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When Motivation Drops Off…

April 15th, 2020

Is it day 25 of lockdown in the UK? Wow. Motivation to exercise is starting to become non-existent. Do you agree? I base my existence in movement and exercise and I am honestly struggling.

My journey has had the full spectrum of emotions. First I was anxious and panicked by not being able to do my job like I have become accustomed to over the past few years. Then I became excited about the opportunities that had been opened up and I could act on ideas that I had only thought about but never could find the time to actually put into action. I enjoyed the challenge of being creative in my training, and after a few weeks had noticed changes to how my body was functioning.

Must keep moving…

I exercised every day to ensure that I moved, preferring to do this at home rather than leave the house, because there are too many people out there that do not understand social distancing. It’s safer to be at home, right? However, too much exercise is not too good for your body, especially mine. I find I get exhausted and need to have rest days. But if I don’t exercise then I struggle to get 4000 steps in a day around the house. But I need the rest, so I rest.

The problem with rest…

A few days passes and each day there is an excuse to not exercise, and the longer I leave it the harder it gets. And the longer I leave it the more my body aches, hips especially. I know moving will make my body feel better, but it’s uncomfortable to move, so I don’t want to do it. I’m stuck in a loop, a viscous cycle.

So whats the solution?

It’s easy to give this advice to my clients, I know what I should do, it’s what I’ve always done before, but actually doing it is a whole other story. I would offer these solutions:

  • Schedule time to exercise within the day, like you would schedule an appointment. If it’s in the diary it will get done.
  • Listen to your favorite tunes through your headphones so that you can blast it loud and not disturb your family or neighbors.
  • Wear the gym kit that makes you feel bad-ass.
  • Do the form of exercise that makes you smile. Don’t feel the social pressure to have to do HIIT in your living room, that’s not for everyone. Maybe you like to dance or do yoga.
  • Get your heart rate up, even just a little bit. It creates energy, endorphins are released, you feel good.
  • Train with someone else, if there is someone else in the household than that’s doable, or train over Zoom with some friends, or join an online class.
  • Be kind to yourself. This is the most important rule of all, and is the key to success. Even if you do all of the others but miss this one out, then it is likely you will still feel unmotivated.

Oh yeah!!!

This was my mistake. I was disappointed with myself for not feeling bothered, or getting distracted too easily (like the time I stopped mid workout to trim my finger nails), or I faffed around so much at the start that I ran out of time to do what I had planned (I’m still working). Suddenly I lost sight of my goal and was just plagued with concerns that were actually not even worth the time thinking about. My world is not going to end if I don’t manage everything on the programme. I’m not going to lose all my strength if I’m not lifting heavy all the time. I’m not going to get fat if I have a rest day, or two.

So lets add a few more to the list above.

  • Stay focused on your goal, your why, the reason you want to be the healthy, fit and strong.
  • Can you do something to focus on that goal, even if it’s not the most obvious way of achieving it. Maybe you want to run a marathon, but today you don’t want to go running, could you do a weight based circuit instead, or do some yoga to improve your range of motion, or maybe just balance on one leg with your eyes closed. If it helps you to run better in the long run (ha ha) then you are still working on your goals.
  • Don’t be so hard on yourself, you are bloody amazing.
  • Follow the advice you would give to a friend.

With Every Struggle There will Be a Breakthrough

It may be hard, but we are in this together (just in different houses). We’ve not been through this before, we are all still learning. But what the great thing about learning is, we get better at it. In every struggle there is a breakthrough. It will come and it will be amazing.



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4 responses to “When Motivation Drops Off…”

  1. Marc Merry says:

    I can relate to a lot of how you are feeling and the struggles to remain motivated to train. I feel these things but luckily I am able to always apply a few principles that I always follow. My principles are that, I will at least train every other day and preferably twice on the days I train, regardless of how I am feeling, unless I am injured. The next and perhaps most important for me is that, I should not expect to always feel good about the prospect of working out because sometimes I wont want too. I can also expect to not feel great while doing exercise as I am stressing my body and making it uncomfortable. However, I should feel great at the end. At the end of a good workout I will get my reward as my brain releases dopamine and makes me happy because I tried. Its important to note that you cant trick your brain into releasing it because it knows if you tried hard or not. My brain is always telling me not to bother and to just rest and chill, that is why I have my over riding principles to keep my brain in check. My brain is also telling me how great I am after I tried and putting a smile on my face. Over riding principles for the win!

  2. Catherine watton says:

    I totally get all the above. I’m trying to exercise daily but seeing how much others are doing is making me anxious. I do a jog most mornings and then a YouTube class. Combat or kettlebell or hiit. It never feels enough. I also dog walk. I would love to do your classes but can’t be available at set times. I need to remember your advise. I’m worried as I don’t have heavy weights to squat with but hey ho 🤷‍♀️
    All the best to you xx

    • Cheryl Williams says:

      Ah Catherine, you are doing fabulously. Also remember that it appears to be the case isn’t always the case. Sometimes when I watch training sessions back it doesn’t look like a struggle, but at the time of training I would remember it feeling horrid, sluggish, that I was disappointed with how it went. So someone else watching that footage would have no idea of the things going on in my head at the time, therefore appearing way better than it actually went. What you often don’t hear from people posting on social media is that they are most likely not sharing when they get distracted by trimming their nails or other people asking you questions mid workout. What you are managing to achieve is fantastic.

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