“How can I get motivated to workout?”

Over the past couple of months, I’ve had a handful of people come up to me and say that they’ve been lacking the motivation to workout. They say they see me post workouts that seem doable, they say they definitely can find the time to take 10-20 minutes to do something, they say they WANT to move more, but, for some reason, they just don’t do it.

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Does this sound familiar? I get it – I think we can all say we’ve been there a time or two (or more!), but the key here, is how to figure out when to push through and find something to motivate you to get back into it vs. when it’s time to listen to your body and honor it’s desire to rest a bit more than usual.

When I’m lacking motivation to workout, it’s usually a result of something else that’s going on in my life:

  • stressful times at work & long hours
  • teaching lots of classes
  • season changes
  • being sick
  • being busy & having little to no “down time”
  • general life stresses
  • grinding hard in my workouts for an extended period of time

Any of these, or a combination of them, can cause me to have less motivation to workout, or less motivation to workout at my normal intensity. I think for me, the biggest culprit is when I’m teaching a lot of classes. That, combined with a full time job leaves little time to workout on my own, and I’m generally pretty worn out so I just don’t have it in me to do an intense workout.

That said, when I’m faced with any of these things, I listen to my body and take it down a notch- that may means going for a walk instead of something intense, doing a bodyweight workout instead of lifting weights, doing just a 10 minute workout to help get the blood flowing and give me some energy to get through the day, etc.

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On the flip side, we may find ourselves lacking motivation, but not for any specific reasons that I may have listed above. We may have just fallen out of our groove because of too many days of skipping workouts in favor of getting drinks, going out to dinner, or working late. It happens! The key here, though, is figuring out how to get back into it, which is what I hope this post will help you do!

Here are some things that help motivate me to workout when I’m not feeling it – hopefully they will help you, too!

  1. Start small – pick a small goal that you know you can do. Maybe it’s just 5 minutes of stretching, a 10 minute walk, or even just some squats and jumping jacks. Whatever it is, is better than nothing, right? And sometimes just that little bit of movement triggers the memory of how good it feels to move and workout. Remember that post I wrote a while back called “just do something”Action -> Inspiration -> Motivation. The simple act of doing SOMETHING generally leads to motivation to keep going. It’s as simple as that.
  2. Buy a new workout top – Whenever I buy something new to workout in (shoes, top, pants, sports bra, etc.), I’m instantly motivated to workout because I want to wear whatever it is what I bought! It doesn’t have to be expensive, either – you can find great, affordable things at Old Navy, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, etc.
  3. Download new music – This is another great way for me to get motivated! I love finding new music to workout to. You can follow me on Spotify (mgagnon85) if you want to see what I’m using in my classes these days!
  4. Make a workout date – Having the accountability from a workout buddy is usually enough to make it so that you don’t skip your workout. Plus, working out with a friend is more fun. My sister and I try to do weekly gym dates where we will find a class that we both want to go to and then go to it together. Sometimes we will get drinks after!
  5. Find a new studio/gym/class to go to – Sometimes we lack motivation to workout simply because we are bored with our workouts. This is a huge culprit for why I lack motivation sometimes! Whenever I try out a new class, gym or workout, I instantly feel more excited about working out! This is another reason why I try to get to other instructors’ classes – I’m often reminded of exercises I like, but have forgotten about, I learn new combos, new formats, etc.

I could go on and on, but these are probably my top 5. At the end of the day, even if these things don’t help you feel motivated to workout, it’s ok! There’s no need to beat yourself up over it. Start small, do something (doesn’t have to be anything big or formal), and honor your body. The motivation will come back – I promise!

Questions for you: Did I miss any of your “go to” ways to get motivated to workout? Do you tend to be more or less motivated to workout when you have life stressors?¬†

What Category Do You Fall Under?

I feel like working out generally falls into 2 categories for most people:

  1. You’ll take any excuse you can to not have to workout
  2. You never miss a workout and often workout even when you’re tired, sick, sore, etc.

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What got me to thinking about this was when I was sick with a cold last week and I “listened to my body” when it was telling me I needed rest. Old me would’ve pushed through and worked out even though I felt like crap and just generally run down.

That said, I’m sure you’re not surprised when I say that I used to only identify with #2 listed above ūüėČ

Luckily, even though I’m still navigating the middle when it comes to listening to my body, I feel like I’ve gotten way better, mostly in that I know when it’s time to take a break AND that I don’t feel guilty about taking a break. I used to hate rest days, even planned ones, because they left me feeling so guilty about not working out. I knew they were necessary and that they were good because that’s when muscle repair and growth happens, but I still didn’t like them.

