The other day on a call with a client, she asked “how do you do it? How do you get yourself out
into your garage to work out?” Although I gave her a simple answer (my coach expects me to
send him videos), I think the solution can require some troubleshooting. Here, I’ll go over a few
of my personal solutions to the roadblock of getting yourself over a lull or lack of desire to spend
some time in the (home) gym.
Revisit your reasons for working out. Personally, I find spending time with the barbell to be an
excellent outlet for my mental health. I know that when I skip too many workouts, I start to feel
fidgety or sluggish. Choose to focus on outcomes that are more immediate- like the satisfaction
of finishing a workout or improvements from session to session. Tying your gym-time to an
external result like weight loss can often be self-defeating, as those changes can take a long
time to see and don’t necessarily correlate to a single workout. Exercise that you genuinely
enjoy doing (when you get into it) is a lot easier to do than something you dread but feel like you
have to do. If you hate your workouts, do something different!
Lower your expectations. Seriously. Not every session is going to go exceptionally well, you
won’t add weight every time, and some days a short workout is all you’ve got in you. Celebrate
the fact that you showed up for something. If you normally spend over an hour doing a workout,
taking a shorter session and trimming out some accessory work is better than skipping the gym
entirely. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Create an environment that favors the behavior
Make working out as easy as possible. Put your kettlebell in the living room. If you still find
yourself avoiding the living room, you can “trick” yourself into workout mode with familiar cues.
Have a favorite workout song or workout drink? Sip on it while you set your song queue up and
look over your workout plan for the day. Similarly, you can build up the “cues” to workout with a
similar habit. Do you want to work out in the morning? Leave a note by the coffee maker to put
on your running shoes.
Build in some accountability. Tell your partner that you’re going to track your workouts on a
calendar. Consider paying for a coach that holds you accountable (and helps you to build these
habits). Paying for coaching also puts a little bit of skin in the game for yourself.
Lastly, when you do skip a workout, cut yourself some slack and move on with your life. Drop
the script where you start to get down on yourself. Accept it for what it is, troubleshoot the
situation, and try something different next time!
Keep in mind, while exercise can be a great stress reliever, sometimes it can worsen stress.
Give yourself some grace if you are feeling overwhelmed and exercise is making it worse. Take
a break if you need to, and remember that the gym will always be there!