What to Do When You Want to Quit Your Workout

Monday Wisdom (1)

Firstly, on this Memorial Day, I want to thank all those men and women who have sacrificed their lives so that we may live in freedom.

Balancing life is never easy but rather an ongoing daily practice. Yesterday afternoon, as I was interval training (run/walk) on the treadmill, I was thinking how tired I was feeling. I had only been on the treadmill for 7 minutes but those 7minutes felt like an eternity.  I took a break from the treadmill to work with the weights and build some strength but even the weights felt heavier than usual. I thought at that moment that I would forgive myself if I quit after one set of bicep curls and went home. Surely, my body was telling me something if it was feeling tired.  Then I thought about those black skinny jeans hanging in my closet that were mocking me every time I looked at them.  It was only a year ago that I wore them and now they didn’t fit.  I thought about how great I felt when I wore them and how much more confident and carefree I was when my body was more muscular.  So here I am with weights in my hand barely making it through the first set of bicep curl to shoulder press exercises when I had an internal war raging in my head between quitting and forging on.  When you get to this point in the workout, what do you do? I knew I didn’t get enough exercise. (What? Isn’t 10 minutes enough?) But I also remembered that in the past, just doing the exercises that I liked best kept me going.  I prefer the treadmill to the weights so I enlisted the help of my iPod and turned up the volume to hear the beat of the music from my favorite songs. This trick helped me get in another 14 minutes on the treadmill and another set of strength exercises.  What would have been a 10 minute workout became a sweaty 30 minute one.  While it was not my usual hour long session, I was proud that I did not quit early and persevered.

photo credit: Elizabeth Gavino

The next time you want to quit from your workout, try the following tips:

  • Think about a goal and how you want to feel when you achieve it. It is not enough to say you want to fit into your bikini.  Saying that you want to feel sexy, confident, and strong are better motivators.
  • In your mp3 player, create an exercise mix with only music that pumps you up. Unless you are stretching, those 80s love ballads may not do much to get you to move faster.  You will want music with faster tempos.  If you want to find music according to a certain running speed, you can do an online search for “music at 5.0 mph” (or whatever speed you want) and many playlists with music at that pace will come up in the search results.
  • If a specific exercise is not doing it for you, immediately switch to an exercise you enjoy more to keep your motivation high.
  • Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, your body is just tired. Listen to it, rest it, and then try again later or the next day. There will be times that pushing may do more harm than good.
  • Get in more water. Dehydration can also cause your body to feel fatigued. Make sure to get your water intake in so you can have more energy!
  • Breathe more. Notice if you are holding your breath during certain exercises. Learning breathing techniques helps get more oxygen circulating in the body and will help you go further in your workouts.
  • Remember to have fun! Moving your body doesn’t have to be on a treadmill or in a gym. Go play tag or run in the sand.
  • There will be days that you will not want to work out and that is ok. The name of the game is to just move your body.  Walk the dog, take a leisurely stroll, play Frisbee.

Life is about experiences, so have a wonderful Memorial Day with your friends and family.  Enjoy!

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