Fast forward a year or two, and I grew to love my planned rest days… notice the “planned” part. What that means is that when I planned my rest days, I enjoyed them and didn’t feel guilty; however, if there was a reason that caused me to have to take an unplanned rest day, I was back to feeling guilty and not able to embrace it.

These days, while I still don’t enjoy taking long breaks from working out (because I generally love working out, moving my body and my normal routine/schedule), I am able to recognize when it’s necessary and how it will help me going forward. That, and that I also recognize that it will not ruin all of my hard work and progress thus far, and that in a few weeks I probably won’t even remember having to take some extended rest.

I’ll tell ya, it’s such an amazing feeling to have made this mental transition over the years! Last week, I didn’t feel bad or “guilty” about not being able to workout. I realized it was necessary and I realized that I could get back into it as soon as I was feeling better – no big deal, no stress. I’ve also noticed how I am more relaxed about my approach to fitness and workouts in general. Long gone are my hours in the gym – I’d much prefer a quickie 20-30 minute workout, and at home workouts are my jam these days!

As you can see, this wasn’t a quick or easy transition, which I think is the key point to remember if you find yourself identifying with #2 above. But, it has made things so much better for me. I enjoy my workouts more, I have seen positive changes in my body and I have more time to enjoy other things. Being physically fit and active is so important for me, but it’s not the “end all, be all” to being happy and healthy. Just like anything in life, balance is key!

Questions for you: What category do you identify with? Do you feel guilty when you skip a workout or do you look for excuses to skip a workout?

Fitness Isn’t A Linear Progression

I was at the gym last week and after my run, I decided to see how my chin-ups felt. I don’t work on these nearly enough- it’s more of a “let me see what I can do today” type of thing. I think the reason WHY I don’t practice them or other exercises to assist in building up the necessary strength required to execute them in multiples is because I generally have very little time to workout. It’s usually a quickie 30-35 minutes including warm up & cool down, which, don’t get me wrong, is plenty of time for a good workout, but if I want to spend time working on various skills, it’s definitely not enough time. And right now, I care more about getting in quickie workouts than I do about working strictly on pull-ups/chin-ups, so it’s just the way it is!

But, that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to continue to do them when I can! In fact, we just bought a pull-up bar because I want it to be easier to practice the craft.

Last week’s chin-up experience got me thinking about fitness progressions & growth. I put this on Instagram and it got some good traction so I thought it was worthy of sharing with you guys:

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Two days ago, I struggled through a #fitin15 (@the_fueled_physique) upper body workout and I had no idea why. I wasn't using heavier weights, I wasn't Doing anything new and I wasn't tired or sore. . . Yesterday, I did a quick 1.5 mile run on the treadmill (felt easy!) and then busted out 5 chin-ups with relative ease. I haven't done these in months, yet they didn't pose nearly as big of a challenge for me as the previous day's workout. And, yes, chin-ups are a hard exercise, certainly not downplaying that! . . But it was a good reminder: fitness is not a linear progression. We don't just keep moving up and forward Day after day. Just because we can do chin-ups on day with ease doesn't mean they'll be easy the next time we try them. Just because we run 5 miles one day with ease doesn't mean the next run will be equally as good or easy. . . . With that said, I encourage you to focus on where you are TODAY. not yesterday, not where you'll be tomorrow. Focus on the now and appreciate what you can do. Be kind to yourself and know that if you keep working hard, you'll get to your goal. #realtalk #fitness #progression #progressionisntlinear #keepworking #appreciatethenow #embraceitall #acceptance #reminder #focusontoday

A post shared by Monique Gagnon- Magno (@burpeestobubbly) on

 

My experience with chin-ups just yesterday couldn’t have come at a better time because it backed up what I shared above.

Last week, chin-ups were, dare I say it, EASY. Yesterday? So far the opposite from easy. Every bit of it was a struggle, as clearly shown in the video above. For good measure, I tried some this morning (dress & heels and all!) and they were definitely much easier than they were yesterday.

All this means is that we should focus on where we are TODAY. Not yesterday, and not where we are tomorrow. Fitness isn’t a linear progression. Just because we could do something so well yesterday or last week, doesn’t mean that we will pick up right where we left off when we try it next. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work like that because there are so many factors that go into our physical strengths on any particular day: how much sleep we got, how rested we feel, whether we are stressed, what time of the ¬†month it is, what we are focused on, etc. All of these things play a role in how we are able to move on any particular day.

