Do you dread exercising? Maybe you need to switch things up! Sharing 3 signs that your exercise routine isn’t working for you and what to do about it!
Can’t find the motivation to work out? Is your body tired? Is shame and guilt driving you to exercise? Do you feel depleted after working out? Do you feel worse about your body after?
Yep, we’ve all been there. And our culture has normalized feeling like this. It’s conditioned us to believe that we are the problem – we just need to work harder.
But what if the exercise routine is the problem?
Because you feel depleted after your workout, doesn’t that defeat the purpose of the workout? Exercise should energize you, lift your mood / spirits, help you feel empowered, and clear your mind.
Exercise should support you in feeling better physically and mentally, not worse.
So if you’re not feeling uplifted by your exercise routine, maybe it’s time to switch it up. Here are 3 signs to look out for:
1. You’re depleted afterwards.
If you’re feeling depleted, exhausted, or lightheaded after a workout, this means the exercise is either too intense and/or you’re not fueling yourself adequately before or after.
Exercise should energize you, not deplete you.
Take an energy inventory before and after your next workout. Rate your energy levels on a scale from 1-10. Notice how you feel. If your energy level is lower after your workout than it was before you started, that’s data that something needs to change.
If you’re feeling depleted, try lowering the intensity or decreasing the duration of your workout. Try having a pre- and post-workout snack if you’re not already.
If your body has little to no fuel and yet you want it to exert energy, it’s like trying to drive a car with no gas in the tank. The car is going to give out. So will your body.
A post-workout snack should have a combination of carbs (to replenish energy) and protein (to repair muscle). Some examples might include: yogurt parfait, fruit smoothie with protein powder, chocolate milk, avocado toast with hemp seeds, toast with peanut butter, and cheese and crackers.
2 . You feel worse about yourself after.
Sometimes an exercise routine might not be working because of the culture and environment you’re exercising in, not the movement itself.
Have you ever worked out with an instructor who focuses on getting a six pack, getting “bikini ready”, working off your lunch or earning your dinner?
Maybe you’ve worked out with a trainer who posts before and after pictures of their clients and is focused on weight loss.
Maybe you’ve worked out with an instructor who goes on and on about their own weight loss journey and what “worked for them.”
Maybe the gym you work out at lacks body diversity. Maybe there are posters on the wall that say things like “no pain, no gain.”
It’s important to notice how the culture of the studio or gym you go to makes you feel. And how the instructors or trainers themselves make you feel.
Because let me tell you, shame is NOT a motivating force. Research will back that up.
And yet all of these examples will likely elicit some shame. Shame you aren’t “bikini ready”. Shame that you aren’t an “after picture.” Shame that you haven’t found something that’s “worked” for you.
You deserve to move your body in a space that feels inclusive and welcoming. You deserve to move your body with instructors that are empowering and affirming.
You should feel empowered after exercise, not riddled with guilt or shame.
If you’re feeling guilt or shame, try out a new instructor or trainer. Try out a new gym or studio. This can make a huge difference in how you feel about your movement.
3. You dread working out.
It’s normal to lack motivation some days to exercise but if you’re always dreading working out, it might be a sign to dig a little deeper to get curious about why that is.
What is your intention to exercise? If it’s to lose weight or to shrink your body, you might lack motivation because you’re not seeing “results.” Or if that’s the intention, you might be choosing types of exercise that you don’t really enjoy.
You might choosing a type of movement because you think you should, not because you want to.
Let me ask you a couple questions:
If I could wave a magic wand and from here on out there is no chance that any exercise or movement you do will change your body shape or size, would your exercise routine change? Would you change the types of movement you do?
What types of movement did you enjoy as a kid growing up? Did you rollerblade? Swim? Dance? Could you revisit a form of movement that used to bring you joy?
Movement can be joyful if you give yourself permission to move to feel good in your body, not to shrink it.
Perhaps you can experiment with a new type of movement / exercise. Something you haven’t tried in a while. Notice if that changes how you feel beforehand. Is there less dread? Is there more motivation?
Let me know if any of these resonated with you in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!