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How to beat lethargy and get your workouts in

“I’m just too tired”

“When I finish work I just don’t want to move”

“I always want to nap”

“I can’t get myself off the couch” 

At this point into the pandemic, I’ve spoken with hundreds of people about their struggles with staying active. Yes, hundreds. I’ve heard the same phrase so many times, that I even decided to create a spreadsheet and keep track of it. The #1 response I hear most often is “I’m just too tired to do it. I can’t find the energy”.

Here’s the thing though: many of the folks I talk to used to be very disciplined gym goers, but despite their best efforts, they haven’t been able to work out consistently anymore. It’s become very clear that the lockdown has severely disrupted our routines, and the mental challenge of creating new ones can feel impossible. 

Now, I’m not here to tell you to suck it up and do it anyway. The feeling of lethargy after a stressful day of Zoom meetings from your desk or couch is strong enough to prevent even the most motivated of people from working out. I feel you. I too have given into the comforting temptation to turn on Netflix after work and lay there zoning out, unable to fathom doing even starting a workout warm up. 

But I am here to tell you this: there IS a way to beat this and get into the groove. And I know the answers, because I also talk to members on the daily who are crushing fitness and even in the best shape of their lives. And no, they’re not any more motivated than you are. 

  1. Go to bed early. 

It’s not sexy, it’s not a huge secret, it’s very simple, but it’s damn effective. Set a reminder on your phone to start winding down around 8/9pm, and get into bed before 10:30pm. The first week will be difficult but after a while your body will adapt to this new routine and falling asleep earlier will come naturally. This sets you up for a proper amount of sleep, and energy throughout the next day. 

  1. Work out first thing in the morning.

Everyone is tired in the morning! Even Mat Fraser! Get yourself out of bed, grab some coffee and/or a banana, and hop in a workout class. The first 10 minutes will be rough. But once you’re at it, you will feel great and you won’t have whole day’s baggage weighing you down. No matter how the rest of your day goes, you’ll have accomplished something huge.

  1. Eat every 3-4 hours. 

Of course you’ll feel lethargic after your work day if all you’ve eaten that day is a bowl of cereal. Prepare food ahead of time and have healthy snacks readily available so that if things get busy, you can still stay fueled throughout the day. Conversely, be mindful of eating too much (especially a meal full of  processed carbs) too close to your workout time. Nobody feels like moving after eating a burger or drinking a frappuccino.  

  1. Go for a “wake up walk” before an afternoon or evening workout

Starting is the worst part. Especially after a long work day.  So “start” by going for a walk. Think of it as a nice break. Put on your favorite song and head out the door. Slowly wake up the body after a period of sitting by going for a brisk walk. When you’re back, your blood will be flowing, heart rate is up a bit, and getting into your warm won’t feel so bad. Bonus: the cold Toronto air helps make this process even more effective! All you need is 5-10 minutes. 

When you start implementing these habits into your life, you’ll gain control over your energy levels and the motivation to work out will no longer be such a huge struggle.

 I’ve watched it happen with clients time and time again throughout this pandemic.
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