You’ve finally decided to start exercising regularly, but there’s a problem. You just don’t feel like working out. Sound familiar? We’d be lying if we said we didn’t know the feeling. Everyone has days when sticking to the couch is much more appealing than going to the gym. Of course, this feeling can be caused by many different things: your day was exhausting, your muscles are still too sore from yesterday… But what if this lack of motivation is not just a phase, and you just want to avoid exercise in general? Even when you’re in the right mood and you have tons of energy?
A Dutch study published in Psychology of Sport and Exercise has found a possible answer. According to this study, an inability to motivate yourself to work out might not be caused by a lack of willpower but could have a genetic cause instead! We’ll show you what the researchers found out and give you some helpful tips on how to find motivation for training and not let your genes get in the way.
Need some help with that initial burst of energy to get you going? Check out our Energy Aminos with caffeine and BCAAs!
Exercise is a natural mood booster…
After a good workout you feel happy and energized! Right…? This feeling of happiness—which is also called runner’s high, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t also happen after strength training—hasn’t been the subject of much research yet. But one explanation has to do with how your body releases endorphins. Endorphins are also known as happiness hormones and activate your body’s reward system. And you really have earned a reward after an intense workout. And to experience that high again and again, you’ll be hitting the gym regularly.
… but not for everyone
And this is exactly where the Dutch study comes in. Because not everyone experiences this effect. And whether or not you experience a mood boost has a significant influence on your training habits and on your motivation to work out. The study found that up to 37% of this reaction to exercise could depend on your genes. Impressive, right?
To gather the relevant data for this study, workout participants were studied within three groups.
Group 1 consisted of pairs of identical twins and were compared with fraternal twin pairs, group 2, who share about half their genes, and siblings who were not twins, group 3.
The identical twins were most likely to give identical answers about how they felt about the training. You probably could have guessed that, but it’s also interesting to note that the participants with a more active routine in general also reported the most positive feelings.
Garret Seacat, certified fitness coach and personal trainer, also emphasizes the possible influence of genetics on exercise motivation. He refers to a study from 2014, which showed that the urge to exercise was greater in mice when it successfully activated their reward system.
How do we motivate ourselves to exercise? Maybe with a reward in the form of a creamy and delicious shake made with our Whey Protein…
Other Reasons for Drops in Motivation
Besides the possibility that your genes are making it difficult for you to motivate yourself to work out, other factors can serve as stumbling blocks, and you might not even be aware of them. Here’s the most common ones to watch out for, so they don’t get in your way in the future.
#1 Putting yourself under too much pressure
Desperate to lose weight or set a new personal record with the deadlift? Fitness goals are good in general and important for staying on the ball in your workouts. But it’s still important to remember that the journey is the destination. Because the most important thing about exercising is to enjoy it, move more, and feel good about what you’re doing.
#2 Not finding the right kind of workout
Not comfortable in the strength training area at your gym? Don’t force yourself, but find a better environment instead, or try a different workout altogether. Fun, like we said above, is the most important factor for exercising regularly. Not sure what kind of exercise is best for you? We’ll help you figure it out!
#3 Not having enough energy
Whether you want to lose weight, build muscle, or simply move more, your body needs enough energy to do what you want it to. Without the energy you need, working out turns frustrating and tiring pretty fast. Want some inspiration for pre-workout food? Check out our nutrition plans and ideas for eating before exercise!
And if you’re in a hurry, our Vegan Protein Bar is the perfect pre-workout snack made with cashews, dates, and extra plant-based protein!
To keep yourself motivated, Garret Seacat recommends: “Don’t let small setbacks throw you off your game. Little mistakes can happen. Analyze and acknowledge them so they don’t happen again, and don’t let them get to you!”
#5 Seeing working out as an obligation
Shopping, laundry, working out… is that what your to-do list looks like too? Then it’s not surprising that you don’t feel like exercising. Try to change your mindset and look at working out not as a task that you have to check off a list, but as a way to let off steam, turn off your mind, and have some fun.
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