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What to do when you don’t want to exercise

Sometimes it helps to push through even if you don’t feel like exercising, says Betty Doyling (File photograph)

If you try to work out on a consistent basis — especially high-intensity workouts — you’re totally going to have days that your body just doesn’t feel amazing.

You may be feeling stiff or sore, you may also feel fatigued, as if you got run over by a huge truck. Unfortunately this cannot be avoided and everyone who gives it their all will have this experience at some point in their life.

If you want to continue your progress in your training schedule, it’s imperative to get the work in, but recovery is also very important. You don’t want to compromise your results by pushing past your limits if your body is telling you to rest.

However, long-term recovery habits need to be considered. It’s also necessary to devise a plan during your daily routine to ensure your body is recovering the way you need it to.

Sleep and nutrition are two habits to consider. The foods you consume will affect the hormones released, which will either contribute to recovery and increase your strength or hinder your recovery and limit the benefits you receive during exercise.

Growth hormone is released during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep which enables you to recover from the workout that you did the day before. If you’re missing out on your REM sleep by not getting at least eight hours of rest, your body will not get the recovery it needs to allow you to work out like you want.

All that information sounds great but what do you really do when you have a bad day? Or when you feel like you can barely walk because of the pain in your legs?


Staying at home and skipping the workout is probably the first idea that comes to mind. Sometimes skipping is necessary, but I recommend you at least do some light, static stretching or a light warm-up routine. If you get through your warm-up routine and still feel horrible, go ahead and stay home and get some sleep. However, most of the time, just starting to move will wake up your body and give you the needed energy to work out.

Revise the workout

Start with lighter weights than you usually use, or push at about 80 per cent of your effort. Don’t let this affect you negatively. It happens to us all. If you consistently miss workouts, not only are you NOT receiving a lot of benefit from your random workouts, you’re also compromising future workouts.

Just do it

Sometimes just sucking it up and pushing hard is the best way to handle it. Training doesn’t always happen in ideal circumstances and if you wait until your body feels perfect before starting back, your workouts will be very inconsistent. Sometimes you have to turn on your A game and just hit the workout head on. After it’s done, make sure to get plenty of good, clean food to eat, plenty of water and at least eight hours of sleep so you can recover completely.

Keep pushing and B-Active for life!

Betty Doyling is a certified fitness trainer and figure competitor with more than a decade of experience. Look for B. ActiveForLife on Facebook

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Published November 02, 2022 at 8:00 am (Updated November 01, 2022 at 5:19 pm)

What to do when you don’t want to exercise

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