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Four Ways To Stop Skipping Workouts

I love lifting and working up a sweat, but sometimes I just really, really, really don’t want to go to the gym. We’ve all been there; even those among us who identify as gym-junkies and fitness fanatics have had periods when getting to the gym was the absolute last thing we wanted to do. Sometimes that feeling is a message: It could be time to rest, recover, or reduce the intensity with which we exercise. But other times it’s just…resistance.

Sometimes the resistance that stands between us and our fitness is thick and relentless. I think there are lots of excuses, and many of them are extremely valid. But sometimes it’s not a matter of excuses at all—just a matter of fighting resistance, making things more realistic, and removing obstacles that stand in the way of us and our workouts. Thankfully resistance can be overcome, and here are four strategies to help.


The oldest tool in the anti-resistance toolbox is also one of the most effective: Ask other people to hold you accountable. This can be done by hiring a personal trainer, signing up for a class, having a gym buddy, or simply asking a loved one to hold you to your intentions. With the wonders of modern technology, we can even look to devices and online communities for accountability. Exercise trackers such as FitBits, apps such as My Fitness Pal, and online communities such as Facebook groups are effective and alternative methods of increasing accountability.

The Path of Least Resistance

If resistance is the issue, it makes sense to take the path that involves as little of it as possible. Schedule your day to include your workout and in turn you won't feel the resistance as much.

  • If evening exercise is the aim, keep your gym bag in the car so that instead of going home after work, you go straight to the gym.

  • If early morning exercise is the aim, sleep in your gym clothes or lay them out the night before.

  • Try to find a gym that’s close enough to your home or place of work that getting there isn’t inconvenient.

  • Consider keeping some fitness equipment at home, such as kettlebells, ropes, or bands.

If you can create a situation that involves fewer external obstacles, you’ll increase your likelihood of overcoming resistance.

Minimum Effective Dose

Part of what keeps so many of us from committing to a consistent fitness routine is the misunderstanding of what that has to entail. While it’s nice to be able to commit to an hour long training session when time allows, this isn’t always possible. Because of that we fall into the trap of thinking that if we can’t do a full hour training session, we might as well not do it all.

Minimum effective dose is the smallest or shortest amount of something you can do while still eliciting a positive response. So rather than commit to hour long workouts, consider 30 minutes or even less. If all you’ve got is 10 minutes, use those 10 minutes to move—because yes, it counts.

Consistency is more important than perfection. If perfection is the goal, we’ll rarely reach it. By setting ourselves up to only go to the gym if we have plenty of time, we’re setting ourselves up for failure. If we set out to move consistently, regardless of the length of the workouts, we’ll be more likely to create a sustainable, long term habit. A brisk walk or just 15 minutes of yoga can be highly effective when consistency is the intention, because the more consistently you move, the more movement becomes your norm.

Reframe Your Reasons

When we stress and obsess over the reasons behind our pursuit of fitness, it can often be difficult to step into a space of ease and adaptability. We wind up making things feel very serious, and in the process can bump up against a mountain of resistance. But if we can learn to move for the sake of movement, to view fitness as a means of self-care and a method of honoring our bodies, we can begin to overcome this resistance. Take the “shoulds” and the “musts” out of fitness, and ask yourself instead: What do I actually enjoy? What makes me feel alive? How can I move in a way that honors my energy levels, my preferences, and my limitations?

inherent desire to move.

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