Breaking Out of a Fitness Slump

A fitness slump. We’ve all been there. You vaguely remember the days when a workout was no big deal, when you had all the energy in the world to jump out of bed and hit the gym, or go for a run. Now? You wake up, look at your gym clothes neatly folded by the side of your bed, think, ‘I should really get up to work out now’, and then roll over and go back to sleep for another hour. Sound familiar?
You’ve tried setting 2 alarms.

You’ve tried having your clothes ready to go.

You’ve tried telling yourself you can just get up and get out the door and if you feel like going back to bed at that point you can.

And you still roll over and hit snooze.

When you're lacking motivation to get to the gym, or hit snooze for the 4th time on your workout alarm, check out these steps for breaking out of a fitness slump.
The memory of being fit and feeling great and having plenty of energy almost makes a slump like this worse than for someone trying to kick start an exercise routine for the first time. Ignorance is bliss and all that. I know I often write this and maybe it seems too simple, but it’s all about habit.

Humans love habit. We get into routines. Our bodies become accustomed to those routines. Our brains and central nervous systems become accustomed. It becomes physiologically and mentally tough to break ingrown habits. Here’s the silver lining: this is as true of healthy habits as unhealthy habits.

I wish I could give you the magic cure for this lethargy when it comes to rediscovering motivation. There’s really nothing I can tell you that will help get you out of bed when you hear that alarm at an hour you wish it weren’t ringing. I can tell you some ideas I know have worked for me and for others in the past, though.

When you're lacking motivation to get to the gym, or hit snooze for the 4th time on your workout alarm, check out these steps for breaking out of a fitness slump.

5 Tips to Break Out of a Fitness Slump

Make it a date with someone. Make that someone a person other than whomever you’re sleeping next to, so the both of you don’t just roll over and go back to sleep. A friend, a fellow gym-goer, a personal trainer, a work colleague, so long as it is someone you actively have to meet up with outside of your house in order to exercise. Knowing that a friend is waiting for you, that someone else has dragged their butt out of bed, can be enough to make you get up and get going.

Seek out competition. Competition doesn’t need to be signing up for a race. Competition could be with yourself – driving yourself to your fastest mile, or heaviest deadlift. Competition could be with others – sign up for a biggest loser contest at your workplace, or have a competition with a spouse or friend for miles logged/minutes worked out etc in a single week.

Set yourself a reward. A friend of mine used to train with a running club one evening a week. She found it challenging not only in terms of the workout, but also just getting there after work, having to lug her running gear and change, as well as being much more of a morning exerciser. She kept at it because she made a couple of great friends in her group who she really looked forward to seeing. Maybe finding a place with amazing coffee near your gym will help get you there to work out, knowing there’s a coffee in it for you afterwards. Rewards work best when they come right after (or during) your workout, otherwise it’s too easy to skip out on a few sessions and say to yourself, ‘Oh, but I still totally deserve to buy this (insert object of desire here)’.

Set yourself a goal. Goals work best when they’re SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Oriented. Select your goal, whether it’s to run a race, master a challenging yoga pose, or hit a certain weekly mileage, then go after it. Make sure you give yourself a deadline and that it’s something you can realistically attain. For more on goal setting, check out this post, or this one.

Pay for it. I once bought a pack of ten spin classes at a studio because it was an awesome deal. Life got in the way for a while. Nine days before they expired, I had six classes left. Guess who made it to six classes in nine days? This girl. Buy yourself a class pack, or some personal training sessions, or sign up for a running club. Then when your alarm goes off, ask yourself if an hour of sleep is really worth the money you’d lose.


So, tell me – have you been in a fitness slump?

What did you try that didn’t help get you back on track?

What broke you out of the slump? 

If you want to read great articles on getting back into working out regularly, follow my Pinterest board Fitness Motivation. I pin lots of tips and tricks to turn you into a workout machine.


Follow Fine Fit Day – Carly Pizzani’s board Fitness Motivation on Pinterest.


  1. Anonymous says:

    I ride my bike to work so there is no chance I could roll over and sleep again! xD

  2. Good one! Add “Make your commute your workout” to the list!!

  3. Great tips! I got out of a slump recently by switching things up completely – moving from endurance training to strength training. It’s helped tremendously!

  4. I think i am actually in one right now … and i shouldn’t be! Running wise i m doing ok but i just can’t seem to stick with my cross training… Yo are right it is mental! I have tried a lot of things but the ones that really didn’t work was the multiple alarm clocks and the rewards. If my body decides on sleep i m a done deal! But my best solution is to run home from work. It’s a good 8 mile run and i m running towards a hot shower and dinner 😉 Also avoiding the evening rush in London subway is the biggest reward! Great post Carly!
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