So, next time you’re feeling down because you weren’t able to run as far, run as fast, swim as long, lift as heavy, knock out as many pull-ups, just remember that it doesn’t mean you’ve lost strength or that you’re weak or that you need to work harder, longer, etc. at getting better. Sure, practice does always help, but all the practice in the world does not mean that your fitness experience and growth will be a linear progression. Instead of getting beat down because today you can’t do what you did last week, focus on where you are today, appreciate that and keep working on the skill. Maybe take a second to think about what outside factors are going on that could contribute to less energy or strength in your workout, because that could bring some clarity to it.

I’d love to hear what you have to say about fitness progressions- do you find yourself being able to do something one week and the next week find it much harder? How do you handle these situations? Do you get upset or take it for what it is and just keep going/practicing/etc.? What’s something that is always a struggle for you in the gym? How do you work at it?

 

 

Sometimes being healthy is…

… getting up early to squeeze in a quick workout before a busy day

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… deciding to skip a workout because friends are getting together for a spur of the moment thing

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… meeting up with people a little late so you can get in a quick workout first OR choosing to do a workout together instead

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… spending hours meal prepping for the week

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… skipping meal prep to spend time with friends/family/significant other

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… going out for pizza and beers on a random Tuesday night

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… going for a long walk instead of the more intense workout you originally planned

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… trying something new

… taking a break for no other reason besides “I don’t feel like it”. In other words, “efff it!”

Just a little reminder that being healthy isn’t just about eating well and working out. There is so much more to being healthy than those things and sometimes the “unhealthy” option is the healthiest option you can choose (and I say “unhealthy” as a lack of better words- I don’t think any of these things are unhealthy when done in moderate amounts. Anything done in excess and to extreme is not good for you). We all tend to be too hard on ourselves, always wanting to push to do more and be better, but sometimes doing absolutely nothing is exactly what we really need.

Earlier this week I was just not feeling right. Normally I would push through it and workout, but this time I listened and told myself it was a better idea for me to go for a walk instead. I’m not always good at this, but I am really trying to improve because I know that adding wedding planning to an already busy day to day life is going to mean some things are going to have to take a back seat. Whether it be a workout or a blog post, there will absolutely be times when something has got to give. And that is totally OK.

So next time you’re faced with the question of what’s the “healthy” option- take a look at the surrounding influences- how your day has been, how your workouts have been lately, thinking about what you really want to do and then go with it. A day making the “less healthy” choice isn’t going to set you back and can be a really great thing.

Questions for you: When’s the last time you made a less-healthy decision that ended up being the healthiest decision for you at that time? When’s the last time you cut back on a workout or task in favor of something less stressful on the body?

Thoughts on my “unplanned” rest day

Good morning! I mentioned yesterday that I took an “unplanned” rest day last week, so I thought I’d share a little more about that with you today. I’ve talked about rest days in the past, and even though I feel as though I’ve made leaps and bounds towards improvement in this area, it can still be something I struggle with. These days, it’s not the actual REST that troubles me- trust me, I love and fully embrace my “rest days” now- but rather, it’s the need to take an unplanned rest day that really tests my progress in this area.

When I plan out my week of workouts (I don’t share this with you guys anymore because I wasn’t sure if it was boring you- if you’re interested in seeing what my weekly workouts look like, please let me know!), I also plan out my rest days. I look at what I have going on and when I think¬† I want to workout and rest and it usually works out quite well. Normally Fridays and Sundays are my rest days, but sometimes it’s Saturday and Sunday or maybe Friday and Saturday or sometimes just one day depending on what events I have going on for that particular week. Last week, though, I ended up taking a rest day on Thursday, totally unplanned.

Let’s back up a little, though. I started the week of strong with my workouts- on Monday, I got up and ran 4 miles (8:10/mile pace) and then did the first day of the #20x20challenge workout (forgot about it!) and then did a photo-shoot, which required lots of moving and holding and re-takes for various moves. I felt good throughout the day, but by the time I finally got home to eat (8:30pm), I felt unreasonably tired, but I chalked it up to a big, long day with lots of physical activity. Tuesday I woke up feeling good, again, and had another strong lunch break workout and ended up having to cancel bootcamp, meaning my day was cut short- awesome! Wednesday I went for a fast 3.5 mile run before class (8/mile pace) before teaching my UXF Burn class, which is a standard Wednesday for me, however I really had to work hard to keep my energy up throughout class, so I knew something was up.

That night, I could tell something was going on because I just didn’t feel right. I didn’t sleep well that night so by the time I woke up on Thursday, I was tired and sore and overall really lethargic feeling.

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