We’ve all experienced fitness and running ruts at some point or another. A motivation-less week here, a few skipped runs there; it’s totally normal for us to not have our training mojo 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

But what happens when that rut runs longer than a week? Two weeks? A month? Do you continue to push through training sessions you aren’t really enjoying? Do you give up exercising for the rest of your life?

Spoiler alert: the answer to both is no ๐Ÿ˜‰

I experienced this after my triathlon in July, and while it wasn’t the most pleasant experience, I’m happy to say I managed to pull myself out of it and am going to share how I did that with you today!ย And since I’m currently working through a project with lots of homework and checklists (and secretly loving it), I put together a checklist so you’ll know exactly what steps you’ll need to take in order to walk yourself out of a rut, should you ever experience one!

fitness rut

When I realized I was just going through the motions of each training session – showing up but not really giving it my all – I knew I needed to figure out what I was looking to get from them. My focus had been on my triathlon for the past six months, and all my upcoming races were supposed to be “just for fun”. But what constitutes as fun that would still help me reach my fitness goals?

I started by taking an objective look at my situation, by treating myself like I would any other client. I filled out my registration form and answered all the questions as though someone who didn’t know me was asking them. Through this process I got re-connected with what things I like when it comes to training; what things I don’t like; what things I’m interested in but are not involved with; and what my biggest obstacles are.

These were all things that I knew in the back of my mind, but it had been awhile since I had allowed them to come to the forefront to guide me in making my fitness decisions. It’s easy to get caught up in things we think we “should” be doing, or things we do just because we’re used to them. A fresh perspective, even if it’s our own, can be all it takes to help reignite your passion for movement.

With all these likes and dislikes and interests and curiosities fresh in my mind, I decided to take a different, non-goal-setting approach. I took a moment to envision what an invigorating training session felt like. Where was I? What was I doing? How much was I sweating? How hard was I working? I worked backwards from there, and took my likes and dislikes into consideration when thinking of activities that could help me achieve what I had envisioned.

For example, when I imagined my super awesome training session, I was working HARD. I was out of breath, dripping in sweat, and not stressing out about how many hoursย I had been training for (quite different from my triathlon training!).ย I thought of the things I enjoyed doing – high intensity interval training, heavy deadlifts, metabolic circuits – and put together a plan of attack to figure out how I could make each workout like the one I envisioned.

fitness rut

I need a workout that provides boob sweat of epic proportions!

I made the tough call to not complete the second triathlon I had my eye on, and instead found ways to incorporate some hard and sweaty workouts into the runs I had scheduled so I could finish my last few running races of the year, all the while keeping my stress levels low…something that’s SUPER important to me right now.

It can require a little honesty with yourself, but YOU have the power to pull yourself out of your fitness rut! Ask yourself some questions and do some fitness soul-searching so you can get reacquainted with the reasons you started being active in the first place.

Step-by-step guide to breaking out of a fitness rut via @arianafotinakis #FitnessMotivation #SweatPink Click To Tweet

Not sure what questions to ask yourself? Enter your email to have your checklist delivered straight to your inbox so you can become a fitness detective!

Have you ever been in a fitness rut? How did you manage to pull yourself out of it?ย 

Showing 37 comments
  • Miss Angie
    Reply

    Great tips. I seriously need to get my butt out of the rutt I’m in.

    • Ariana
      Reply

      I hope they help you!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply

    I got into the biggest rut myself after my try last month. I kept working out but just wasn’t into it the same way. It went away and I have my mojo back too.

    • Ariana
      Reply

      That seems to be pretty common after triathlons! It’s tough when you dedicate so much time to training for a race and then it’s just all over. Hopefully these tips can give you a hand like they did with me!

  • Mar @ Mar on the Run
    Reply

    after my terrible spring running I took much of the summer off and am just now getting back into running. It was tough to get going again but I feel so much more refreshed and ready to tackle my training!

    • Ariana
      Reply

      That’s so great you’ve got that fire lit again! Sometimes breaks due to injuries or a lack of motivation can be a good thing…once we get back we’re ready to go in full force!

  • Chrissa - Physical Kitchness
    Reply

    Great post! I easily get bored and sometimes just “go through the motions” too. It helps when I an get outside to work out (change of scenery is clutch). Your workout looks like it kicked your butt! Awesome!

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Yes, outdoor workouts can be so refreshing! Even doing the same thing in a different place can be a nice change.

  • Kate @KateMovingForward
    Reply

    I think that just committing to doing SOMETHING helps me. It doesn’t have to be hardcore…I just need to get moving. I find once I’m going I want to give it my all. Great tips!

