Working out: Stay motivated even when spent

If you think that you need to be in a good mood to want to work out, you are not alone. For some reason, that is what most of us think while on the contrary, you work out more when you are angry or stressed. This is because there is a connection between how you feel and exercise.

“Stress can be directly correlated to one’s performance in workouts. But how these emotions translate in your workout tends to differ based on the person,” says Leah Lagos, a health and performance psychologist.

The rush of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin to the brain immediately after a proper workout, could explain why people use it to feel better. In this case, it is safe to say that your mental and emotional states affect your physical state. When you take a brisk walk or go for a jog, it provides some release. But it is not always black and white. You may be in a good mood already and working out amplifies that. On the other hand, it could elevate your mood when you are having a bad day.

Then of course there are those days you feel completely fine but you just cannot get yourself to hit the gym. It can feel like such a daunting task, especially during those chilly mornings when you ditch your sessions altogether for an hour of sleep.

Before you know it, it has been weeks since you moved a muscle. Unfortunately, that elusive motivation you are waiting for to come and ignite that fire won’t just show up. And not every day.

You must make it a part of your routine. No matter the weather or how you feel - unless you are unwell, get out of bed and have something to eat. Before you start you must also drink at least 500mls of water. This is because you cannot work out on an empty stomach.

Put on your gym wear and remind yourself of how good you will feel thereafter and what your body goals are. If the usual routine does not appeal to you at the moment, go for the familiar. Do what you love. That could be swimming or cycling in Karura forest, for instance. This will get you energised and you will look forward to doing your usual workout routine.

Do not forget to play some music to inspire you to want to move. You will be amazed at how an upbeat playlist can get you in the mood. And since you have just gotten back to it, you can keep the sessions short until you get your groove back.

There is a high likelihood you will want to carry on but if you do not at least you have already done it and that is all that matters at that particular time.