We’ve all been there, waking up in the morning with a million excuses flowing through you head.
“I’m too tired”
“I think I’m sick”
“I’ll do it tomorrow”
The very idea of starting your workout stresses you out so much that before you know it you’ve opened your laptop to watch Netflix and eat Doritos.
You know you need to, your doctor tells you to do it, but there’s a mental block in your way. Something stopping you from going out there and getting it done.
You need to have fun
If you hate what you are doing, then it is not sustainable. This is true for Exercise and if your workouts suck then you will NOT keep up the practice.
Making it fun will make it easy. Like a child playing in the park, it will no longer be a daily chore, you won’t even consider it exercise. It consistently be something positive on your mind.
Time to make your workouts playful.
For example, I see people in the gym doing their cardio on the cross trainer. After 5 minutes they are looking at their phone. Why? Because they are not enjoying it. Their boredom reduces the chance that they will be back in the gym tomorrow.
I recommend experimenting with many different activities until you find something you enjoy. This can range from cross-fit to tennis to swimming. Virtually anything that requires sustained movement. And if there is nothing that truly interests you, find something that you dislike the least!
Some people find exercising with others to be more enjoyable. Join a club, a gym or a sports team. Not only can it be more enjoyable but also more motivating when there is competition.
You need a routine
I see too many people say they will, “do it later”, when later never really comes at all. They delay and delay and delay until the very thought of exercise has all but disappeared.
Developing a Routine where you exercise at strict times of the day will help to change this pattern in the long term. Like breathing or eating, a workout will become instinctive to the point where you will not have to think about it.
It only takes a few weeks for your body to adapt into the new routine.
Personally, I now wake up and head straight to the gym without thinking. For you this could be lunch time, after work etc. I recommend you build your routine around the time of day you feel the most energized. This can be different for everyone.
Improve your sleep and diet
If you enjoy your workouts and have a routine but still cannot muster the strength to get that workout in, then you may need to think of other areas of your health which may be affecting your energy levels.
Our bodies are like clockwork
It is no secret now that we NEED our sleep and the doctor recommendations are 7–9 hours per day. If you get 7 hours and still don’t have energy then aim for 8 hours. Again, routine is very important here and we should aim to sleep at the same times every day. This will help your body fall asleep when your head hits the pillow.
Let food be thy energy
Too often do people forget to look to their diet when their Energy Levels are low. I probably don’t have to tell you how it feels when you eat a highly processed meal or drink lots of alcohol.
Try to eat more whole food carbohydrate rich options if your energy levels are low. Our main macro fuel source is carbohydrates, which means that our body will use the calories consumed from carbohydrates before protein and fat to fuel our body and sustain our energy levels during exercise.
Change your mindset
Remembering the above three points should help you to build a sustainable exercise routine. Just remember to keep thinking about your energy levels. Fun, routine and health all play their part. Keep adjusting until you feel ready to crush your workout goals.
How To Overcome The Stress Of Exercise was originally published in The Ascent on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.