Working Out When You’re Really Not Feeling It

Working out Some Days Can Feel Difficult

First let me say, this is not a post about you should still go and do itrah rah rah sort of stuff.


This is a post about when you still want to workout, but you also aren’t especially feeling it.

We all have those days, and I am no exception here.

Maybe you are low energy that day, or you feel too busy or pressed for time to fit in the full workout.

Maybe you’re experiencing some other stresses that have you feeling overwhelmed.

Or maybe something sucked up a majority of your workout time and now you only have 20-30 minutes and you’re wondering is it worth it?

Whatever it is, you’re just not feeling it.

All of that’s ok and normal. It happens.

I feel you.

There are definitely days when I am not feeling it. Usually it’s when I am a bit tired or maybe not terribly excited about the exercises I programmed for myself.

However, like you, I still want to workout. I have goals to reach, or I just want to get a good chunk of movement into my day. So I do it, but it’s half-hearted.

This is what I call just checking the box.

Checking the box is the workout that you aren’t feeling for some reason, but you still show up and do.

For me, I do it because getting some sort of movement in my day helps me feel good. Reduces my stress and tension. Energizes me for the day ahead (I workout in the morning), keeps me active and closing my movement rings on my activity tracker. (I’m so competitive with myself!)

Checking the Box Workouts

What might these look like?

To me, checking the box workouts are anything that is still a movement-based activity, even if it is deviating from the original plan.

Some sort of movement is still good for you even if it’s less than you planned for and there are studies that show even a little exercise has great benefits. (here, here, here, here and here)

Research shows that we can still get some, if not all, of the benefits of increasing our strength, improving our cardio and other improvements in overall health even with shorter duration workouts.

That’s not to say to skip all your longer training workouts or to not put in that strong effort. What I am saying is that for those days when you’re short on time or feeling lackluster about the workout, you can still benefit from putting in the time.

Ideas for when you need a check the box workout

  • Short on time? Try a full-body circuit with or without weights. Perform a warm up for 2-3 minutes. This could be the movements below with your body weight or it could be dancing to your favorite song.
  • Feeling low energy? Do your workout, but reduce the weight you’re lifting, the reps/sets you’re doing and/or lower intensity for lifting or cardio.
  • Feeling stressed? Do something completely different than planned. Do some stretching, yoga tai chi or dance to your favorite music for a while.
  • Lastly, if you are feeling completely wiped out, sometimes the best thing to do is something restorative: gentle stretching, meditation, a bath, breathing exercises or go for a walk in nature.

My hope with this post is that you will see that it is ok to have days when you’re just not bringing your usual energy.

And that that is ok.

I also hope that this post provides you with some ideas and resources that you can use for when those short-on-time or low-energy days happen so that you can still get some sort of movement in your day.

Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions by leaving a comment or dropping us a line.

If you are looking for more guidance with your fitness and wellness, we’re here for you. We offer in-person, virtual and online distance training options.

Stay healthy, Theresa