When the Gym is NOT Calling Your Name

Everyone has those days. Days when the lure of the sofa and the call of staying in your pajamas all day is stronger than you can bear. They are begging for you to take it easy. Problem is, they don’t know that you have goals. You’re on your way to becoming leaner, stronger, healthier, better. You need to quiet that voice and get your head back in the game.

Here is my step by step plan for when temptation to slack strikes:

Ask yourself if you do, in fact, need a rest day. This problem usually doesn’t happen to the majority of us unnoticed, but it can happen. Sometimes you just need to step back and make sure that you are not running yourself on empty. If it’s been seven days since your last rest day, sit this one out and you will be better prepared to hit your workout hard again tomorrow.

Decide that you will at least go to the gym. As the saying goes, “Showing up is 80% of life”. Tell yourself you will do some active recovery (foam rolling, stretching, light cardio) just to get yourself in the door. Odds are once you get there, you might stumble upon some motivation and attempt your workout as planned.

Tell yourself you to do the first exercise on your list. Just get yourself into the routine and let habit take over. Have your headphones on and try to just keep trucking down your list of exercises. Tell yourself you will do one more set, and then one more and one more until you are done. But what if you don’t have a plan or list of exercises to do that day? Pick a muscle group and burn it out. By this I mean, pick three exercises that will work that muscle group and do 3 sets of 12 with each exercise. Check out this article to learn about exercises for each muscle group I’m at the gym. What the heck do I do now? (opens in new tab). Try to work two or three muscle groups and then call it a day.

Keep yourself in the gym by setting a time goal. For me, my magic first goal is 20 minutes. Enough that I will feel like I didn’t just get there and then leave, but not so long that it seems impossible. Then add on time in 5-10 minute increments. Hopefully, before you know it you will have been there for 40-45 minutes and feel like you accomplished something.

Get out of there! Don’t guilt yourself for not doing more. Be satisfied that you beat the urge to stay on the couch and give yourself a mental break so you are ready to come back next time ready to fire. Remember that motivation will not always be there, and by simply getting yourself to the gym you continued to strengthen and automate the habit of working out.

If you don’t have a regular workout plan or don’t know how to choose a muscle group and burn it out, here is an easy to follow workout you can try:

Bodyweight Squats!

20 bodyweight squats

10 bodyweight reverse lunges each leg

15 dumbbell arnold press

20 bodyweight squats

10 bodyweight reverse lunges each leg

15 dumbbell arnold press

20 bodyweight squats

15 lateral raises

15 front raises

15 rear delt flys

Run through that circuit just one time and you should feel like you got the blood pumping to your legs and shoulders!

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