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How not to skip a workout

Skip one. Or several. Yes you heard me.

I think learning to not skip a workout comes from experience, not from remembering that great list of benefits that personal trainer wrote about once. When you really don't want to move, you have two choices. To get it done or not.

My advice is to take both actions and to treat it like an experiment, on yourself. But I was no good at science, I hear you say! Ah yes, but this is about YOU. It's about working out what makes you tick and then applying that knowledge to help yourself in the future.

So, first time you don't want to move, go do it. Make it easy and obvious to do - sleep in your sports bra, rope in a friend for your run etc, put your trainers unlaced right by the back door. Visualise yourself doing it and smile. Even though you really didn't want to do it, go get your sweat on.

The key part here is to record somehow what you find. You might jot a note on your phone, a document on your computer or a pen and paper.

  • What time did you go do it?

  • How did you feel afterwards?

  • How did you feel later in the day?

  • What sort of food choices did you make the rest of the day?

  • What was your sleep like that night?

Next time, repeat the experiment but without taking the action. You don't want to do the workout, so you don't. Now notice:

  • Did you tell yourself you were going to do it later? Did you actually find the time to do it later in the day?

  • How were your energy levels the rest of the day?

  • How was your mood?

  • How were your food choices and your sleep?

Compare the two sets of notes and observe - don't judge. What patterns are there? What worked for you and what didn't? Knowing what you do now, how can you make life easier for yourself in the future? What have you written down that provides evidence for the way you want to act and achieve your goals?

More often than not, I won't miss a workout now. I normally exercise first thing in the morning, because I've learnt (through countless times of not doing it) that I just won't do it if I put it off to later in the day. I've learnt to trust that I will feel better 95% of the time for having done it, and that helps me get through the initial pain/discomfort of having to do it. When you start out, the pain of the actual workout hides the benefits on the other side. You have to learn to trust the process and that comes from experience of it, not hearing about it.

Remember, when you do miss a workout, it's ok. What would actually serve you best right now? A valid answer is rest! Don't beat yourself about about it; pivot, adapt, evolve. The key is to not miss twice; aim for consistently imperfect. Go out and experiment humans! Be curious. And I'd love to find out what you learn about you.


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