My active social life makes me skip workouts. How do I motivate myself to be consistent again?
- It's normal to have phases where you're less motivated to workout.
- It's a mistake to rely on motivation though, sometimes you have to do it anyway.
- Don't compare yourself to your past self. Start small and do what you can.
- Read more Working It Out here.
For the first few months of the year I was really focused on my fitness and was so pleased with my consistency and the progress I was making both in terms of performance and my body. For the past couple of months, however, I've lost my mojo and am struggling to get it back. I'm barely managing two workouts a week when I was doing four before. Life has got busier and I'm more sociable now that lockdown has lifted, but I know if I prioritized my fitness I could fit the workouts in. How do I get my oomph back?
I know exactly how you feel. It's normal to go through phases where you're more or less focused on your fitness. Our priorities change, and that's OK, because this whole fitness thing should be for life, not a short term "transformation."
Don't beat yourself up. The power to get back on track is in your hands.
You won't be motivated all the time
There's something comforting about knowing you won't be motivated all the time, and if you wait to feel like you really want to train, you may never do it. To get the ball rolling again, it might take some discipline.
"Usually the way people get their oomph back is they go off track for long enough, they gain enough weight and they get to a point in which they are unhappy in their body," trainer and fat loss coach Jordan Syatt told Insider. "And then they start going to the gym and paying attention to their nutrition until their motivation dwindles again."
Syatt believes many people end up in this cycle because they only stay on track when they're motivated.
He likens it to children and homework - a kid can't just decide not to do their homework because they're not motivated.
"Your child probably never has the oomph to do their homework, but they've still got to do it," he said. "Same thing with working out and eating well. You can't rely on having oomph. You've just got to grit your teeth and do it."
Eventually you'll start to feel motivated by your progress and it will become a habit again, but that doesn't mean you'll never have to push yourself.
Start small so it doesn't seem intimidating
Before you try and create new habits, personal trainer Emily Ricketts suggests taking a step back and thinking about your "why."
"I often think one of the biggest hurdles that trips people up is the 'all or nothing' mentality," she said. "The feeling that if you do anything less than a perfect five workout week then you've somehow failed or aren't achieving enough."
The prospect of working out four or five times a week may seem daunting now, so start small. Aim for two slightly longer workouts, or three short ones, or add in a few extra walks.
Consistency is what will get you results in the long run.
"It's much more beneficial to be consistently showing up to two sessions every week than it is to do four one week, and then none the next because you over-subscribed and can't keep up with that schedule," Ricketts said.
Her mantra is "just show up."
"Simply saying those words takes all of the pressure and expectation out," Ricketts said. "It reminds you of the simple fact that showing up is the real win, everything past that point is a huge bonus."
Stop comparing yourself to others or your past self
We all know comparing ourselves to others is a recipe for disaster, but the same goes for comparing yourself to your former self.
"Stop comparing what you were doing with what you are doing now, it removes you from the present moment and spirals a toxic comparison cycle that's tough to break from," Ricketts said. "Recognize that you were at a different point in your journey and lifestyle then and that meant your schedule looked different."
Only you can decide what you do with your days - schedule workouts into your schedule and be kind to yourself as you go.
"Not every workout is going to be great, not every week is going to be a success, but if you consistently keep showing up in whatever way you can, you'll keep taking small steps towards your goals," Ricketts said.
Wishing you well,
As a senior health reporter at Insider and a self-described fitness fanatic with an Association for Nutrition-certified nutrition course under her belt, Rachel Hosie is immersed in the wellness scene and here to answer all your burning questions. Whether you're struggling to find the motivation to go for a run, confused about light versus heavy weights, or unsure whether you should be worried about how much sugar is in a mango, Rachel is here to give you the no-nonsense answers and advice you need, with strictly no fad diets in sight.
Rachel has a wealth of experience covering fitness, nutrition, and wellness, and she has the hottest experts at her fingertips. She regularly speaks to some of the world's most knowledgeable and renowned personal trainers, dietitians, and coaches, ensuring she's always up to date with the latest science-backed facts you need to know to live your happiest and healthiest life.
Read more Working It Out:
- I got so fit working from home. How do I stay in shape and healthy when I return to the office?
- I'm addicted to working out but am scared to cut back. How do I stop over-exercising?
- I gain weight in the winter and end up having to lose 10 to 20 pounds each summer. How do I break this cycle?
- I've lost weight and feel good, but I am nervous about ending my diet. How do I avoid regaining weight?
- Can I lose weight without restricting myself from foods like pizza and dessert?
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