Feeling Stuck? How to Get Out of a Fitness Rut

By Patricia Alvarado

Have you ever found yourself in a bit of a rut and feeling like you needed a fresh start? At the end of last year, I found myself in a cycle of inactivity and started thinking that a big new goal was just what I needed. While fresh-start moments are all around us to set new goals, I decided to start 2023 with a big personal goal to walk 100 miles in January. The goal was open-ended enough that I didn’t need to commit to walking a prescribed number of miles each day, but it was ambitious enough that I really needed to push myself out of my comfort zone to achieve my goal.  

Powered by my Apple Watch rings and my motivation to earn Vitality Points, I got outside to walk every day in January, rain, snow, or shine, and ultimately achieved my goal with a few days to spare! Here’s what the experience of getting out of a fitness rut taught me: 

Being prepared matters 
Whether it’s having the right gear, staying hydrated, or making time to stretch, being prepared for your workout makes all the difference. Increasing your activity level can be a shock to the body, so mentally and physically preparing yourself will help lessen the possibility of an injury. Sometimes, something as simple as wearing the right socks can greatly impact your comfort and help you achieve that next step.  

Set the scene 
If you want to get moving but feel like you’re dragging your feet, try incorporating at least one thing that excites you into your workout to make the experience more enjoyable. Finding the location (I love an outdoor path with benches in case I need to sit or stretch), playlist (house music is my go-to for walking), or post-workout treat (yes, you deserve it!) are all excellent ways to enhance your activity and get you excited to be on the move.  

Work with, not against, yourself 
Finally embracing that I do my best workouts mid-day rather than constantly beating myself up for snoozing my 5 am alarm helped me move past the mindset that my whole day would be wasted if it didn’t start with a burst of activity. Working with, not against, yourself can empower you to move towards your goals and perform at your best, without the added guilt. 

Push yourself mindfully 
Pushing yourself is an important part of your wellbeing journey but pushing yourself too hard could result in burnout or an injury. Needing a forced rest day after overworking your body can feel like a mental and physical step backwards, so don’t forget to build rest and recuperation into your activity schedule. 

Motivation vs. Dedication 
Motivation comes and goes, but dedication to building healthy habits is what will consistently help you get moving. There are many variations of magic numbers out there explaining how long it takes to build a habit into your lifestyle, but no matter how many days it actually takes, getting to your desired outcome is made possible by remaining dedicated to the day-to-day work.  

Patricia Alvarado is an Associate Marketing Specialist and one of the founding members of Project IDEAL at Vitality. She discovered her passion for advocating for marginalized communities while earning her BFA in Fine Art from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and is a proud Filipina who enjoys walking outdoors, watching movies, and listening to house music.

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