A guide to working out when you’re exhausted

Struggling to find the motivation to workout? Whether you’re mentally or physically exhausted, we’ve got the best tips for mustering up the motivation to move.

With so much happening around us, it’s no wonder we’re experiencing rock bottom motivation when it comes to exercise. Energised today, exhausted tomorrow. Relaxed one minute, anxious the next. Enjoying the freedom to focus on yourself without pressure to socialise, only to crave a wine with a friend come 5 o’clock. It’s a whirlwind of emotions!

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Below, we round-up common feelings you’ve probably been experiencing and how to muster the motivation to get moving.

Are you mentally exhausted but also feel like moving?

The most steps you’ve done is from your desk to the fridge, but somehow, you’re beat? Don’t underestimate the energy draining impact of back-to-back Zoom meetings, constant phone calls, less face time and depleting news on rotation. If you’re feeling distracted or irritated, movement is actually the best thing you can do. But, easier said than done, right?

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If this sounds familiar…

Keep it simple: Avoid any form of exercise that’s mentally stimulating, like HIIT workouts, complex circuits and even rough terrain. That can all be saved for another day. Stick to simple workouts, ideally with fresh air, like a walk or run.

Take the pressure off: Now’s not the time to beat your personal best. Take the Fit Bit off and just embrace the movement. Listen to some chill tunes, forget your pace and just focus on moving your body.

fitness tracker

Take the fitness tracker off and just focus on moving your body.

Music is everything: Not just any playlist, the right playlist. Avoid intense drum and bass, instead stream songs that have a steady beat. The right music can totally transform your mood in seconds.

Your mind is ready but your body is tired?

So, you’re feeling mentally energised but your mind just ain’t communicating to your body. You feel like you’ve aged 10 years in one day: tired, sore and heavy.

In this instance…

Take it down a level: Instead of running, walk. Instead of a pilates, try yoga.

Engage the brain: Since your mind is switched on, now might be a good time to try something completely new. Set up a cardio drill outside or bodyweight circuit in the garage.

Workout with a buddy: If you’re feeling mentally up to it, engage in some socially-distanced walking. There’s nothing like exercising with a partner to put a pep in your step. If you’re not able to physically see a friend, lock in a time and give them a call. You’ll forget you’re even exercising.

workout with partner

Listen to a podcast: Take advantage of your mental frame and stream a podcast. Whether it’s a mindfulness audiobook or true crime pod, your active mind will be put to work.

You’re physically AND mentally exhausted?

We’ve all been here…most days. It’s totally reasonable and fair to feel deflated in times of uncertainty.

In these situations…

Take a rest! A rest day is just as important as working out.

Do something grounding: Instead of exercise in the traditional sense, do something that’s centering and more targeted towards mobility and/or wellbeing. Think stretching or meditation.

Invest in self-care: Run a bath, light a candle and just breathe. Or, if that all fails indulge in some guilt-free, trashy TV viewing. We always find that does the trick!

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