How I kick the workout blues

Picture this: You are following an exercise routine near perfectly. Working out 3 to 5 days in a row, then taking a rest day, and repeating. One random Wednesday, you decide to go out for drinks. You accidentally skip that Thursday workout and then Friday you treat yourself to a day of rest. The weekend rolls around and you're leaving for that weekend getaway you've been waiting for.

Sunday night, you're back at home. Exhausted from an amazing trip, and looking at a pile of laundry. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: you're playing catch up. Friday comes and its's rest day.

Why would you pick up your routine again on a weekend? Gym starts Monday.

But Monday comes, and it just doesn't happen. "Why?!" you ask yourself.

You were so dedicated just a week ago, but now you can't even imagine squeezing into your gym clothes.

All exaggeration aside, it's easy to slip out of a solid gym routine. Life happens, and that's ok!

But what do you do when you just can't get yourself back into a "workout mood"?

Let's start with identifying why we aren't quite in the mood. For me, this tends to be one of two mental blocks:

  1. What if I fail? What if I'm no longer strong enough to do the workout or can't manage through the whole thing?

  2. I'd rather relax. I'm just not in the mood. It doesn't sound fun. Let me watch TV instead.

Sound familiar?

If you've been reading my posts, you know that I view life as a lovely balance between discipline & grace. But when I have the workout blues, it's time for me to gracefully put some discipline back in my life (see what I did there?).

Start with the mind

The mind is an insanely powerful thing. We need to tap in mentally first. Close your eyes and picture yourself working out. You are strong, powerful & beautiful.

Bring to mind that rush of endorphins that will come with the sweat. Now you are completing your workout. You are smiling. The sun is shining. You've never felt better.

Get over how ridiculous you may feel doing this. Lift yourself up, be nice to yourself.

Even repeat an affirmation to yourself when you are laying in bed and that 6am workout alarm is ringing. "I am strong".

Be careful when tapping into your mind that you are next setting expectations.

Turn inwards during your workout and listen to your body to tell you when to level up or level down. Don't hold yourself to an expectation that a certain thing will or will not happen.

Allow yourself to enjoy your workout by refusing to set an expectation for what you will and will not do (grace), and push yourself to your edge by telling yourself just how very strong you are (discipline).

Do what you love

If you absolutely hate running, chances are forcing yourself to run 3 miles isn't going to cure your blues. It will also be harder to mentally picture yourself loving this kind of workout.

For me running actually is something I love. But as a gal who grew up in northern Ohio, hills are just not it for me. I love long, flat, slow runs.

When I'm kicking my workout blues, I'm likely to turn on some Jack Johnson into my head phones and go out for a very chill jog. Maybe I'll even walk a bit. Normally on runs, I'm playing more upbeat music, focused on my pace. But when I'm running simply because I love running, it's Jack & John (Mayer) in my ears.

So what do you love? A certain group class at your gym? A 10 minute HIIT workout? Do that. Even if you are training for something specific, show yourself a little love with your favorite workout and then get back on with your plan.

Set a (very realistic) goal

Have a goal in mind. Again, not an expectation that you may or may not fall short of, but a goal you can strive to hit.

Be realistic when setting this goal.

If you haven't worked out in a few months, maybe your goal is 20 minutes straight of something (walking, biking, etc.). Or I'm going to try to push myself three seconds longer in plank every time I want to drop. Or I'm going to turn my attitude around every time I am down on myself and instead express gratitude to my body.

As mentioned, I'm choosing running as my blues-kicker. My goal is either going to be 2 to 3 miles (depending on how long it's really been) or 30 minutes. Not to run the entire time or to hit a certain pace. Instead, these goals are what accomplish (or at least strive to) and enjoy.

I'm not setting the expectation that this will happen, or that I will run the entire time. But I give myself a goal to aim for and show gratitude to myself no matter what.

What do you do to kick the workout blues? Drop it below!