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Can’t Seem to Stick to Your Workout?

By Samantha Ward, graduate student, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Florida
Reviewed by Karla Shelnutt, PhD, Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences, University of Florida, and  Gail Kauwell,  PhD, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Florida

Exercise is important; we all know that. However, in this fast-paced world, it seems like there are only a few reasons to work out and a million reasons why you’d rather not.  My “go to” excuses are time and fatigue. By the time I get home after class and work, I sometimes want to go straight to bed. But usually, I get home, do my homework, and cook dinner. By then, it’s 10:00, and I’m ready for sleep. I figured out that working out in the morning is the way to do it, at least for me.

Working through barriers can be difficult, yet rewarding. Time, money, work, age, fatigue, and boredom are common excuses for ditching the exercise routine and plopping on the couch. Excuses are just that …excuses! It’s time to quit making excuses and stick with an exercise plan. Here are some tips to help you stay with a workout routine:

  1. Find your motivation. No matter what your reason for working out, find a source of motivation. If you’re trying to fit into last season’s swimsuit, post pictures of you last summer on the fridge or in a place you’ll see it. Posting pictures of your family as a source of motivation can also work for those of you trying to improve your health in an attempt to reduce your risk of chronic diseases and problems associated with aging.
  2. Have fun. Hello?? How can you stick to a workout routine if you don’t enjoy it? Exercise doesn’t have to be boring. Find something you enjoy doing. Try some of these:
  • Go hiking
  • Play with your children
  • Pick up an old sport
  • Dance
  • Try kickboxing
  • Exercise with the Wii or Xbox Kinect
  • Ride your bike
  1. Change it up.  Sometimes doing the same thing can get boring. Pinterest is a great source of new workouts and fun ideas. If you don’t have a Pinterest account, simply Google workout routines, and voilà. But if you’re new to this, make sure to talk to your doctor before starting anything too rigorous.
  2. Partner up. Grab your spouse, relative, child, or friend, and work out together. Having a partner will make both of you accountable to someone else. Your partner will be waiting for you, and you’ll be less likely to give up. Try a partner workout, or compete with one another to make exercising more fun.
  3. Plan ahead. Pick a time and the type of workout you want to do the day before– and then, just do it! If you know you’re going to the gym after work, pack your gym bag and everything you need and go straight there. Or, if you know you’re going to the gym before work, pack your shower items, work clothes, and a healthy breakfast so you can get up and go first thing in the morning.
  4. Make it a habit. It takes time to develop a new habit.So stick to your workouts for a predetermined period, and you’ll see how much easier it becomes. Once it becomes a habit, there’ll be no more excuses for not working out.

For more tips to help you overcome exercise barriers, see: Overcoming Barriers to Physical Activity.

(Photo credit: Day 188 by lintmachine. CC BY 2.0. Cropped.)


Center for Disease Control and Prevention (February 2011). Overcoming Barriers to Physical Activity. Retrieved from: