A couple of weeks ago, I sent an email out to my insider that was all about the juicy topic of motivation. Or lack thereof, I should say!
“I’m just not motivated to work out!”
We’ve all experienced those “I’m just not motivated” days, haven’t we?
>> We don’t have our trainer that day? Not motivated.
>> We’re tired after a long day at work? Not motivated.
>> We’re annoyed at someone? Not motivated.
>> We hit traffic on the way home? Not motivated.
>> Something about our routine is thrown a little off? You guessed it! Not motivated.
It’s an easy trap to fall into, for sure. I can admit that, and there have been plenty of days that I’ve fallen into no motivation mode myself.
Saying we aren’t motivated is a pretty big excuse if you ask me.
When we give in to our “I’m not motivated” stories (and yes, they are just that, stories we tell ourselves), it actually masks what the real issues at hand might be: lack of consistent routine/habits, lack of a powerful why driving our fitness journeys, and/or something deep down that’s holding us back (usually fear!).
And in this blog post, I want to really focus on the piece about routine/habit. We’ll save the other two for another time. 😉
For me, moving in SOME WAY every day, even if it’s not perfect, is a habit. When I’m feeling really into it, I don’t mind spending a little longer in the gym. But when I would rather be doing ANYTHING else, well, then a super quick 15 minute #FitOnTheGo workout is the answer. Or a walk. Or a quick yoga flow. Something! Simply because it’s an automatic part of my day-to-day.
After hitting send on my motivation message, I received emails back from literally dozens of women who currently fall into the motivation trap. And after reading through what my peeps had to say, I quickly realized what the glaringly obvious common denominator was behind all of their messages.
I cannot stress this enough: the habits we establish to keep us going when motivation feels low do NOT need to be overcomplicated!
Yet so many women STILL harp, harp, HARP on what “the best” type of exercise is, they scroll for hours through Pinterest looking for crazy workouts to do, they try to be in the gym for hours doing it all, and deep down… they actually hate the very type of exercise they end up doing… no wonder motivation is low!
When it boils down to it, there are actually only three key factors that I recommend keeping in mind when trying to create a fitness routine that will actually stick. The rest of it can be put aside. Things like whether it’s “best” to work out in the morning or after work or whether cardio should be done before strength or vice versa are SMALL ROCKS in the grand scheme of things.
The three factors that are much more important are what I call your Training Trifecta: Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Enjoyment.
Chances are, if you often find yourself unmotivated and have trouble establishing lasting exercise habits, there’s probably at least one piece of your little personal Training Trifecta that needs a little TLC, and these are the things that will end up having the most impact in the long run.
The Three E’s: Your Training Trifecta for Lasting Fitness Habits
Your fitness cannot be a full-time job. It just can’t! You have a life with responsibilities, to do lists, and other people who depend on you.
At the end of the day, you can’t (and shouldn’t!) be spending hours in the gym, and hanging on to the belief that anything less than 60 minutes isn’t worth it is actually very old school.
The days where we have to spend over an hour in the weight room to build muscle are gone… hence why I recently stopped following a program that had me in the weight room for 90 minutes 4-5x per week. The days where we have to spend over an hour on a cardio machine in the “fat burning zone” to achieve fat loss are gone… hence why I stopped being a cardio queen years ago and haven’t stepped on an elliptical since.
From a motivation and consistency standpoint, on days we don’t feel like working out, doesn’t knowing we ONLY have to do 15-20 minutes feel SO MUCH BETTER than trying to motivate ourselves to get up and moving for 60? Of course it does!
Your fitness also has to be effective, meaning it has to help you reach your unique physique goals, whether that be fat loss, strength, muscle size, whatever! Otherwise, if your exercise isn’t getting you the results that you want, it is going to be preeetttttty hard to stick with a routine, right?
I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that most of our goals have to do with either losing weight, getting stronger, getting leaner, looking better, feeling better, etc.
Here’s where your exercise efficiency and exercise effectiveness are directly related. Above I mentioned that gone are the days we need to spend hours in the gym to reach our goals. We know better now. We know we can spend 10-30 minutes pushing our intensity 4-5 times a week and get better results that we do from slaving away in the gym for hours a day.
What’s effective exercise then? This isn’t the end all be all, but:
>> A healthy mix of strength training, metabolic conditioning with fast-paced circuits/shorter rest periods, and cardio in the right amounts because eventually you’ll hit a point of diminishing returns if you do too much (nevermind the other detrimental effects excessive cardio has on the body).
>> Compound, strength-based movements that work the whole body.
>> Proper rest and recovery
It’s with this type of protocol and understanding that bodyweight strength movements performed quickly can YES count as your cardio that we get more bang for our buck in less time… and subsequently look better, feel better, etc.
Finally, the third E in the Training Trifecta is enjoyment. You have to actually LIKE and ENJOY how, where, and when you are moving. This is why although I have very firm beliefs about what the most effective forms of exercise are for losing fat and creating a lean physique, I will never tell a client to get rid of what they love to do all together. Instead, we figure out how to best incorporate it!
I have a client who loves Zumba. While she doesn’t go to as many Zumba classes as she used to, now she still goes for fun, social hour, and stress relief when she isn’t getting her 20-30 minute strength and/or bodyweight workouts on.
I have another client who recently realized that she actually didn’t like running as much as she thought. She stopped trying to force it, and now she only goes for that run when she craves it. She likes it a lot more now that it’s more of a “do it when you feel like it” thing as opposed to something she hated.
I have another client who found she really wasn’t sticking to her routine when she would go to an actual gym to do her workouts. She prefers them from her home, and so why force a certain space when at home workouts were more enjoyable for her?
You need to have some excitement about your fitness, otherwise you simply will not maintain it for very long.
Exercise is a privilege, and we should celebrate that our bodies can move and function. We should be grateful that our bodies GET to work out, and we should consistently let them move. Consistency really is everything when it comes to getting results, and the people who seem to have consistency and motivation mastered are the ones who aren’t overcomplicating it. They are the ones who are doing these few key things really well, and they don’t stress about the rest.
Bottom line is that your exercise simply cannot be burdensome. If it is, I would question whether what you’re doing is truly the most efficient, if it’s the most effective, and how you might be able to add some enjoyment factor to it (or take away some of the dread).
Make some simple changes to your training trifecta without all the over-complication, and you’ll be good to go.
Readers, let’s chat! Think about your current fitness regimen. Is what you’re doing efficient, effective, and enjoyable? What tweaks might you need to make to your Training Trifecta, if any?
Did this post resonate with you? Then you may be interested in my #FitOnTheGo program. It’s chock full of efficient and effective workouts (56 of them!) that can be completed anytime, anywhere, and with minimal equipment so you’ll have a nice collection of on the go workouts to choose from this summer! Get all the details HERE.