how to workout when you just don’t want to

I want to talk about motivation when it comes to exercise and working and I want to start by sharing a personal experience.

Last Sunday I wasn’t 100% sure if I was going to workout. I woke up, had my coffee and breakfast and then around 11:00 a.m. I was hesitant but decided that I was going to go to the gym.

I got dressed and was literally on my way out the door. But then Lulu (my golden furbaby) wagged her tail at me and I cuddled on the couch with her for a bit and I do not know what happened but my motivation went flying out the door.

And even as a fitness professional I get these feelings of not being motivated to workout quite often to be honest.

It is not always the lack of the motivation, it is the mental battle in my head with the positive and negative reasoning.

Just go to the gym. No I don’t want to.

You will feel so much better once you are there. But I don’t want to drive.

Think of the feeling when you are done. But what if I can’t give 100%. It is not even worth it.

Just go. I don’t wanna go.

And you know what I find the most obnoxious with this situation. The ambivalence and indifference in not being able to make a decision. I kinda just felt like I could take it or leave it. Whatever.

I sat on the couch and started playing with my phone and even got a little teary because I just hate it when I create this unnecessary scenario. SO what did I do?

I told myself. You either go the gym or don’t and be ok with either scenario. Guilt, regret and dwelling in my own pity party were not an option.

And then even though I did not want to do, I intentionally fought my feelings in the moment it was hardest and got up and simply walked out the door in a matter of seconds.

If you followed my habit challenge a few weeks ago you know this is the key to habit change. Fighting the habit in the moment it is hardest. Does it always play out like this? No.

Sometimes I stay home, but more often than not I fight the urge to go against what I know will ultimately help me long term. You see motivation is not something that you always have, it is something to create. And the more you intentionally fight habits the greater chance you have at breaking them, but the more you give into them, the better you get at that too!

So the next time you feel your workout motivation wavering here some new mindset and motivation shifts to use and practice.


Think about how you will feel after you are done. Most of the time getting to your workout is the hardest part, but once you there, and once you complete your workout you are so happy you did. Look to your future emotions and feelings to get you motivated. Because isn’t this something you deep down want? To be healthier, leaner, in better shape. Yes it is! I know you want those things so dig deep and keep the bigger picture in mind. Enduring that ambivalent moment where you can’t decide and pushing through is where your success lies.

Find an accountability partner, trainer or coach. Having someone hold you accountable is a huge motivator because being in something together makes it less about you and more about the experience as a whole. It’s not just about you. Find a reason to do it for your family, support your friends, or simply be committed to a greater purpose then simply the way you look or that you just have to exercise. Because doesn’t working out bring greater meaning to your life when you are doing it for your health and longevity, not for your dress size.

Choose an activity that you enjoy or feel comfortable with. Will I tell you that resistance training is the best type of exercise to do to build strength and get results. Yup. But does it trump actually moving and doing something you enjoy or will actually do? No. Exercise you will do is better than none at all. But if you feel uncomfortable weight training, ask yourself why? Are you afraid of failure, are you afraid it will be hard, are you afraid of starting something new? Start small and learn to enjoy the pursuit of something new, something challenging, and something worthwhile. 

Workout at home. Doing an at home workout is one of the quickest way to erase all those excuses in your head. You don’t even have to go anywhere and could do your workouts in your pajamas for all I care. I am confident you can find 15 minutes in the comfort of you own home to do something.

Intentionally fight the urge not do your workout. This is how poor habits are broken. The more you say no to actions that lead you toward your goals, the better you get at it. The more you fight the urge the better you get at it too. Make your decision in seconds and just go. Be ok with whatever you decide.

Change your beliefs. I don’t care what you pre existing beliefs are about you and exercise. I don’t care if you feel lazy, don’t like it or don’t considered yourself a “good exerciser.” Don’t make those statements because that is how your life will play out. Start to proclaim that you want to workout to be healthy, that you go to the gym 3 times a week, that you are motivated to workout and get fit and you would be amazed at what will unfold.

Get comfortable with the fact that this is a life long commitment. Get use to the idea that this is not just something that you are doing this week, month or year. This is something you are doing for life and if you are in it for life, it better be something you can stick too.

 Commit to the process. Do the work. Prove to yourself that you can do tough stuff and that you can push through the tough emotions in life. Because if we always waited until we were motivated to workout, we probably wouldn’t be doing it a whole lot. You don’t need any reason but the simple choice that you can change your direction at any time, in any moment.

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