Workout of the Week: Break Through a Motivation Slump

January 30, 2015 Updated: January 29, 2015

I was chatting with a lady I had never met before at a beauty salon. After finding out that I was a Pilates teacher and personal trainer, she proceeded to tell me about her ongoing battle with weight loss.

This woman was a true inspiration, having managed to lose over 60 pounds by changing her diet and adding exercise into her life. But as many of us know, motivation doesn’t come with an endless supply; instead, it comes in waves of highs and lows. She explained to me that she was experiencing a low point and just couldn’t get started with exercise in recent times.

That is often the case when we get out of the groove of an established routine—it can be really difficult to find our rhythm again.

Here are the suggestions I made to her. If you are on the low end of motivation at the moment, hopefully they will be of help to you, too.

1. Make a 30-minute playlist of your favorite songs and dance to them.

2. Run or walk away from your house for 15 minutes and then run/walk back home. Build up until you can run most of the way.

3. When you don’t feel like doing anything, do some stretches while watching TV. At least you will have done something toward your fitness goal.

4. Make a playlist of motivational tracks and pick five exercises to do in a row.

Here is a sample of a five-exercise workout that you can do to break through your motivation slump.

(Photo: Willis Lim)
(Photo: Willis Lim)

Body focus: legs, buttocks, thighs

1. Start with your feet hip-width apart.

2. Lower your hips and buttocks toward the floor, like you’re taking a seat on an imaginary chair. Reach both arms out in front of your shoulders.

3. Press through your feet to return to your starting position.

Keep your feet and knees parallel during the entire squat. The lower you take your hips, the harder you’ll work. When you squat, your knees should be slightly behind your toes.

Do 15 to 20 squats.

(Photo: Willis Lim)
(Photo: Willis Lim)

Narrow Push-Up
Body focus: chest, shoulders, arms

1. Start with your hands shoulder-width apart and your body off the floor, except for your hands and feet. (For an easier option, keep your knees on the floor.)

2. Inhale as you bend your elbows, lowering the body toward the floor.

3. Press back to the starting position.

Keep your arms in, close to the sides of your body. Your elbows should skim your waist as you lower.

Do 10 to 15 push-ups.

(Photo: Willis Lim)
(Photo: Willis Lim)

Straight-Leg Crunch
Body focus: abdominals

1. Lie down on your back and extend your legs straight in the air, with your feet toward the ceiling and your hands behind your head.

2. Lift your upper body off the floor into a crunch.

3. Hold each crunch for 2 seconds before lowering your head back to the floor.

Your lower abdominals will work harder with your legs extended, as opposed to being bent at a 90-degree angle.

Do 15 to 20 crunches.

(Photo: Willis Lim)
(Photo: Willis Lim)

Side Plank
Body focus: waist

1. Position your body on its side, with your elbow directly underneath your shoulder and your feet stacked on top of each other. Have your feet in line with your body, with your knees slightly bent.

2. Inhale as you engage your deep core muscles by gently lifting your pelvic floor muscles.

3. Exhale as you lift your hips up, off the floor, so that your weight is evenly balanced between you elbow and feet.

Hold for 30 seconds on each side.

(Photo: Willis Lim)
(Photo: Willis Lim)

Body focus: back and buttocks

1. Lie face down, with your hands beside your head and your legs squeezed together.

2. Inhale as you lift your upper and lower body away from the floor, focusing on the muscles of your mid and upper back.

3. Exhale as you lower back down

Keep the movements slow and controlled.

Do 10 to 12 lifts.

Emma-Kate Stampton certifies Pilates instructors and is a certified personal trainer. With 10 years of industry experience, she is passionate about sharing the gift of health and well-being. She is based in Brisbane, Australia.