Has this ever happened to you? When exercising is just not as appealing as it used to be? When self motivation becomes extraordinarily difficult? And even if you manage to drag yourself to the gym or out for a run, you can’t muster up the energy to push as hard or move for as long? Well I’m coming clean: this is what’s happening to me right now.
I honestly never thought it would. Ever since hitting college I’ve been an unstoppable workout tornado- enjoying and appreciating new workouts, becoming a certified instructor, and continuing to talk about health and wellness on my blog. And, for the record, my current workout rut hasn’t just lasted a few days, or even a couple of weeks- it’s officially been about 2 months (gasp!).
I started doing quick searches for “how to get out of a workout rut.” There are actually quite a few lists out there: 21 ways, 17 ways, 9 ways, etc (who decides on these numbers anyway??). Unfortunately for me most of these suggestions were ones I’ve already used. Rev up your workout playlist, exercise with a friend, switch up your workouts, blah blah blah. Not particularly helpful in my case.
But then I decided that what I really needed was to self reflect, and no website seems to touch on this point. I think it’s important to think about why one might be stuck in a workout rut. Because more than likely there is a reason. Once you dig deep down into your own fitness soul you can think about what you need to climb out of your hole.
So what’s my problem? Burnout. Actually, it may be more complicated than that. I was studying for my board exams roughly 12-15 hours per day from April to June and also studying 5-6 hours per day starting in January before that (thankfully, I ended up doing very well which made studying so worth it!). Because I don’t start my rotations until August 4th, I’ve been on vacation since early June. You’d think that with all of my free time I’d be ecstatic about getting to the gym every day, taking good care of myself, and resting up- but it’s been the exact opposite. On top of my post exam burnout, I’ve also had so much to celebrate this summer! From birthdays to anniversaries, family gatherings, and weekend getaways the constant eating, drinking, and being merry has really put a damper on my workouts. My weekends of social binging are followed by weekdays of watching inappropriate amounts of television.
But I realized something: this lifestyle is one I never get to indulge in. Being in medical school (and the medical profession in general) means that you don’t get to have social weekends. While everyone is picnicking, attending concerts, or going out to dinner, I am home studying. Of course, there are times when I can plan ahead, but it requires booking friends weeks in advance.
The conclusion of my self reflection is this: I need to be in a workout rut right now. And I’ve decided that’s okay. I’m okay with taking this opportunity to indulge in celebrations and social occasions and to make those things a priority. Because starting in August, I won’t be able to anymore. What I know about myself (and I think is true of many people) is that when I have more to do, I am also more motivated and efficient. I’m fairly confident that once I’m back into the swing of things with school I will also get back to exercising the way I used to. I’ll be moved to a completely new neighborhood which means joining a completely new gym. It will be a lot of change and I will come out of it on the other side feeling ready to delve back into my workout tornado.
So the moral of the story is that if you fall into a workout rut, take a moment to think about why you’re there. Maybe it’s something you need! Or maybe it really is because you just need a new playlist. If that’s the case, I’m leaving you with this gem of a song- techno meets classical meets Irish. It’s my current obsession: