It’s pushing past 5 p.m., you’ve had a long day at work and you’re exhausted. You know you should head to the gym and try to get in a good workout, but you really just want to Netflix and chill. Sound familiar?
I’ve got news for you: You’re not alone. As a spinning instructor and former gym bunny, I know from personal experience that everyone can use a little extra motivation sometimes. So here are some tips for what to do when you’re too tired to work out.
Listen to the “Real” You
Your first reaction when the thought of working out enters your mind may be resistance. But take a moment to explore whether that resistance is just laziness in the moment or whether your body really does need a break. It could be that you feel a cold coming on or that you didn’t get enough sleep last night or that you’ve worked out every other day this week and really need the rest.
Whatever your situation may be, some self-questioning can help you determine if you truly don’t have the energy to do even a brief, easy workout. If the answer is still no, skip to No. 8 below. But if you probably could still do something, then read on:
Take Baby Steps
Start with one goal and take one step at a time. Pack your workout bag, get dressed, tie your shoes, get in the car. Before you know it you’ll be at the gym or class. When you’re there, focus on one thing at a time. Warm up, then gradually let yourself get into the workout and take it from there. I often find that after I’ve taken these baby steps, without intending to do so, about halfway in I’ve regained my usual workout energy. And then after the workout I’ve got a second wind. (Yes, working out actually can give you energy!)
You don’t always have to lead — take a class and let someone else motivate you.
Take a Class
If you’re feeling tired, I wouldn’t recommend a DIY workout — unless you have a routine that you can just dive into. Take a class and let the instructor set the pace for you so you don’t have to think about it. All you have to do is follow the instructions and go with the music. If you have a good instructor, you’ll be too caught up in the action and fun to remember to be tired.
OK, so maybe don’t start with this, but trying something new can be energizing
Mix It Up
With a little bit of planning, you can make your workout not just about exercising, but also about discovering new things. Try a new class, gym or activity every now and then and give your body and mind something new to do. Yes, it might be intimidating to try something new, but that’s what makes it exciting, right? Plus, studies show that workouts that challenge your body in new ways over time are the most beneficial.
Remember Your Three Tools
We all have three tools always available to us to fuel our workouts when we’re losing steam: our breath, the music and water. At any point in your workout (even if you’ve just started) you can tap into these three sources of energy. You’ll be amazed at what they can do for you.