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How I trained myself to win the “will I or won’t I train” debate!

By on March 7, 2015

Screen shot 2014 11 15 at 10.19.09 PM 272x300 - How I trained myself to win the "will I or won't I train" debate!

Have you ever planned to workout before work, only to snooze your alarm? Or, bailed on an evening training session last minute? I know that I have. Even the most motivated exerciser will occasionally lose the internal "will I or won't I train" debate. I LOVE being active, but nevertheless, sometimes I feel like going home and curling up on the sofa.

The million dollar question is, how do you set yourself up for training success? What steps can you take to ensure that training 'wins' more often than the sofa?

Up until about six months ago, for me, the gym probably "won" roughly 85 per cent of the time. Eight-five per cent is not a BAD percentage, but it is also not ideal, especially because skipping workouts never makes me happy. In fact, it does the opposite. I end up sitting watching TV or reading my book and wishing I had made myself be active, even just for 20 minutes! In hindsight I always metaphorically kick myself because I know that if I had made myself be active, even for just 20 minutes, my day would have been better. I would feel more alive, energized and productive!

About six months ago I decided this cycle of "skipping and then feeling annoyed" was ridiculous. To make breaking the cycle a reality, I decided to embark on a thought experiment! 

Every time I want to skip my workout I have a conversation with myself in which I place myself in the future, and talk myself through how I will feel depending on the choice I make.

For example, let's say I want to watch TV instead of running. I first imagine how I will feel if I accomplish my workout. I will feel great! My day will be better. The relaxation and/or social time I get to have after my workout (although possibly shorter) will be higher quality!

I then image how I would feel if I skip the workout. I know I will feel crappy! I may get more time to relax, but I know I will not enjoy the time as much. It will not be quality time!

If I am active, even if I just go for a 20 minute walk, I will get less relaxation time, but I will enjoy the time more.

The main take-away — when you have an urge to skip a workout, imagine how that decision will impact the rest of your day and your overall goal. Walk yourself through how you will feel three hours from now and try to remind yourself why you formed the goal in the first place.

Lastly, always remember that adopting a healthier lifestyle is a marathon, not a sprint! If you fall off of the fitness horse, get back on, just get back on a more informed rider!

Kathleen Trotter, MS (Exercise Science), BA (Honours) is an ironman competitor, personal trainer and writer. She is passionate about fitness and health and trains a wide variety of clients ranging from the avid athlete to individuals living with osteoporosis, Parkinson’s and scoliosi. For more great articles and fitness tips visit: www.kathleentrotter.com and join Kathleen’s newsletter.


  1. Pingback: How I trained myself to win the “will I or won’t I train” debate! | Kathleen Trotter

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