10 Common Workout Distractions and How to Rise Above Them

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Working out regularly is key to getting in shape and staying that way. I think we all know that. However, there are still plenty of workout distractions that seem to get us off track from time to time – sometimes a lot longer than we anticipated.

  1. Lack of Motivation. Ahhhh motivation. If you don’t have motivation you’re going to get nowhere. The challenging part is finding out what motivates you. Every person has a specific “something” that motivates them. You need to find what motivates YOU. Maybe you have a trip coming up, summer is just around the corner so you want a rockin’ beach body or maybe you want a body like your favorite fitness model or celebrity. I find that what motivates me most are motivational quotes and photos of fitness models. I’m a huge fan of vision boards and I have created two of them. They’re hanging in my basement – which is where I workout. You can view them here and here. They’re fun to make and I find that they work beautifully.
  2. Tired/Lazy/No Energy. This is probably one of the most common workout distractions. Feeling tired and lazy can sometimes be avoidable but not always. To stay energized and to avoid feeling sluggish, determine when your “prime time” is. For me, I’m a morning person. This is when I have the most energy so sometimes I really like working out in the morning. Others are night owls and prefer working out at night. You’ll never find me working out between noon and 2pm because that’s when I feel the most lazy during the day. I get a bit of an energy burst between 3 and 4 pm so sometimes I’ll workout around that time. If you aren’t able to workout during your “prime time” because of work or other obligations consider taking some caffeine prior to your workout to help increase your energy levels. Also, be sure you’re getting enough rest each night (7-8 hours) and eat a healthy, balanced diet.
  3. Kids. I know all about this one. Our house shelters 4 of these little creatures. And to be honest, it doesn’t always work out that we’ll be able to get a workout in. However, usually we can fit it in just fine. It helps that we workout at home in the basement and that’s also where we keep our children’s toys and things. They usually get excited when it’s “workout time” and will usually put together their own little workouts. It’s hilarious! If you aren’t able to workout at home and therefore need to find a sitter, consider asking your spouse, your parents or a close friend or family member to watch your kids. All you really need is about 30 minutes. If you workout at home and it’s still hard to workout with kids around, workout before they wake up, while they’re napping or after they go to bed. You can fit it in if you really want to.
  4. Work. Whether you work part time or full time, I know how hard it can be to find the time to workout. Once you get home you’re likely dead tired and don’t exactly feel like running or doing deadlifts. To solve this problem, consider waking up 30 minutes earlier.
  5. Crowded Gym. The times that gyms are usually the most busy are in the evening after most people are getting off of work, during lunchtime (11-noon) and in the morning. If possible, avoid these times. A crowded gym can slow your workout down drastically which is no doubt frustrating. If you can’t avoid the crowds, consider working out at home. There are plenty of exercises you can do with a pair of dumbbells, a barbell or even your own bodyweight.
  6. Mental Illness (i.e. Depression). Depression can make it feel nearly impossible to get the energy and motivation you need to get in a great workout. However, if you can force yourself to do it, you might find that your depression actually begins to improve. I’ve been on antidepressants while battling severe clinical depression and working out is the only thing that has ever worked for me. It’s my own little miracle cure.
  7. Being Sick (Flu, Cold, Allergies). If you’re battling the flu I wouldn’t worry about missing a workout. Simply ease yourself back into it once you’re feeling better. If you have a cold or allergies, it’s good to try and get moving – even if you just take a walk or lift a bit lighter than usual. At least you’ll be staying active and on some sort of schedule. Be sure to eat healthy and make sure you’re getting a good amount of vitamin C.
  8. Weather. Weather can be an interesting distraction. For me, if it’s cloudy and rainy it makes me wanna nap all the live long day. But, if it’s sunny? That doesn’t really always help either – especially during the spring and summertime which tend to be quite short where I’m from. If the weather is dreadful – take some caffeine and turn up the tunes and if it’s gorgeous outside ~ bring your workout outdoors. Take a jog around the neighborhood or bring the dumbbells out to your backyard, patio or balcony.
  9. Pregnancy. “I can’t workout, I’m pregnant”. This is pure BS. Unless you have a written notice from your doctor keeping you from working out for health reasons or because you’re at risk for complications, you can generally keep up your normal routine during the first few months of pregnancy. During the later months things will get tougher but you don’t have to quit moving or lifting weights. Commit yourself to regular cardio exercise and continue lifting weights as well. You may want or need to lighten the load a bit – which is completely fine, but don’t quit all together. Working out while you’re pregnant will save you quite a bit of work when you’re working to get back in shape after having the baby.
  10. Facebook (or the Internet in General!). The internet can be the devil. I cannot count how many times I’ve logged on to “just check e-mail quick” or “check my Facebook” only to waste a heck of a lot of time reading through every e-mail and/or post that wasn’t there the last time I logged in. For me, it’s like information overload when I get on Facebook. And wanna know what the kicker is? I’m never really any better off than I was before I checked everything. I really don’t wanna know that much. It’s so easy to get distracted while you’re on the internet. To help ensure that e-mail and Facebook and other “time wasters”  aren’t interfering with your workout schedule, vow to log on only after you’ve completed your workout for the day.

