How to find Workout Motivation (When You’d Rather do Anything than Exercise…)

March 5, 2019

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I'm Mickie. Co-founder and CEO of One Strong Southern Girl. Our team is here for you. We want you to remember us because we helped changed your life. 


Exercise Schmexercise.

Some days when I’ve been dealing with the kinks, bends, and potholes of life for 8 hours, the thought of exercise is about as exciting as a gyno appointment.

On those days it feels like I just can’t win.

I’m talking about the days where nothing lines up perfectly, no one does what I ask them to do and everything takes longer than expected.

I wake up with a vision of the day ahead but my plans fall apart around the time I finish my first cup of coffee.

The universe has its own plans.  (The universe likes to crap on my plans sometimes. #truth)  That’s just life.  

Who knows, maybe the universe has more important things to do than worry about my compulsive desire for order and punctuality?

My point?

When I’ve had a frustrating (long) day it’s REALLY HARD to get excited about exercise.

But we all know we can’t let one bad day throw us off the fitness train.  (Because once you get knocked off getting back on it is like trying to catch a fish with your hands—not an easy task.)

So, what’s a girl to do to stay on track?

Here are 5 genius hacks you can use every day to stay excited about exercise 

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Face Reality

This is not my favorite on this list…but it can be effective at jolting my psyche so abruptly that I could easily find myself in a sports bra and tights without even knowing how I got there.

Here’s how it works.

Option A. Step on the scale


Option B. Put on a bathing suit in front of a full length mirror

Reality can be like a rabid rat that attacks you in your sleep—a vicious boob-punch.

But effective.

The nice thing about using this option is that it’ll usually convince me to get on the treadmill or tune in to one of my favorite streaming workout services.

*I’m in no way talking about shaming yourself into a workout. For me, this is just a reality check. A way to remind myself just ONE of the reasons regular exercise is important.

Go Easy

So on the days when jumping, lifting a dumbbell, or doing a push-up is completely out of the question I might throw in a Go Easy workout.

That means I give myself permission to do whatever routine will technically count as exercise but doesn’t require much physical exertion or time.

For me that means a core (abdominal) workout, a 30-minute walk, or a long (maybe 15-20 minute) stretch.

I’d be lying if I said a Go Easy workout is all that satisfying.  BUT, it’s still a workout.  It’s still burning calories.  So, it still counts.

The nice thing about the Go Easy option is that it doesn’t rattle my conscience nearly as bad as skipping a workout altogether can do.

Stretching and walking don’t squeeze out even a drop of endorphins for me but there are a few core/ab workouts that will.  (I usually opt for a tough (but short) core workout.)

Find whatever satisfies YOUR conscience.

Retail Therapy

Here’s how this one works:

Go find a device hooked up to the internet.

Buy a new exercise tool, fitness video, or a new piece of workout apparel (like a sports bra, tights, dri-fit shirt, etc.).

I know this won’t work right that moment to inspire you to get up and exercise but it’ll get you excited about the next workout where you get to use the thing you just purchased.  (And keep your bad workout day from spiraling into a bad workout month.)

I use this option more often than I can afford to but it’s very effective for me.

There’s just something about a new pair of cross-trainers, or a cool pair of tights that gets me excited about exercise.

*Check out this post if you think the idea of a regular dose of workout clothing will keep you excited about exercise (it works for me!).

Do some homework

If you’re a mom then you’re most likely the Master Dojo Sensei of event planning for the kids in your house.

Only you can get 3 kids to 3 different lessons at 3 different places at the exact same time every Thursday.  Admit it.  Sometimes you sit back and think, “Damn, I’m good.”

And you should.  Because you’re awesome.

Now, use those skills for your exercise routine today.

This option won’t require you to actually exercise.  But you’ll still be working on your fitness goals.  Your mind will be doing all the reps, though.

Grab a journal or calendar where you can jot stuff down on and plan out next week’s fitness routine.  Write down the exact workout you’ll be doing as well as what time you’re going to do it.  Make an official plan.

Don’t set yourself up for failure by planning a 45 minute workout on your half hour lunch break.

Commit to a plan that you can execute the same way you execute your kids’ practice schedules.

Women are natural multi-taskers.  We just know how to plan and execute several things at once.

Even if you don’t have to plan out piano and soccer lessons you’re still busy as hell and will benefit from a pre-scheduled fitness plan that accounts for all of your daily activities.

I love this option because it gives my body the day off but I still feel like it keeps me on track with my fitness goals.

*This Fitness journal is my favorite for motivation and planning.

Just say, screw it

When it’s one of those days where I might take an ice pick to anyone who asks me why I’m not working out then I go ahead and give myself permission to just avoid all things fitness for the next 24 hours.

It’s OK.  Try Again Tomorrow—Give Yourself a Break.

These days are also known as Wine Days.*

*I will neck slap anyone who says there is no such thing as a Wine Day.  And in case you didn’t know it there are also Vodka Days, Cheesecake Days, and my personal favorite Leave Mommy Alone Day.  These are real (shall we call them) holidays, girls.  Do not abuse them or take them for granted lest you ruin it for the rest of us.

So, there you have it.

Five ways to make peace with a screwy day that has left you wanting to exercise about as much as you want to get a colonoscopy or clean up someone’s puke.

The thing to remember is that we’ve all been there, you’re (still) an incredible badass, and tomorrow is a new day.

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  1. Sharon says:

    I needed that. Packing to move doesn’t count as exercise? Very upbeat. Thanks.

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