How to Stay Motivated to go to the Gym With a Busy Schedule


by Dee Pathak, Elite Personal Trainer

You know when you’re having one of those days when you just don’t feel like going to the gym or your favorite fitness class? Perhaps you’re exhausted from a rough day or just feeling too sleepy in the morning. How do you tell your mind to quiet up and just go to the gym? Inside we know it will be good for our health and we’ll feel better after those endorphins kick in, but we sometimes cannot seem to get our minds to say, “just go”.

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As a society, we are always on the go with our hectic schedules. It seems like things just keep coming up, making it feel impossible to add a little “you” and self-care time. Today, we may be taking our kids to their extracurricular activities, going to work, getting the groceries, doing housework, and making dinner for the family all in one day! On top of that, we are checking our emails and phones, watching TV, driving in traffic, and multitasking like crazy. How much over-stimulation do you think our minds get throughout the day? No wonder we are not motivated to go to the gym at times. The good news is there is something you can do about it every day to help.

Our bodies and minds are amazing and there is so much we can learn from them. Over the years, one thing I have tried to practice is having great self-awareness. This pretty much means taking a step back and listening to what your mind and body are trying to tell you. Easier said than done when life is so busy, right? Most people think of doing some sort of meditation or going to a yoga class to get in tune with their mind, body, and spirit. But as we know, this also takes “time” out of our packed schedules. Probably why many people today are not partaking in these practices regularly. But what if you could add some self-reflection time every day with little effort? 

Taking a step back and being aware simply means to stop what you’re doing, be present in the very moment, breathe, listen, and feel. Maybe it is 11:00 am and you just finished a meeting at work that ran later than usual. You then get a call from your spouse about picking up groceries on the way home while you’re staring at a load of work you still have to complete before the workday ends. You can feel the stress building, however, you push it behind and get on social media for a brief moment just to get a burst of excitement. Sound familiar? I know I have been guilty of this myself! Our brilliant brains continue to go on autopilot and do a great job at taking it all in like a champ without really thinking about how much it may be affecting our motivation to go to the gym after work.

So, what can we do to help our fatigued minds to just “chill”? Maybe after the meeting, taking a mini walk outside for a little fresh air, or take two minutes to close your eyes and focus on your breath before returning to your work. These simple tasks could be all you need to relax and reduce stress hormones throughout the day. One thing I recommend to my clients is doing a mini exercise circuit workout for 5 minutes to boost their endorphins instead of checking social media. It is a healthier and less fatiguing choice for the mind, and you will fulfill the physical needs that your brain is likely craving. That boost of energy and happy hormones will counteract your stress and fatigue.

Taking a moment to breathe will also allow you to sense if you’re tired or your body is aching. This may lead to a realization that maybe you are not getting enough sleep or rest at night. If that is the case, it’s probably contributing to your lack of motivation. Having a mini nap in the afternoon could be enough to clear your mind and get you into that 7:00 pm BodyPump class. 

Many times when we are on-the-go, we forget to practice self-awareness; however, taking initiative and changing our habits can go a long way. Taking some time to focus on you throughout the day can really help to keep a healthy lifestyle long-term. Ask yourself some questions, like “Did I sleep enough last night?”, “How was my diet today, and do I feel good after eating that?”, “Am I stressed or anxious right now?”, “What is my emotional state?”, “How many hours was I staring at my phone, computer, or watching TV?”, “Is my body aching and sore?”, “Would a nap help my energy levels?” One of the biggest and deepest questions you can ask yourself daily is, “What is my ‘why’ for even going to the gym? Is it worth it to skip today?”


As cliché as this sounds, life is going to continue to have its ups and downs, but I really do believe it is about finding your flow and figuring out what works best for your body and mind on a daily basis. You have the control to change and add healthy habits to your lifestyle. Taking time to be self-aware and taking action to fulfill your individual needs will help you stay motivated. Train your mind and body similarly – they both need a challenge, rest, and patience!


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