We all have those days where we would rather just roll back over and ignore the alarm clock. Or that we drive up to the gym, and while we sit on our respective cars, rationalize all the possible excuses and reasons you can devise to skip out on the day’s workout routine.
No matter if you are just getting started out or are a professional athlete there are certain days where the last thing you want to do is step foot into the fitness complex.
Here are 6 ways to push yourself to hit the weights when you simply don’t feel like it:
1. Remember that this is normal.
It’s unrealistic to imagine that you are going to be infused with a heavy dose of all-go no-quit every day. Your motivation levels to workout are constantly in flux, most days you may find yourself up, but there will be days where it dips to dangerously low levels. Don’t freak out – these drops are normal. (Sustained dips in motivation, however, are more of a cause for concern.)
2. Hang out with people that share your fitness goals.
Jim Rohn once rather famously said that we are the average of the five people that we spend the most time with. If this is the case, take a look at the people you have chosen to surround yourself with, and ask if their influence is a positive or a negative one when it comes to the gym. In my own experience I have found that your partner and spouse can have a massive influence on whether or not you are working out.
If you are already on the fence, and they admit that they don’t feel like it, it suddenly becomes a lot easier to throw in the towel because they are doing it to. Surround yourself with supportive and fitness-minded peers and you’ll find it easier to get amped up for those challenging workouts.
3. Set daily and weekly challenges.
It’s hard enough to get jacked up to go to the gym, but it’s even more difficult when we go there without any sense of purpose. Set yourself micro-goals – specific rep counts you want to hit, mileage on the treadmill, progression on deadlift – so that you have a clear sense of purpose when you set foot into the gym. The best part about setting those mini goals? By reaching out and extending your abilities and hitting those targets you are igniting the self-confidence to come back tomorrow.
4. Focus on technique to get started.
My workouts towards the end of the week tend to suffer a little bit. After a long week of work and workouts it gets a little harder to set foot in the gym. I still make it, of course, but the zeal I had when coming off a day off is mostly gone. By Friday I am usually mentally and physically fried.
On those days I will walk into the gym and instead of thinking about crushing a new max in the squat rack I will start by focusing on technique.
I’ll start out doing a couple sets at lighter weight, but with absolutely perfect technique. A funny thing happens once you start and blood starts rushing into your muscles – you want to keep going.
5. Catch up on your sleep.
Being tired absolutely sucks. I think we can all agree on that one. We become grumpy, irritable, and our willpower dramatically weakens. In today’s society we are conditioned to believe that sleep is over-rated, that it’s for sissies, and that we can collectively sleep when we are dead.
We need sleep not only so that we aren’t stumbling around like extras from the Walking Dead, but while we sleep our body is full regenerative mode, repairing our muscles and hitting the refresh button on everything from head to toes. When we are excessively fatigued we have difficult summoning willpower, and sleep deprivation sustained over anything longer than a couple days can begin to severely hamper performance in all facets of our lives.
So get those Z’s, and do it guilt free.
6. Visualize the end of your workout.
There are those few moments, where you are drenched head-to-toe in sweat, where you roll off the mat and take the first sip of that post-workout shake, where you revel in the workout you just massacred. Your face glows, your world feels aligned, and you walk with a little extra lightness in your step even though your legs are slightly trembling.
When you are sitting in your car outside the gym, and you are arguing with yourself over whether or not you need to get that workout in, visualize those few moments and absorb how good it makes you feel.