11 Ways to Get Yourself Back in the Gym


Ed Mitchell, Fitness Coach

Ed Mitchell, Fitness Coach

The flowers are blooming, the sun is shining and the days are getting longer. Summer is near, and it’s the perfect time to get back into shape!

But how do you get yourself out of a workout slump after a long, cold winter? How do you pick yourself back up after you’ve gotten home and kicked off your shoes after a long day of work? And most of all, how do you turn your nose up to the constant stream of cupcakes being passed by your cubicle?

We met with fitness coach Ed Mitchell to answer alllll of the above, and this is what we learned.


1. Set an intention, not just a goal

Be as reflective as possible and ask yourself what is my “why”?

Your goal might be to wear a certain bikini or lose ten pounds, but going a level deeper and setting an intention will be a better motivation and stronger foundation when you’re tempted to take a day off from the gym or when somebody says, “let’s go to the bar,” and everyone’s eating cheese fries and getting cocktails.

Going that level deeper holds a little bit more weight. Try something like this instead: “I want to look great for my husband or wife when I’m wearing my bathing suit on vacation” or, “I get in shape because I feel my best when I know I look good, not to mention I am more energized and creative when in shape.”

2. Do what you love

For some people, it’s running. For others, it’s dance. If you’re able to find what you love, like taking a zumba class if you love to dance, that’s the first place to start because you can get yourself moving and break yourself out of a routine.

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3. Identify what motivates you

Are you intrinsically motivated or extrinsically motivated?

If you’re extrinsically motivated, post a picture of that bikini somewhere, so if you’re at a point where you don’t feel like going to the gym, that bikini is looking at you versus you looking at it. It becomes a kick in the butt.

If you’re intrinsically motivated, channel that “feeling tone” of the accomplishment you’ll feel from attaining your goals or the gratitude you’ll feel from honoring your body.

Even though we can get shamed into thinking it’s not, your body is the most beautiful part of you. How are you showing up to honor it?

If that’s not motivation enough, think about it this way. It’s your god-given right to move, and a sedentary lifestyle isn’t natural. By passing on exercising, you’re basically giving up on one of your god-given rights. That makes exercise feel a little more intriguing, doesn’t it?

Those feelings will drive you a long way when you know it’s time to go to the gym.

4. Make it habitual: Practice BLISSIPLINE

Discipline has a negative feeling behind it that can literally push you away from something that’s good for you. Blissipline is meant to reframe the negative connotation that people have with discipline because you want to find a way to practice something enough times that it becomes blissful, and not only blissful but habitual, where you’re working out so often that it feels strange if you don’t.

Once you’re able to reframe your feeling tones, it’s about practicing “blissipline”, where you go from, “Ah! I’m dreading this (even though I know I’m supposed to do it)” to something that you’re doing because you’re disciplined but also enjoy doing it.

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Intention (“Why”) + Feeling Tone (How you’ll feel afterwards) = Blissopline

I’ve always believed that 21 days creates a habit. You’ll feel stronger on the outside, but more importantly, feel stronger on the inside. Sometimes it takes more than 21 days to see physical results, but when you get into that routine of the first 3 weeks or so, you get into a routine of continuing to drive forward towards your goal.

Routine first, physical changes later.

It’s also better to work out on the same days at the same times if possible so it’s already in your schedule, set in advance. he way memory works, having that time set in stone, your mind gets used to it and your body follows.

5. Reflect and reframe

Pay attention to how you’re feeling and reflect on what’s causing any negative feelings. If you’re feeling unmotivated or tired, ask yourself why. How have you been eating? What’s going on with your life outside the gym?

From there, it turns into reframing. If you’ve had a horrible week full of conference calls and a growing to-do list that never seems to be complete, ask yourself what you’ve accomplished this week. If the answer is “Nothing.” Well, that makes your workout the time to accomplish something.

Try this mantra: “Let’s get back on the wagon”

Reflect on your feelings of, “I’m just not feeling motivated.”

Why is that coming up for you, and how many times is it reappearing? That’s just a story you’re running with – let’s reframe it and get back on the wagon.

6. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot before you even start

Choose 2-3 days you know you can commit to going to the gym. When people try to start off going everyday, they’re starting off way too strong, and then it becomes self-defeating if they feel like they can’t make it.

Dedicate 2-3 days and be realistic with your goals. If you’re not a morning person, realistically saying you’re going to get up at 5am and go to the gym isn’t sustainable. Instead, try to work it into your evening. Going to the gym for 45 minutes after work in the evening 2-3 days a week is the perfect way to jumpstart your workout routine.

And start slow. If you immediately put your foot on the gas pedal, you’re gonna run outta gas, it’s just a natural thing. For some people, you gotta crawl before you walk. Don’t just try to jump back in and sprint full speed. It can deter you from going back sometimes.

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7. Ask for help

Sometimes people feel unsafe or insecure asking for help if they haven’t worked out in two years, or they’re feeling insecure in their body. But being able to say “I need help” can break you out of that slump.

At the office, when people are bringing in candy or cupcakes, you may side-eye them a little bit because you feel like they don’t understand your goals, but if you haven’t expressed your goals out loud, “I’m working to lose 10 pounds, this is my goal,” they’ll never get the hint to stop swinging by your cubicle offering those cupcakes.

That also helps bust you out of a slump, especially when you don’t eat well. It’s all about acknowledging that you need to lose weight and voicing that to other people. It can be hard.

8. Find an accountability partner

Whether you exercise with them or not, find someone you feel comfortable enough with to share your goals and hold you accountable. It could be a spouse, co-worker, friend, family member or trainer!

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9. You can’t manage what you don’t measure

If you’re trying to eat healthy or change your diet, know your baseline first. Measure what you’re eating before you set a goal.

Say you want to start eating 1,200 calories a day, what is your current baseline? You can create a really big delta if you were eating 3,500 calories before. Cutting to 1,200 is something that could be unrealistic, but you won’t know unless you measure it.

Keeping a food journal or tracking what you’re eating is a good way to measure progress.

If you’re getting ready for that beach vacation, and you’re also journaling your food from a standpoint of keeping yourself accountable, looking at your journal and seeing that you ate those cupcakes becomes a mental cue, “Am I really working towards my goal of wearing that new swimsuit for my intention of having my best vacation ever?”

It’s like your homemade accountability partner.

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10. Be prepared. Meal plan.

When you’re starting to eat healthy, having it written out helps. Creating a meal plan for the week is a pictorial way of saying to yourself, “This is what I am going to eat today,” so when someone brings in cupcakes, that throws off what you’ve already set in your consciousness about what you were going to eat. Pack your food and have healthy snacks at your desk, like almonds.

11. MOST OF ALL: Be real with yourself.

Getting summer ready is feeling safe enough to be real with yourself. If you’re real with yourself, your goals are driven by you.

When magazines say, Get your summer body or Get summer-ready, they’re promoting somebody else’s motivation for you and not your own. Feel safe enough to get in touch with yourself, so you’re the one defining what “getting summer-ready” even looks like.

Follow Ed @edmitch21 or email him at edward@purposehealth.org if you want him to help you jump start your fitness routine or take your fitness abilities to the next level!

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