When Exercise Becomes Depressing (or Boring), and What to Do to Fix It

We have all been there.

We want to exercise, and know we should, yet the desire isn’t there.

Every day you tell yourself that you will get a workout in tomorrow, but when tomorrow comes, you can’t get yourself motivated to actually “just do it.”

What once was the best feeling in the world, has now become the very thing you absolutely dread doing, no matter how disciplined you try to be. And by now, you’re probably wondering, “Where is the love!?”

Does any of this sound familiar?

If so, don’t panic. This simply means that somewhere along the lines, something went wrong. Because exercise should not feel like a dreaded chore you have to do in order to reluctantly check it off your to-do list.

Exercise–and this is only my opinion and what I whole-heartedly believe– should be the very thing you can look forward to. It should be liberating. It should be an opportunity to move your body out of pure love, joy, and appreciation for what it does for you every second of every day in your life. Not the latter. Exercise should not be the after result of a bad or unhealthy meal. It shouldn’t be something you force yourself to do only because you want to be “snatched.” And it definitely should not be done only because you need to torch some fat.

Trust me, I have been on my own weight loss journey for over 3 years now and I have done it all. And let me tell you– using exercise only for vain reasons always left me feeling unmotivated, tired, frustrated, and depressed.

I know some of you are like “Depressed? Really, Marie? You are taking it a bit too far.” But it’s true! Of course, there were other things that contributed to my depression (trust me as I say I am not claiming this mental illness. I am only stating what I was diagnosed with) but exercise played it’s own role in it.

You see, like many people, I started off strong in my journey. I ate the food. I did the workouts. I put in the time and patience. And yes, I got the results. But the problem in all this, which I didn’t see at first, was that I was doing all of these things only because 1) I was told to do it, and 2) it was what I learned would bring me the results I craved.

And it worked for a while. 3 years to be exact. But eventually, I ran into trouble. Eventually, that “dread feeling” started to creep in. And unfortunately–because I forced myself to do what I no longer enjoyed– it took a toll on my mind and body. This toll resulted in me gaining weight, hating exercise, losing myself (again, other things contributed to this as well), and eventually, not exercising at all for months.

But through trial and error, many failed attempts, and tears, I have gotten to a place where I enjoy exercise again and no longer do it out of vanity. I am nowhere near perfect, and still have my moments where those old ways try and creep in, but I have made progress. That is what matters most.

My hope is to share some of my tips with you lovely readers and that they will help you on your own journey to better health, fulfillment, and most importantly, enjoyment. So let’s get right to it, shall we? 🙂

  • REVISIT YOUR WHY

Remember that vision board you created before you started your journey? If you didn’t create a board, remember the thoughts and reasons you had before taking your first step towards weight loss? Well, it’s time to pull those things back out.

What were your thoughts behind wanting to exercise or lose weight? Are they vain and short-circuited? Meaning, is that “why” meaningful to keep you going even through the tough moments? Or is it the type of thing where you revert back to old habits once the goal is met? Getting to the root is crucial.

I’m not knocking the desire to fit into clothes more comfortably, having a 6 pack, or gaining a body that will “knock em’ dead” at all. Those are all valid reasons. But the question is though, are these reasons heart felt enough to sustain you life-long? If the answer is no, don’t worry. Chances are, you may need to go back to the drawing board, dig deep, and rewrite that why. Doing so will help you rediscover your love for exercise again.

  • INTENTIONS MEAN MORE THAN YOU THINK

Intentions are everything! Man, I seriously wish I thought about my intentions early on in my journey! I think doing so would have saved me from struggling so freakin’ much! But, I digress.

Why do you exercise? Better yet– to be more exact– why do you do the type of exercise you are currently doing? Remember, we are trying to get to the bottom of why you lost love for exercise or don’t enjoy it at all, so don’t be afraid to ask yourself the sometimes uncomfortable questions.

I admit, when I started my journey all I wanted were results, results, results. So of course, my intention behind the exercises I did reflected in my mood. I began creating an unhealthy mindset when it came to exercise by forcing myself to do something I didn’t want to do. All for the name of results. What I should’ve been doing instead is exercising my mind to kill that negative, vain mindset and listening to my body.

Don’t adapt to an exercise just because “so and so” said it got her results. Don’t do strength training just because you want a bigger booty. Especially if you know for a fact that you absolutely hate it. Trust me, it will backfire. Speaking of which– If you ever witnessed me promoting a particular form of exercise all for the name of results, I apologize! I definitely see the effects of doing a thing out of vanity and reaped the consequences. Believe me, I want you all to find what you enjoy and do it freely!

  • LISTEN TO YOUR BODY (MIND)

Sometimes, we all just need a good ol’ walk. But, do you think many people will actually do that? Short answer; nope. And I will tell you why.

For myself personally, there were plenty of days when I just wanted to go for a walk, or do something against the odds such as hike Stone Mountain or beast some stairs. But, the “results monster” in me always decided against it because it wasn’t “included in the plan” and I believed I wouldn’t be working hard enough. Again, this negative mindset is what led me to hate everything about exercise.

I say all that to say this– If you want to walk, walk! If you feel like running, do it! If you desire to swim even if no one wants to do it with you, by all means, put your big girl panties on and do what you wanna do! Because at this point, listening to those inner (good) desires is crucial to your success of sticking to a lifestyle change. Positive intentions go a long way!

  • GET YOUR MIND OFF OF FITNESS

    Everyone wants to look good, I get it. Trust me, I do. But it wasn’t until I got my mind off of results that I was able to find my love for exercise again.

Move to strengthen your body as a whole. Use it as a way to worship God for His grace of even giving you the ability to move in the first place.

Exercise isn’t and should not only be about numbers, calories burned, intensity, or used as a way to keep up with what “she’s” doing just because she found results. Because let’s face it, what works for her may not be the best for you, your body, or mind.

Exercise should be used as a tool to improve your body (heart, lungs, etc), enhance your mind (hello, endorphins!), and stem from a place of love, not hatred. In short, it should make you happy! I believe once we place our mind on exercise being a way to increase life-span, things will be much easier.

  • TAKE A BREAK, WHY DON’T YA’

Somewhere along the lines (especially amongst the #fitfam community) taking a break from exercise or the daily mundane routine is seen as weak, giving up, or failure. But, I am here to tell you that that isn’t true at all. Taking a break is highly necessary and should be encouraged.

Now, does it mean that because you are taking a break from exercise you have a pass to continually eat unhealthy or treat your body unkind? Why, of course not! This break should be used to either rewrite or reevaluate your motives/mindset behind exercise.

Take advantage of this break by going back to the things you enjoy doing– outside of exercise– such as: reading, writing, listening to music or podcasts, attending workshops, etc. And if you’re really bold, take a break from social media. I believe this step is crucial! You have to sometimes eliminate all noise in order to learn what is best for your body and mind. With that, will come a new, refound love for moving your body in a positive way, from a healthy mindset! ❤️

And there you have it! I pray these tips will help you get off the train of vanity and on the plane of self-love! Let’s fly high together!

In the meantime, what steps will you be taking to find your love for exercise again? If you’re already flying high, how did you get there? Let us know in the comments below!

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