“There are times I’m literally on the couch or laying down and I’m just like, I don’t feel like going to the gym. And I’m like, girl, get up. Let’s go!” she tells SELF. “And I’ll say that out loud.” Speaking these words—instead of just noting them internally—helps Clay to really hear herself, she says. “It forces you to listen and to take things in a different, more impactful way,” she explains.
6. Talk yourself through the workout, one step at a time.
When Francine Delgado-Lugo, CPT, movement and strength coach and cofounder of Form Fitness Brooklyn, isn’t feeling her workout for the day, she’ll talk herself through it step-by-step—for example, she’ll start by telling herself to grab the foam roller, use it to do some gentle movements, and check in with how that feels.
If she needs to spend more time than usual foam rolling and completing the rest of her warm-up, she’ll do that. With this approach, she shifts focus away from needing to complete a full workout and reminds herself that what’s most important is that she tried. Most often, Delgado-Lugo finds that by the time she’s completed her warm-ups, she usually feels better and is up for doing more. In many cases, “once you get moving, you’re fine, and you’re ready to go,” she tells SELF.
7. Throw on a playlist packed with bangers.
There are a lot of simple tips that Lauren Vibbert, NASM-certified personal trainer and presenter for Les Mills, relies on when she’s just not feeling a workout, she tells SELF. Sometimes, she’ll simplify her plans—for instance, she’ll swap 60-minute cardio-strength workout for a 30-minute cardio-only session. Other times, when she knows she’s simply feeling uninspired to get started (and doesn’t actually need to cut down her original workload), it’s more about getting a quick, motivating boost.
In many cases, that comes in the form of music. She’ll put on a kick-ass playlist to boost her confidence and pump her up for her workout. Listening to female empowerment songs from artists like Iggy Azalea, Halsey, and Avril Lavigne usually provides the mojo she needs to get moving.
8. Borrow some energy from those around you.
When Ava Fagin, MEd, CSCS, assistant director of sports performance at Cleveland State University, isn’t feeling her workout, she’ll try to get someone to do it with her or she’ll intentionally exercise at a time and place where she knows others will be sweating it out too, she tells SELF. Being around people who are also moving their bodies, even if they’re not doing the same routine as her, “just feels a little bit more motivating,” she explains.
That’s why she recommends purposefully hitting the gym at a busy time on those days when you’re just not feeling like exercising. Though most of us probably try to avoid the crowds at our local fitness centers, showing up when lots of other folks are there may just provide the extra incentive you need to start and ultimately crush your workout.
9. Give your recovery the same attention as a workout.
Evan Williams, CSCS, CPT, founder of E2G Performance, tells SELF that he struggles with workout motivation about “once a week.” Sometimes on those days he takes the same approach as Hodges and joins a class or taps another trainer to tell him what to do. But other times? He realizes his reluctance is likely a sign of overtraining or burnout, so he simply gives himself some grace and takes the day off. Though he knows most folks feel bad about canceling their gym plans, he makes this decision guilt-free as he understands the science-backed benefits of rest days and accepts that “it’s okay to give yourself a day off.”