For those of us who frequent a group fitness gym or an equipment-based gym, our routines ground to an abrupt halt in March. Fast forward eight months to November and December of 2020, and some folks still have not made it back to their exercise routines. I truly believe that it is not a matter of whether someone CAN, it’s a matter of WILL—motivation, in the end.
I polled some of my clients (group fitness fans) on the “why” behind their break because the longer I do this—ten years now to be exact—I realize how very differently each person prioritizes exercise. And I am talking about any kind of break, not just the forced COVID break we all recently experienced.
Here are reasons people took breaks and then struggled to get going again:
“I slack every year between Halloween and New Year’s; I look at it as a little break for me, since I am consistent the rest of the year. But I regret it in January, every single time. This year I am going to be aware and keep moving in November and December. The ‘holiday 15’ aren’t worth it.”
“Motherhood! The ‘mom-guilt’ is real. I feel horrible for leaving my child to exercise.”
“Depression. Working out is the only thing I do for myself. When I don’t, it is tough on me mentally.”
“COVID and the quarantine stopped me in my tracks and mentally dragged me through the mud. Once things started opening back up, it still felt like we had one foot in quarantine and one foot in normal conditions.”
“Depression overtook my desire to do anything. Even though I knew what I needed, I couldn’t pull myself out of it. What finally brought me back to my fitness routine is my desire to feel good, physically and mentally.”
On the flip side, post-break, what is a motivating factor to actually get you to start again? You need to pick a reason to keep moving!
• I want to have energy again.
• I want to button my skinny jeans again.
• I want my depression to subside.
• I want to age well and keep healthy.
• I want to take back my body.
Don’t think about what you have to do (work out), think about what you will get if you do it. You will feel better, you’ll look better and your health will be better. This is one of my go-to motivating phrases that I say over and over.
It doesn’t matter WHY you walked in the doors today. Maybe it was to burn calories or to release stress; both are good reasons to show up. You will reap ALL the benefits when you exercise. Those who merely wanted a calorie burn also left stress-free and cleared their headspace. Those who walked in to burn off a bad workday also burned calories and got stronger.
Every week we see more and more people getting back to their fitness routines. If you’ve been lacking motivation to start again, know that you are not alone. Ask a friend to go with you. Start slow and steady. Do not compare yourself to the “you” you were a year ago. We’ve all gone through a bad year. You’ve got a chance to come out of it stronger. I’m cheering for you!