We all have talked ourselves out of a workout. Whether it is the lack of time or motivation, it’s somehow always easy to justify inaction. Somedays our schedule just doesn’t match up to our fitness goals and there are a million convincing reasons to skip a workout.
If this sounds a little too familiar, know that you’re not alone. In fact, while data shows that 73% of Australians exercise weekly, the percentage of people struggling to get started is a little higher. Women in particular, also have a harder time motivating themselves to exercise. It doesn’t necessarily mean that a workout is skipped, rather than finding the motivation to get to the gym or start a YouTube video takes quite a bit of effort.
So, why do you struggle to make time for a workout? Changes are, it falls into one of those categories:
- Days are never the same and you can’t stick to a routine
- It is hard to find a workout you truly enjoy
- The gym’s location, opening hours, and price just doesn’t work for you
- Too tired, too hard, too boring, too much stress
- Lack of motivation, accountability, or results.
There is nothing wrong with experiencing any of the above. We all have at some point. The good news is, once you have a clearer idea of the blocker that is demotivating you to workout, it becomes easier to find and implement a tip that works for you.
TIP 1: Do a mindset assessment
Struggle: Too tired, too hard, too boring, too much stress.
Life and all its chaos is one of the most popular things that prevent you from making time for a workout. But just like anyone else, you have 24h in your day. You might flow through the motions of sleep, commute, work, eat, Netflix, repeat, but even while it seems there is no room for a workout, assessing your mindset can help create space.
Imagine you are repeating this day for a whole year. Where will you end up?
Now picture a time lapse of your ideal day. What does it include and where does it take you?
We are wired to have a natural resistance to change. However, when you’re able to assess where you are at, where you want to be, and what happens in a year's time if you don’t take action, you ignite that part of yourself to switch from resistance to motivation.
Pairing a quick mindset assessment with the following tips will help you break down the challenges that prevent you from making time for a workout.
TIP 2: Make it easy
Struggle: Lack of motivation, accountability, or results
Lacking motivation to workout often stems from a deeper need that isn’t being met. Whether it is the thought of getting ready, travelling to the gym, or simply being self-conscious and uncomfortable when coached by a personal trainer, you have to understand your needs in order to address them. Once you do, you can apply what works best for you:
- Prep your clothes, equipment and workout the night before. It is a small task that doesn’t require you to exercise right in the moment, and it is one less thing to do the next day to get started.
- Choose a personal trainer or friend that you trust. Take the time to speak with different trainers before you commit to a training program. Not all trainers will have the right method, approach, or personality that fits your needs. But when you find the one who will, you're able to get so much more out of your training session than just a workout.
- Use a fitness tracker. The way your body changes can be more subjective than weight or fat loss. As such, it is common to feel disheartened to not see results when you’re working so hard. A fitness tracker that is setup to record the right metrics can give you a more tangible way to track your progress. Step counts, calorie burnt, exercise length, and sleep quality are metrics that can give you a boost of motivation to keep going, until the physical changes appear.
TIP 3: Focus on your needs and mix it up
Struggle: It is hard to find a workout you truly enjoy
While you might have tried many things, you haven’t quite found a workout you enjoy. In fact, you’re probably wondering how others do it! Well, the secret is that most people don’t love a workout. Exercises are repetitive, tough on the body and can last forever. However, what pushes them to keep coming back to weight lifting, strength training, or HIIT, is the satisfying feelings they experience right after they complete an exercise. It’s the feeling of strength, sweat, blood pumping, and endorphins.
To find a workout you truly enjoy, it is best to focus on the feelings you want to experience, rather than the workout itself.
- Do you want to feel strong? Make time for weight and strength training.
- Do you want to feel at ease in your body? Choose pilates, mobility and yoga.
- Do you want to sweat out your stress and energy? Try HIIT, cardio or a run.
Everyday, you might need to feel something different. And that’s okay. In fact, it is much easier to make time for a workout when you focus on meeting an internal need. Training rigidity is unnecessary. Instead, mix up your workouts according to your needs to make your daily experience enjoyable.
TIP 4: Future-proof your training
Struggle: Days are never the same and you can’t stick to a routine
Having a workout routine is key to exercising regularly. But what happens when your days are never the same? Perhaps you’re a shift worker, have children at home, or are constantly travelling around. An ever-changing schedule can be an extra challenge when you’re trying to find the time and motivation to workout. One way to overcome it is to future-proof your training.
With future-proofing, you don’t have to rely on willpower. Instead, you tune in to your schedule and needs, and as a result, plan your workouts accordingly.
- A short workout. You don’t need to exercise for an hour everyday. Even a 10 to 15 minutes workout can be extremely beneficial.
- Plan in advance. Open your schedule, and block off time to exercise around it. Some days it can be at night, other days it will be in the morning or at lunch time. Depending on your whereabouts, you can also plan whether it is a good time for the gym or a walk in the park.
- Rest days. Rest days are part of a healthy fitness training. If you manage to do three workouts in your week, be okay to take the other days for an active rest including a walk or a stretch.
TIP 5: Workout anywhere
Struggle: The gym’s location, opening hours, and price just doesn’t work for you
A gym or local studio isn’t always the most convenient. It can be too far and expensive to fit in your schedule. Yet, you might need the equipment, the atmosphere, and the surroundings as motivation to workout.
Creating a workout space at home, exercising at the park or the beach, or even joining a bootcamp class is a great way to skip the gym without skipping on your needs. A class in the park provides accountability, often at half the price of a gym. You can also exercise outdoors on your own if you prefer, or allocate a corner in your home for your workouts.
All you often need are a good yoga mat, some resistance bands, a TRX kit, and a couple of YouTube videos to get a good workout.
Making time and finding the motivation to workout doesn’t mean adding several steps to your schedule in order to exercise. Instead, it comes down to adjusting your habits in a way that works for your needs and the challenges you encounter. Remember that starting a workout is the hardest part, but as long as you find the right method for you, there’s no reason why you can’t make fitness training an integral part of your routine.
Laura Alario is a freelance writer, wellness consultant and former yoga-pilates instructor. Find her at lauraalrwrites.com