ADVICE: 'I can't get out of bed to exercise'

You bought a mat and a new workout outfit. But what if you just can't get motivated?

Maja Begovic February 19, 2021
Sneakers

It can hard to find motivation to get off the couch amid the pandemic. Getty

Dear Asking for a Friend,

It’s been months of slouching on the couch with my laptop while snacking on Cheetos, and as my pants get a little a tighter, I have decided that now is the time to restart my exercise routine. But I just can’t get motivated. I like exercising in the morning, but I just can’t get out of bed. I have bought a mat and a new workout outfit, subscribed to an online training program and even made a cool playlist, but I just… Can’t. Get. Motivated. It’s making me grumpy and I can feel myself starting to get really down about my lack of initiative. Any tips to get me moving?

Signed, In a Rut

Dear In a Rut,

Getting an exercise routine in place can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. All you need is an action plan. And it’s great that you are wanting to add more physical activity to your routine — exercise can help you take control of your mind and body, reducing stress, boosting mood and benefiting overall health.

You can start with some micro goals. Plan routines that work for your schedule and lifestyle, and ensure that the workouts are suited to your current fitness level. Right out of the gate, you don’t want to be unrealistic or overly ambitious. Meet yourself where you’re at now.

Craig Boyd, co-founder and master personal trainer at Precision Athletics in Vancouver, suggests starting with 30 minutes a day, six days a week — even moving your just a little bit is better than nothing.

“Consistency is key,” he says. “Half an hour of exercise a day is not a huge commitment – it seems daunting to people at first, but once you actually get out there, you barely feel it.”

He suggests scheduling workouts first thing in the morning, since there are less distractions that can get in the way of your exercise goals, as opposed to trying to squeeze time in between zoom calls or waiting until the end of the day when fatigue begins to set in. And while this sounds simple enough, there’s no question that finding the motivation to get out of a warm, comfy bed to exercise when you’d rather get a few more zzz’s is, well, damn hard. But there are ways that you can help yourself take this first step.

Pro tips
The Daily Burn asked fitness pros to share their secrets of morning exercise success which included putting their alarm across the room so they have to get out of bed to turn it off, taking a few minutes to visualize your workout and the benefits you will get (like a toned belly or a guilt-free treat meal), and posting your workout plans on social media to hold yourself accountable, and also garner support from your online buddies.

Music is also a hidden gem when it comes to harnessing your inner fitness bunny. Not only does a good tune have the power to lift your mood, it also can increase stamina, boost serotonin — the “feel good” hormone — and improve your physical performance. Boyd prefers a little Metallica to accompany his workout, but if hard rock isn’t your thing, try what you like. According to Costas I. Karageorghis Ph.D., a sport psychologist at Brunel University London and author of Inside Sport Psychology, the ideal music for a good workout is one that “touches you personally,” noting that “fast, loud, rhythmical, percussive, bass-driven music” can help you get psyched up for a training session.

And in case you are looking for some musical inspiration, here’s a glimpse at the beats that some celebrities have on their workout playlist: Madonna’s Material Girl (Britney Spears), Daft Punk and Pharrell’s Get lucky (Mary J. Blige), and Eminem’s ‘Til I Collapse (Dr. Dre).

The gear matters
What you wear makes a difference as well. It turns out your favourite flannel pyjama pants may not be aligned with power squats. Say what you want about fancy workout gear, but studies have shown that how you dress is directly linked to fitness success. Nice workout clothes can make you feel good (did you know that fitness duds are made to highlight the best features of your body?), increase motivation to exercise, and create a sense of confidence — you look like you know what you are doing.

Beyond where you put your alarm clock, the tunes and the cute clothes, the bottom line is that exercise is important — like, life-extending important. So perhaps you need to take a close look at what spending at least 20 minutes each day considering all the good that physical activity can do for you, such as reduce stress, boost your sex drive, help your heart and stave off a ton of scary diseases, to name just a few.

And don’t forget that as long as you are doing a little of something, you can’t mess it up.

Is there something about health that you (or a friend, wink, wink) have always wondered about, but are too embarrassed to ask? Send a note to info@healthing.ca. We promise your ‘friend’s’ secret — and identity — is safe with us.

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