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Stuck in a fitness rut?

Ashleigh Went

We’ve all been there… you’re working out, making progress with your fitness goals, having a great old time – until suddenly… you’re not. Progress stalls, those workouts constantly feel like a chore and it’s getting harder and harder to lace up your sneakers and get out the door.

Before you throw in the towel and consider a career as a professional couch potato, here are some tips to get out of your fitness rut and actually enjoying your fitness journey:

Switch up your routine

I recently swapped my evening workouts for morning sessions and it’s been a total game changer. I realised that my 6:30pm group PT session just did not work with my schedule. Rather than feeling excited for my workout, I started to resent my time at the gym because it meant that I wasn’t home to prepare an eat a meal with my better half, or get in adequate down time before hitting the hay.

I swapped to morning workouts and I’m absolutely loving it. Now I can prioritise my workout as the first thing I do in the day, it doesn’t get in the way of my social life, and best of all I have plenty of free time in the evenings to relax.

I’m certainly not saying morning workouts are for everyone – each of us have different family and work commitments, priorities and circumstances. If you find that the time you’re working out is disrupting your schedule rather than working in with it, maybe it’s time to reorganise that diary and make your workout work for you.

Trust the process

Fitness and nutrition has gained enormous popularity, with new fitness activities popping up everywhere. This is great because it means that fitness is accessible to everyone and that there is a huge variety of activities/programs/plans available. However, it can also be very confusing and overwhelming, and lead to a lot of doubt.

Just when you sign up to a new activity or  program, you read a blog post or hear a story from a friend touting the benefits of a new activity. Suddenly, you’re doubting your choice. Maybe you’d get better results from this new one?

The problem with this is that it can leave you jumping from one program to another to another, meaning that you don’t give the original one enough time to actually give you results.

Sometimes you just need to knuckle down, give something a proper go and trust the process.

Try a new activity

That being said, maybe you’ve spent a few months with your current approach and you’re finding it’s just not your jam – either you’re not getting any results or you’re just not enjoying it anymore.

Rather than giving up and doing nothing, consider trying a new activity. Even small switches can make a big difference. If for example you’re heading to the gym and just slogging it out on the treadmill, why not pick up some weights? Or even try some intervals on the rower? Group fitness classes are an excellent way to get a ‘taste’ of a new activity. If the gym isn’t for you, you could also try a social sport or join an outdoor bootcamp or running group. The more you try, the greater chance that you’ll find something you absolutely love.

Get some accountability

I know personal trainers who train with other personal trainers, and nutritionists who enlist the services of other nutritionists. Why? Because even people who are equipped with all the knowledge and skills that they need, there’s one thing that they can’t provide for themselves: accountability.

If your budget is a little tight, you don’t necessarily need a professional for this. Why not choose a friend to be your “accountability buddy”? Someone who you can report back to with how many times you exercised this week, your results and your progress.

I’ve even found that logging my activities in my diary can help create this sense of accountability. Rather than living in denial about when I last worked out, it’s there in black and white. Some people use social media for this purpose too – posting meals and workouts not only keeps you accountable to yourself, but also means that other people are witnessing your journey too.

A sense of accountability might be just the ticket if you feel like you need a little push.

Remember your “why”

Most people don’t start exercising for no reason. Whether you started for enjoyment, to get some more energy, for better mental health, stress reduction, or vanity (that’s ok too!) remember your “why” and think of it every time you consider bailing on a workout.

If your “why” isn’t working for you anymore, or you can’t remember why you started in the first place, why not get a new one? Find a reason, write it down and refer back to it to stay motivated and on track.

Track your progress

It’s easy to feel like you’re not making progress if you’re not actually tracking your progress. I know lots of ladies like to measure how “in shape” they are by things like the way their clothes fit, however that fails to take into account improvements in performance. Even if you’re not exercising for performance, it’s hard to deny the feeling you get when you can lift a few more kilos, nail that yoga pose or shave a few minutes off your 5km run. Making a note of how you’re performing can be motivating when you feel like you’re not making progress.

If you have a body composition goal like losing body fat or ‘toning up’/gaining muscle, having some kind of metric in place can really help. Our perceptions of our bodies can vary greatly from one day to the next, so having some kind of way of tracking this, like getting a DEXA or body scan for body fat percentage or muscle mass, hopping on the scales, taking measurements with a measuring tape is a lot more reliable and helpful rather than relying on what you see in the mirror.




Ashleigh Went

Ashleigh Went has a passion for all things health and wellness. She’s currently furthering her studies in nutrition, but also has a Bachelor of Communication and is a qualified fitness instructor with over five years experience working in a gym. Among other things, she’s a lover of great food, coffee and fashion. She can usually be found shopping for activewear, in the gym or updating her Instagram @wentworthavenue More about the Author