Unmotivated? This Is What The Sweat Trainers Do

Erin Fisher Author Image
Erin Fisher

February 22, 2024 - Updated February 22, 2024

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As much as we would all love to be full of motivation every day of the year, energy and inspiration just don’t work that way and it’s completely normal to feel unmotivated from time to time.

For many of us, motivation spikes big time in January. The dawn of a new year brings a spike of fresh energy and encouragement that gets you up, moving and chasing your resolutions without a second thought. We know it’s real  - we see your workout numbers skyrocket! If you live in the northern hemisphere, you might find that midyear taste of summer and sunshine can add some serious pep to your step. 

But what are you supposed to do when you’re feeling unmotivated? When the new year hype wears off, it’s cold and dark outside, or there is simply zero pep in your step? We asked the Sweat trainers what their go-to tactics are for when their own motivation is wearing thin, and it might surprise you - none of them push through and smash out a killer workout when they're really not feeling it. Here’s what they do instead.

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Do it for your mood

If your fitness routine feels like a chore, good luck feeling motivated to stick with it. We all have days where we’re not feeling at the top of our game, but if your workouts have been feeling stale and uninspiring for a while, it’s time to make a change, and focusing on how it feelsis a clever strategy.

“Stop and reassess,” says Katie Martin. “Think about what training you actually like doing. What actually excites you? What actually can you be consistent with? It’s very easy to get caught up in what is trending on social media or what your peers are doing, but sometimes you need to change up what you are doing to fall in love with movement again. This may be something less conventional like hiking, swimming, tennis, or even pickleball.”

Kelly MacDonald also loves to focus on the effect exercise will have on her mood and hormones, especially if she’s in a stage of her menstrual cycle when she’s feeling flat. 

“There will always be days where the motivation to move doesn’t come so easily, especially around days 15-28 of your cycle. Reminding myself of the benefits of even a 15-minute workout on my mood, hormones and overall health helps me get off the couch or out of bed and get moving. Whether it be a short low-intensity workout or a nice walk outside. I never regret moving my body, no matter what intensity I choose.”

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Make movement bite-sized

Kickstarting your energy and motivation when you’re feeling uninspired doesn’t have to mean starting a 12-week program or committing to multiple lengthy workouts each week. Start small and build from there!

“My answer definitely turns into a plug for my Daily 10 Challenge!” says Britany Williams. “When I’m unmotivated, I set a timer for 10-15 minutes and just do a quick bodyweight workout, which is exactly what The Daily 10 Challenge is.” 

“I find that stripping away the pressure of doing an intense or long workout gives me permission to ‘just move.’ And if you string together enough days of ‘just move,’ you’ll eventually build the habit back up again and the motivation to be consistent with longer workouts comes naturally again!”

Join forces

Revving up your motivation engine isn’t something you need to do alone. Having someone to laugh with, make sure you’re showing up for yourself and to cheer you on mid-workout can be a game-changer. 

“When it’s hard to overcome a slump, one of the best things you can do is grab yourself a workout buddy and hold each other accountable! Research says you achieve your goals a lot faster if you have someone to do it with,” Kelly explains.

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Shake things up

Let’s be clear - the routine or goals you created one, two or 12 months ago do not need to be the same things you pursue tomorrow. You can change your trajectory, routine or environment at any moment if they no longer excite you, or take things to another level if your previous goals have become habits.

“When I’m unmotivated, I switch it up,” says Laura Roberts. “Change programs or do something you wouldn’t normally do to get yourself moving again and change your routine up. Whether that be a group fitness class, a new program, a new cardio style, or taking up a sport. I also find getting outdoors and changing my environment so helpful. I recently went through this myself and although I normally train at 10:30 am, I started waking up at 6 am instead and getting myself to the gym at 7 am to surround myself with new people and a new training environment.”

Shaking up your goals can also provide a new, more motivating roadmap. The best fitness routine is one you can sustain, so go for things that genuinely make you want to move. There are also plenty of new and improved goal-based challenge programs available in the Sweat app if short-term goals work best for you.

“Now that we are a few months into the year it may be time to sit down and make some fresh goals,” says Katie. “At the beginning of the year this may have been to move every day or eat some more home-cooked meals. If these goals are now habits, it is very normal to feel bored or unmotivated. In that situation, it might be a case of stepping it up rather than pulling back. Look for a challenge and strive for something great!”

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Reset your perspective 

Whenever working out feels like a drag, it can help to remind yourself of how lucky you are to be able to move your body in the first place - especially if you’re able bodied, injury-free and in full health. For Kelly, looking at movement through a lens of gratitude can be a powerful tool to mentally shift her next workout from a bore to a blessing. 

“I remember so vividly what it was like to be injured as a gymnast and not being able to move my body in the way that I wanted to was absolute torture. So when I feel like I don’t want to work out or go to the gym, I just remember that feeling and think - I don’t have to move my body, I get to move my body. How lucky I am to be able to move how I like and for it to be extremely beneficial for my body. This flips the switch every time!”

Ride the wave

If you’re in a motivation slump and can’t seem to get yourself out, don’t beat yourself up. Try to move your body in achievable ways each day, but also give yourself permission to take some time to rest or reset if that’s what you need the most. A dip in motivation often happens when you’re tired or stressed, and some downtime can be the crucial ingredient to getting your mojo back. 

“I think it’s important to take the pressure off yourself and know this is so normal and happens to all of us,” Laura says. “I like to ride the wave out, still get some sort of movement in, but know I’ll get back to my normal self soon.”

Sweat is about so much more than your workouts

Feel your best - inside AND out

Getting your motivation back doesn’t have to mean going down the “no pain no gain” pathway. There are plenty of other avenues the Sweat trainers use that can revitalise your routine, mindset and energy levels. Movement is still movement, no matter what shape, pace or frequency it takes!

Erin Fisher Author Image
Erin Fisher

Erin is a writer and editor at Sweat with years of experience in women's publishing, media and tech. She's passionate about the power of movement, and you can often find her on a yoga mat, a hike, a dance floor, in the ocean or the gym.

* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.


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