Why You Can’t Stick To Your Workout

It is a lot easier to sit on your … couch, than to get up and move.

Chill-cat just chilling

Why is it so hard for some (maybe you) to find motivation to hit the box? You know you should, you’ve heard about all the benefits, and you tell someone at least once a week or two “yeah, I need to get back in the gym.” But when the rubber hits the road (or should I say when the butt hits the couch) you opt to do something else … what gives?

In my experience here are three general excuses for such exercise procrastination and how to fix them:

But seriously though…

1) You haven’t found YOUR motivation

Everyone’s reasons for wanting to get in shape are not the same, and until you find yours it will continue to be difficult to get the motivation to work out.

Some common motivators include aesthetics (wanting to have your body look a certain way), attraction (closely tied to aesthetics, you want to look a certain way to attract potential suitors), overall health, increasing your life span, sports participation, job requirements (e.g., police officers, firefighters, etc.), to fit into your clothes, and the list goes on and on.

You might not care at all about increasing your lifespan, but you desperately want to attract that girl who is into ripped guys. If this is the case, own it!

I can tell you that ultimately this isn’t a long term proposition, but who cares. If it gets you moving than we can fix your source of motivation later!

Point is, don’t just workout because someone tells you to – you should do it for your own reasons. But in order to find that reason you will need to be at least somewhat acquainted with the benefits of working out. Chances are you are already well aware.

Make your goals VERY specific, and try and attach some imagery to them.

Instead of just following everyone else’s motivation for working out, keep reminding yourself of yours. Post pictures, quotes, subscribe to blogs, whatever it is you need to do to constantly remind yourself of your goals and why. Make your goals VERY specific, and try and attach some imagery to them.

So next time instead of thinking about how working out “improves your health,” picture yourself happy and fit as a grandparent, able to play in the park with your grandchildren without getting winded.

2) Workout selection

This might indeed be one of the most easily fixed of all workout excuses. As CrossFitters, the constantly varied nature of our everyday WODs is awesome BUT even this variation gets old. Express your fitness by finding activities outside the box that you love to do.


Exercise doesn’t have to be boring.

The point is to just move. Find something that you enjoy that gets you moving. Examples include:

Team Sports (basketball, football, soccer, tennis, etc.)
Extreme Sports (rollerblading, freerunning, skateboarding, biking, skiing, rockclimbing, etc.)
Running (of all kinds, including distance running and trail running)
Calesthenics (bodyweight exercises are becoming increasingly popular)
Martial arts

Obviously the duration and frequency of your chosen exercise will need to be adjusted based on your level of fitness.

3) Poor planning

Poor planning has derailed many a workout, and indeed many fitness goals. Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Planning in advance alleviates excuses and can oftentimes give more motivation (e.g., it is harder to skip the gym when there are no excuses). Here are a few common planning errors and how you might fix them:

  • Unscheduled meetings/issues.

You know what I’m talking about, it is 4:30pm and your boss calls a 5pm meeting – the exact time your WOD was scheduled. Or your wife calls you while you’re on the way to the gym saying you are going to need to pick up the kids.

The best way to get around the unexpected issues of the day is to workout in the morning, before work. It’s hard for something to “pop up” when the sun hasn’t even risen. It has been shown that those that work out before work are more consistent than those that do not.

Can’t get up before the sun? Instead of scheduling exact days to workout you may need to just set a total time number of workouts. So if you miss out on one day, fine, make up for it by doing an extra one. It is not optimal, but it will do.
  • Forgetting your gear.

This one is the worst, especially if you do not realize until you are already at the gym. One way to tackle this is to leave your bag in the trunk after your workout. When you get home just run in and grab another outfit, but even if you forget to do this at least you have yesterday’s workout gear in the trunk.

You may not smell great (keep some body spray in your gym bag), but at least you can get your workout in. Another option is to leave your gym bag by the door. This way you’ll be reminded before you leave each day.

  • Injuries.

I am not saying to “work through the pain” but there are relatively few injuries/aches that cannot be at least worked around.

Your shoulder hurting? Fine, ask your coach for a different exercise if your WOD calls for shoulder work.

Strength work day and your ankle sore? Cool, bench press instead.

Always have a back up workout/plan in the case of prolonged aches and pains. Something is better than nothing.

  • Traveling.

Staying active on the road can be a challenge, but it is not impossible. A lot of hotels these days have fitness centers, look into this before choosing your hotel.

Alternatively you can look for gyms in the nearby area of where you will be staying and call them up in advance to check their policies for visitors.

No hotel gym or box nearby? Cool, look up a few bodyweight workouts online before you go. Plus, there’s always running (I know I know, running sucks).

Don’t let your health, fitness, and well being fall victim to lack of motivation. Be proactive, you’ve only got one body.

In addition to skating for over 13 years Michael Branch has gathered various other active interests along the way. He is a 3rd Degree Blackbelt in Kiyojute Ryu Kempo and has been weight training for over 8 years and recently found the awesomeness that is the CrossFit community. Michael also enjoys indoor rockclimbing and hates running, unless it is with his dog.  More at www.michael-branch.com

Workout 12.13.13:
Choose from: Row 2K for time; Make up missed strength,  or skill work.
“Nasty Girls”
50 air squats
7 Muscle ups (bar or ring)*
10 hang power clean 135/95
*Sub for muscle ups:  3 pullups/mu