Episode 301 – What To Do When You Don’t Feel Like Exercising

Written by Jonathan

A couple weeks ago when I was away on holidays I woke up one morning with every intent of going for a run and doing a quick strength workout, but when I woke up that morning I still felt tired, I didn’t have very much energy, I was reeling from a cold that even today I haven’t fully recovered from and instead going for a run I negotiated with myself, through my rules for these types of circumstances,

Am I just being lazy or am I legitimately tired and unable to run? After blowing my nose several times through the night and feeling short of breath that morning I decided I was legitimately tired and run down and that going for a run would do more harm than good.

I need to at least do something active today, this is one of my life rules to do something at least a little bit active everyday.
What could I do instead? I decided I would do three sets of as many pushups as I could, and I would go for a walk later in the day with my wife and son and although far from what I initially intended to do that would be good enough.

Of course this flies right in the face of what many other personal trainers or ‘health coaches’ might say, where the going dogma is something to the effect of, ‘If you don’t feel like doing it, do it anyway, otherwise nothing will ever change. Like anything, there is a grain of truth to this that sometimes when you don’t feel like doing something or you feel too tired to do something that is an indication that you need to do it the most and you should definitely apply this to your life, if you just feel unmotivated to exercise every day or the majority of the time. But this process that I went through on my trip can definitely help you decide for yourself if you legitimately need a break or if for lack of a better word you’re just feeling or being lazy.

The process is really simple, to determine why it is you’re not motivated to exercise or what’s making you feel like you can’t do it. Start with asking yourself this, Am I legitimately tired? Am I sick, do I have a cold, am I legitimately run down from working too much and not sleeping enough or do I chronically feel this way? Am I overstressed for some reason? If you answer yes to any of those questions especially more than a couple times a week, then maybe you should be taking care of what’s causing you to be overstressed and rundown before trying to follow a big structured exercise program. Listening to your body is really important because adding exercise stress onto or into an already overstressed life is going to hurt you.

Now there is a fine line between stressed and overstressed, exercise can often help with stress and anxiety, so again you have to listen to your body and decide for yourself which it is and adjust the exercises you’re going to do appropriately for type and intensity.

Moving forward from here regardless of why you’re stressed or what level of stress you have the next question needs to be, What can I do instead?

Low-level and light activity can help you in both areas and it’s what I did when I was on my trip. You just need to decide what it’s going to be instead. You could do mobility exercises and stretches while watching TV, you can go for just a little short walk or you could get everything ready for your next day so that you’ll be able to get to bed early that night, wake up early the next day and do your full workout without missing beat. The type of exercise or activity you do is much less important than the actual act of doing it. This helps you at least do something to grow or maintain your momentum.



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