done, excited to go to the gym, getting a good workout in, having the energy to cook a nice healthy meal instead of eating out. And then the next moment, we are sluggish, want to lay around all day, don’t feel like being around others, you’re already way behind on your to do list for the day so the first thing that comes to mind is “skip the gym” or “there’s no food, I’ll just grab something fast… Trust me, you are not alone. There are times where I have gone weeks without being consistent, maybe making it to the gym twice a week but that’s ok. Truth is, none of us are perfect. I find myself saying I do not have time to do something but in reality, I do. It’s not that we don’t have the time for it, it is just that it is not a priority to us. So next time you say “I don’t have time” reflect back on your day and figure out how you could have squeezed in it, whether it was losing one hour of sleep, or not taking that nap, or hanging out with your friend that night, etc.

Before I get into my list of things that help motivate me get back in the gym, I wanted to say that it is ok to take a day off. Lacking motivation and simply doing what’s best for you at the moment are two completely different things. If you are going home and lying around on the couch, watching TV, or maybe playing Fortnite for an hour or more multiple times a week or month, it is simply a lack of motivation. If you have tried but feel helpless and need a day off, that is different. At the end of the day, what makes you feel best emotionally and physically, is what you should do. Also, listen to your body. I have learned the hard way that if my schedule is insane, I’m exhausted, but I still force myself to go to the gym and exceed my limit, I end up sick. Nearly every time. It’s almost like my body knows I’m tired and if I won’t give it rest, it will force me to rest by making me sick for the next week. When it comes to health, being ok mentally and making sure you are getting good rest is just as important as anything else so if you’re walking around with your battery on 5%, go home and go to bed. Then, start fresh the next day!

Here is a list of my top 10 tricks that help me back on schedule, motivated, and feeling refreshed:

1. Realizing how I feel physically and mentally
This is easily the best way to get me back on track, it never fails. The way that I feel when I am motivated, in the gym, and eating healthy is completely different than the way I feel when I’m in a rut and that for me, is motivating itself. Of course I feel different physically, but how I feel mentally is a big factor as well. I find myself extremely irritable, stressed out, self-conscious, guilty, etc. As we all know, stress is a major factor that can reduce the rate of weight loss and also aid in weight gain; therefore, simply going to the gym once a day, can help prevent these things from happening. How it affects me physically is huge as well… and it’s goes a lot further than me just feeling pudgy. Now this is a terrible feeling in general but I have noticed that my skin starts breaking out, I don’t digest foods as easily, I get major headaches, I feel extremely lazy, and more. I could think of a million benefits but most importantly, the person I am when I exercise and eat healthy is happy, confident, and energetic. I’d much rather feel like that then down and depressed and if all it takes is a few nourishing meals and at least a 30 minute workout, I’ll do it.

2. Go on Instagram and look at my favorite fitness influencers
I love to go look at some of my favorite influencers and get motivation. In fact, sometimes I will go search for the most recent workout video that they posted and do that at the gym. That way, I will not only go to the gym, but also get a good workout in. Afterwards, I feel refreshed and complete. Do that as many times as you need till you find yourself voluntarily going to the gym again.

3. Self tanner
Now, this may sound weird to you but self tanner makes me feel like a completely different person. When I first bought it I read on the front of the package “lose 5 lbs. in 5 minutes.” I stared at in blankly for a long time till I realized it doesn’t actually make you lose 5 lbs, just makes you look like you did. When I am tanner, my outfits look better, I look leaner, my skin looks better, etc. We don’t all have this issue but if you tend to be a bit pasty like I am and don’t want to roast in the sun, try it out! Two of my favorite brands are Tanceuticals and St. Moriz. Tanceuticals is more expensive but is all organic and smells like coco butter. St. Moriz is only $12, produces an amazing color that fades evenly over the days but lasts about a week and there are a lot of tans in one bottle so you get your moneys worth. Both are a lot cheaper than a membership at a tanning salon if you are on a budget or love to save money.

4. Get new workout clothes
I didn’t realize how much this helped me till I did it on accident. I went out and bought some new workout clothes that made me feel confident. Because I’m that girl that wears the same outfits all the time and doesn’t shop for herself much, I was so excited to go to the gym and wear them. Then, while I was at the gym I felt confident and unstoppable so I got a really good workout in. I’ve always been a firm believer in “look good, feel good, workout good.”

5. Writing my workout beforehand
This helps tremendously! If you aren’t having trouble getting to the gym but feel like you just can’t get a good workout in no matter what you do, try this. Writing it out beforehand helps a lot because you don’t give yourself the chance to think “what should I do next..” or “I’ll only do 6 reps, I’m tired” or “nah, I don’t feel like doing squats today, I’m going to do something that doesn’t require much energy.” Set a goal for yourself, it will motivate you to complete it vs only doing the amount of reps or sets that you “feel” like doing.

6. Take some preworkout
I don’t take preworkout all the time, so when I do, I am way more energized and focused. If I’m ever feeling tired or thinking about skipping the gym that day, I will take some and it helps every time. If you do not like preworkouts or do not want to use any, try something with less caffeine that will give you a little pick me up, anything to get you going.

7. Listen to a podcast
Changing your negative thoughts into positives are huge for me. If I’m ever in a rut, 99% of the time I am down and negative. So, think about how blessed you are to even be able to workout, have mobility, be able to afford a gym membership, etc. Not to mention, they are also extremely motivating and will make you feel like you can do nearly anything and everything.

8. Remember why you started in the first place
Go back to that very first day you started and think why you did it in the first place. Was it to lose weight, just be healthy in general, feel more confident, keep up with your kids, prevent or decrease symptoms of a chronic disease… whatever it was, reflect on it and use it as motivation to keep going.

9. Set daily goals for a week till you get back into routine
Just when you feel like you’ve gotten into a great daily routine, you take one day off and before you know it, you’ve taken 3-5 days off. Do not let it get worse, stop there, get a pen and paper or type in your phone what your goals are for the week. Remember to make sure they are SMART goals. (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time). Once you have made this goal or goals for yourself, you should be motivated to complete them. Before you know it, you will get back into routine or maybe start a new one that is better for you.

10. Look up a recipe that looks good and excites you to eat healthy
Since most of these were workout related, here is one of my favorite things to get me to eat healthy again. A big reason I love eating healthy is because I simply enjoy the foods I eat, none of it is force fed. If you do not like something, don’t force yourself to eat it. Try looking up some healthy recipes or find new ways to cook things so that you enjoy and look forward to eating.

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