Lack of Motivation? 5 Reasons You Might Not Be Motivated to Work Out

A lack of motivation can be very difficult to tackle, especially when exercise is part of the equation. Not feeling motivated to work out is one of the most common hurdles that gets in the way of the exercise we need to stay healthy.

Life gets ahead of us, and sometimes it’s because we get lazy, and other times it’s because our mental health has taken a toll and we’ve lost our usual motivation. The thing is, your lack of motivation doesn’t have to be the end of your workouts.

You might be feeling as though you are stuck in a rut, but you don’t need to lose hope. Once you pinpoint the reason why you’re feeling unmotivated, you can start working on getting yourself back on track and enjoying exercise again. It’s hard at first, but the results are more than worth it. Together, we’ll get you on the right path so that you can take care of your health and find the willpower and motivation to exercise.

Why is Exercise so Important?

Exercise might feel like a drag, especially when you’ve got a major lack of motivation, but the truth is that exercise is essential for us to stay healthy and happy. What does exercise do for your body, and your brain? Well, it does the following:

  • Helps you maintain a healthy weight
  • Improves brain health
  • Boosts your mood and improves mental health
  • Improves cardiovascular endurance
  • Strengthens your muscles and bones
  • Aids in the management of some chronic conditions
  • Reduces your chances of getting sick
  • Boosts your energy levels and your ability to perform everyday tasks
  • Helps reduce your risk of certain cancers
  • Can help you to live a longer life

Why Do You Feel a Lack of Motivation to Work Out?

We’ve determined why exercising is so important, and you likely already knew how important it is, so what do we do about the lack of motivation? Well, if you can’t quite determine why you’re feeling a lack of motivation to work out, there are actually five common causes that might have something to do with your complete lack of motivation.

1. Your Lifestyle Has Become too Habitually Sedentary

Many of us spend a lot of time working from desks in the modern world, which means most jobs don’t require a lot of movement. We drive in cars, take public transport, and when we get home, we spend time watching TV or chilling out scrolling through social media. It’s a comfortable life, but that comfort leads to a sense of complacency with regard to exercise.

Sometimes the comfort of the couch is just too tempting and habit-forming when compared to the effort of exercise. Once we get into a good workout routine, it becomes easier, and that lack of motivation melts away – we just have to get up and start, especially if we do so in the morning.

If you’re feeling a lack of motivation, start with something simple such as changing into workout clothes. One step at a time, and the next thing you know, you’re out the door heading to the gym.

2. You Have a Lack of Motivation Because You Haven’t Noticed the Negative Effects of Not Exercising

Not everyone feels, notices or sees the negative effects of not exercising, and this can make us less wary of the potential damage a lack of exercise can cause. Things like heart problems, diabetes, and weight gain can seem almost like a myth when they aren’t happening to us. However, an inactive lifestyle will almost always lead to a negative impact on your mental and physical health, and overall well-being.

Time catches up with us all, and even spending 30 minutes walking or engaging in light exercise each day can be massively beneficial for your physical and mental health.

3. Your Mental Health is the Culprit for Zero Motivation

When we are depressed, anxious, stressed, or our mental health, in general, is weighing down on us, exercising leaves the forefront of our minds. It’s no longer essential for us, and if we end up spiraling mentally, exercise can easily become lost from our routine for a long time. There’s no shame in your mental health taking a toll on you; you just have to get back on the workout wagon.

Getting back into the habit of exercising after struggling through a mental health crisis is a challenge, but if you keep your workouts short and break it down into small but manageable steps, you will find that you can start building your workout routine again fairly fast and banish that lack of motivation.

4. You Think You Don’t Have Time

We might have more sedentary lives in the modern world, but they are also way busier than they used to be. Our schedules are always full, and we often feel like there is hardly any time to breathe, let alone do anything else. Working out and the time dedicated to it really can feel like a luxury we think we don’t have, and sometimes we just don’t want to dedicate the time to it.

Making time in your day for exercise can be difficult, but it’s so worth it for the results. Exercise is vital to our physical and mental well-being, and you need to try and make some space in your schedule.

In fact, scheduling workouts ahead of time, such as signing up for specific time-slots for a yoga class or spin class, will help you find the time to work out.

You could even just do a home workout while you watch your favorite Netflix show. Everyone can find the time to work out.

5. The Idea of Exercising Feels Overwhelming

Working out looks hard. We can get tired just looking at someone doing a workout. We can all agree with that. Sometimes you’re looking at an exercise routine, such as a video workout on YouTube, and you just think… I can’t.

The idea of exercising can feel overwhelming – especially if you haven’t worked out in awhile. In general, when we get overwhelmed in life, we often intentionally avoid the potentially stressful or overwhelming task in front of us so that we don’t have to think about it.

Sadly, we can’t avoid exercise, because our health relies upon it, and we therefore need to push through. So, when a particular workout looks overwhelming, why not go for a different one? Even a simple walk counts as exercise and can do wonders for your health. There’s always a solution when you’re feeling a lack of motivation to exercise.

How Can You Motivate Yourself to Work Out?

Now that you have determined the cause of your lack of motivation to work out, you can look at new ways to try and motivate yourself to get back into the swing of things.

Here’s a list of some ways you can attempt to kickstart your motivation:

  • Try to plan your exercise sessions at times of day that are low-stress for you
  • Prepare all your exercise gear in advance, such as workout outfit ready to go on the bed
  • Break your exercise routine down into smaller chunks
  • Start with easy workouts and slowly build up to the harder ones
  • Choose workouts that you enjoy because it will make it easier for you
  • Reward yourself after your workouts
  • Find an accountability buddy to ensure you work out, such as hiring a personal trainer or finding a friend to do a spin class with.

The most important thing to remember? It’s okay to have bad days, because we all have days where we just can’t do it. As long as you’re doing your best and trying to exercise as much as possible throughout the week, that’s all that matters.

If hiring a personal trainer helps you stay accountable to someone and helps you work out, it’s certainly worth the cost, since lack of motivation and zero accountability can promise an overly sedentary lifestyle.

To Conclude

A lack of motivation can be tough to move past, and we’ve all been there. Feeling as though you are stuck in the same old sedentary and inactive routine can be draining, and exercise is often the last thing on our minds. However, with this guide, you should be able to pinpoint the cause of your lack of willpower, and start making the necessary steps to get back on the horse and find your workout mojo again.

A DNA test from CircleDNA can also help you find out which types of workouts are best suited to you, based on your genetic makeup. The DNA test results give you an incredible in-depth insight into your genetic strengths and weaknesses when it comes to sports and exercise. This will help you choose workouts you enjoy, and ones you’re good at.


  1. Chronic Disease Fact Sheet: Physical Inactivity. Published 2023. Accessed March 7, 2023.
  2. Benefits of Physical Activity. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published June 16, 2022. Accessed March 7, 2023.

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