What To Do When You Don’t Feel Like Lifting

First, you lift weights as planned, no matter how you feel. One, because it’s too easy for one missed workout to turn into 2, before you know it you’ve missed a week, and that’s usually the beginning of the end. By going to the gym even if you don’t feel motivated to lift weights, you avoid falling off the bandwagon.

Two, and you have to train on days where you don’t feel like it to realize this, is that bad days often turn into good ones. I’m sure you’ve heard of mind over matter – when your mind says yes, your body will follow. Well the opposite is also valid: if your body says yes, your mind will follow it too. Maxwell Maltz called this the mind-body connection in his bestseller Psycho-Cybernetics.

This is why you should never wait until you’re motivated to lift weights. Just get frigging started and you’ll be amazed how often you’ll get in the mood. This strategy works outside the gym too by the way – I often don’t feel like writing, but I get started anyway and that’s how I get 5 blog posts done each week.

Frankly, you’ll be hardpressed to find a successful athlete or even celebrity who is always motivated to lift weights. Usain Bolt hates Squats but does them. Christian Bale prefers going to the pub than to the gym, yet he gained 109lb for Batman Begins. Daniel Craig hated hitting the weights 5x/week to get in shape for James Bond but as he said, “I have to do it.” The list goes on.

Guys who believe they have to be motivated in order to do what they should do to get the body and strength they want, need to – quite bluntly – grow up. Your decision to go (or not go) to the gym, shouldn’t be based on how you feel that day because the truth is that motivation will always come and go. Instead, decide which days you’ll train and then show up no matter how you feel.

Now sometimes you’re not going to get in the mood once you start lifting, you’re just going to have a really bad day. In these rare cases – do the minimum. With StrongLifts 5×5 that means you call it a day after your Squats. Heck, you could even do 1×5 Squats instead of 5×5 and then go home.

Don’t think of this is a bad workout because you skipped a few exercises…

  • You won’t lose strength from skipping some exercises just once
  • You’re still doing more than all the muscle mirror curl monkeys
  • You didn’t break your habit of going to the gym

Showing up is always a victory – it’s all about consistency.