Don’t kick yourself in the ass if you miss a workout, just keep chugging along. Workout distractions are all around us and they’ll continue to creep up from time to time. However, it’s up to YOU to make the time for yourself to workout. Only you can hold yourself back from building the body you deserve.

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My name is Mindi and I'm an office manager and blogger living in Minnesota with my husband and our blended family of four children. Thank you for visiting Lifting Makes Me Happy! I fight depression and anxiety with healthy living and writing. I hope you are encouraged and motivated by the things I share here. I appreciate you stopping by!
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  1. Hi Melinda,

    I think this a great article on the major challenges many of of face in terms of getting our butts to the gym. I especially like the point you mention about wasting time on the internet (ironic, I know, as I’m typing this out right now…) and checking e-mail. I’m a chief offender in this case as well, and I know it’s definitely hard to resist especially when you get home from work or school and just want to unwind.

    As a potential solution, you mention perhaps vowing to check your sites only after getting in that workout. I would like to suggest an alternative to waiting for the workout to be done–that is, setting a time limit on your surfing or putting a cap the number of times you check your e-mail. Since I’m one who likes working out in the evening hours, waiting until my workout is done means I don’t get to answer social invitations or set up any quick plans with those who I typically contact via e-mail until the late hours of the night. Instead, I check my e-mail right away upon arrival at home to ensure that any important e-mails are attended to; I limit my e-mail checkage to once before I get everything else done that needs to be taken care of.

    For those of us just getting home after a long day, it’s totally natural to want to unwind and…check Facebook, check your g-mail, check the latest on People.com. As such, I try to limit my time “joy surfing”–Facebook creeping or gossip surfing–to a quick 5-10 mins as I’m making supper. It makes me feel like I’m both unwinding and multi-tasking, since once supper is ready, I’m maxed out on Facebook and have that social creeping “taken care of” until I can get a chance to do other pressing things, like get to the gym. I do agree that it’s easy to get carried away with the surfing, so I make it a point to say that by a certain time (6:10 pm, for example if I get in at 5:50), I’m closing the browser. However, this of course takes discipline, so if you’ve been known to go overboard with the surfing then perhaps it’s best to swear off the ‘net until you DO get your workout done, as you suggest.

    I do like the reward aspect you mention in vowing to surf only once you’re done; I think that’s a great way of thinking about it. “Reward” yourself with 10 minutes looking up celebrity gossip…only once you’ve done what needs to be done. I guess it is harder if you’re partial to working out late at night, but maybe it will motivate us late-runners to get our workouts over with earlier, even if we like being out late.



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