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Yes! It’s so important to find something that’s right for our unique goals and our unique places in life. Sometimes a hardcore workout doesn’t serve us as much as something more gentle might!

  • The Southern Thing
    Reply

    I needed this today! I’ve been in a fitness rut!

    • Ariana
      Reply

      I hope these tips can help you get out!

  • Tricia@MissSippipiddlin
    Reply

    I hope after this marathon I do not get in a rut! I’ve got a long road ahead of me and I do hope I can stay motivated to put the extra effort in the long training runs and also to still have fun doing it!

    • Ariana
      Reply

      I bet you will have no problem staying motivated during your marathon training! After big races can be a bit tough. My advice would be to pick a goal for after your marathon, whether it’s completing yoga 3 times a week to help with your recovery or focusing on a different aspect of your health while your body chills out from all that running!

  • Jaime
    Reply

    I got into my first rut last month during my PMS week, it was horrible! I stopped working out for about a week and felt awful about it. I just reminded myself of all the hard work I’d been doing and how much weight I’d lost, and the next week I was able to get back into it again. =)

    • Ariana
      Reply

      So happy you were able to get back into it! Great mental tactics ๐Ÿ™‚ Those darn hormones can really put a damper on our motivation!

  • Jen @ Pretty Little Grub
    Reply

    I have a training rut pretty much after every big race that I complete. Typically I just sign up for another one to get some motivation. But I like this idea of truly thinking about the training that you want to do to make you happy.

    • Ariana
      Reply

      I love your solution! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I usually end up doing that as well haha.

  • Hollie
    Reply

    Great post. I get into a rut when I am planning my classes sometimes.

    • Ariana
      Reply

      I know what you mean! Sometimes I get bored with my classes, even though I know the participants are still enjoying them.

  • Janelle @ Run With No Regrets
    Reply

    It’s so important to take a look and reassess what’s going on when you’re in a fitness rut. I love your approach, very methodical! But sometimes it is okay to take a short break to get recharged!

    • Ariana
      Reply

      I agree, those breaks are very necessary, both from a physical and a mental standpoint!

  • Leah
    Reply

    Great tips! I worked outside today to get myself out of the gym rut for a while! It was a great change of pace!

    • Ariana
      Reply

      That’s awesome!! Outdoor workouts are the best.

  • Kathryn @ Dancing to Running
    Reply

    Sometimes taking a break and switching the routine up is the best way to get out of a rut. Its definitely hard to get out of a rut when you’re trying to continue focusing on the same old activities.

    • Ariana
      Reply

      I agree; variety is the spice of life!!

  • Samantha
    Reply

    I have started trying a new fitness class 1 time per month. With my injury I am not able to run so I find unique and different fitness classes. I also do pilates 1 time per week and workout with a trainer every other week. It can be hard to get out of a rut but keeping it interesting helps me!

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Ooo that’s awesome!! I love trying different group fitness classes. I’m happy you found something to keep yourself interested with in the midst of your injury. Here’s to a speedy recovery!

  • Marcia
    Reply

    I’ve been pretty good about not slipping into a fitness rut. I’ve periodized the year into strength training the first quarter, tri training the 2nd, marathon training the 3rd and the 4th is up for grabs!

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Sounds like you have an amazing plan!

  • Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home
    Reply

    This is a great topic, and you could probably write multiple posts on it! I’m at the peak point in my Chicago marathon training and I’m pretty burnt out. I know that feeling like this is normal at this point but it’s hard to feel so beat down about something you love. Great post.

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Thanks for your feedback! I’m glad you liked it. You’re right – it’s normal, but it doesn’t make it fun! It might be time to reminisce on all the things you’ve accomplished these past few months, and think of a few nice rewards you can give yourself when you’re done! Maybe a nice spa day and a relaxing yoga class ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Marietta DeGrant
    Reply

    Even though I am an occasional fitness girl (I have to become regular, lol) and a beginner in running, I know that sometimes, i need a break and have to switch up my routine.
    Thank you for this wonderful post

    • Ariana
      Reply

      With some patience and consistency you will definitely become a regular fitness girl ๐Ÿ˜€

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • jill conyers
    Reply

    It’s been forever since I’ve been in a fitness rut. Loving the fitness balance right now so I guess that’s the reason why. Have an awesome weekend Ariana!

  • Farrah
    Reply

    I am most definitely in a rut right now, but working hard to get out of it! <3

  • Sandra Laflamme
    Reply

    It can definitely be so hard to break out of those ruts. Sometimes changing it up and changing the race plan is definitely the way to go!

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