Let's Talk Fitness: How to Get Over Your Mental Roadblocks - Among Other Things

Let’s Talk Fitness: How to Get Over Your Mental Roadblocks

Are you giving yourself any room to make mistakes?


Some days, you wake up and work out before work — and others, you sleep ’til noon and order a breakfast burrito despite that carton of fresh eggs in the fridge that you just purchased.

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… The latter of which I did yesterday.

Balance, you know?

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In reading through comments, e-mails and even a few Snapchats, I got the sense that a lot of you frequently tend to feel guilty about your diet and exercise behaviors after you read this post on the benefits of become a morning workout person.

I’m totally, 100%, right here with you guys.

We’re obsessed with success. We chase it and we feel bad when we don’t get it — or worse, when we think everyone else has a lot more of it than we do. (Social media tends to create that perception, doesn’t it?)

It’s completely unrealistic to expect yourself to wake up every single morning and work out. (But if you do that, hell yeah — you’re better than I am.)

Let me be very clear: I oversleep. I eat carbs. I am lazy. I drink wine on weekdays. I’m often running late and — worst of all — sometimes I’ll beat myself up over the feeling that I’ve “undone” an entire workout by indulging a little too much.

Ask yourself this: CAN I LIVE?

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Now let’s switch roles and let me ask you this: Are you giving yourself any room to make mistakes? This is essential. In all honesty — and in a bigger-picture sense — if you haven’t failed, you probably haven’t done much with that awesome life of yours.

The idea of perfection is some subjective shit, anyway. Why not make progress the focus instead?


One thing I neglected to really expand upon in yesterday’s post is how much mental stamina you build when you exercise.

Here are some of the excuses that may have entered your mind while reading yesterday’s blog post:

“Nope, too tired.” (That was me for a minute this morning.)

“I just can’t get motivated.”

“I’m not in shape and I’m scared I’ll embarrass myself.”

“I don’t have time.”

Sound familiar? I know, they’re fleeting thoughts for me too. I have one, simple response to all of those: It’s all mental.


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Okay, well, it’s like 98% of it is mental. The other 2% creeps in when your body is telling you “Hey, asshole! Chill for a minute. I need to rest!”

Think about it: It’s an actual physical feat to get up and go for a run or to slink back into a yoga pose, but whether or not you have a good run or a zen class is dependent upon how well you hold yourself together mentally and emotionally.

If you’re distracted, anxious, unconfident in your capabilities or worried about what everyone else is thinking of you (spoiler alert: they’re not), you’ll freak. Your heart rate will go up, your breath will be shorter, and all of your movements will feel harder. Game o-v-e-r, bitches.

So, yeah. Whether it’s AM or PM, this exercise game is (pretty much) all mental, guys.

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I know that fitness in some way or another is a goal for many of you this year, so I want you to tell me what I can do, share, post, write about and expand upon in order to help you continue past your mental roadblocks.

Is it sharing positive, reaffirming mantras? Stories and examples of how I hold myself accountable? Anything else?


In the meantime, here’s my best advice on what not to do if you’re trying to amp up your workout routine — be it in the morning or just in general.

  • Don’t set a deadline. It takes everyone different lengths of time to create a new habit. Set goals, instead, and work your ass off toward those. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to finish running a race or reading a book (lol @ such different examples); it just matters that you do.
  • Embrace where you are. Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. If someone tells me it’s their 100th SoulCycle class, we’re f*cking celebrating. If it’s their second? Same thing — because you came back. It’s all about progress. Stay focused on yours. Get so damn busy watering your own grass to notice whether or not your neighbor’s is greener.
  • Be nice to yourself. Guys, those two beers or that entire jar of hummus that you ate will not unravel everything you’ve just worked for. Just don’t do make it a habit — and tomorrow, commit to pushing yourself a little bit harder.
  • Develop some perspective: Ultimately, guys, it’s a privilege to move and to exercise. Try to remember that next time you don’t want to get out of bed in the morning.
  • Don’t be afraid to start. This is for my girls who are intimidated by the idea of exercise. We all start somewhere — and I promise you, progress gets easier and more addicting. Baby steps. (Go back and read the second bullet point!)
  • Get unstuck. Just because you’re in a funk — with your workout or whatever else — doesn’t mean you have to stay there.


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Leave your thoughts, questions and content ideas in the comments below. And if you’ve got success stories to share, please do!

Love you, mean it.


Iron & Honey Photography

Join the Convo:

  • Hannah Crew

    love this post!! I typically workout every morning during the week before work and if I don’t I beat myself up all day – when really my body does need a break sometimes. Thanks for this!

    • So good to recognize when you do need a break. Thanks for your comment!

  • Meagan

    Great post! For me, just getting myself to the gym is my biggest hurdle — once I’m there it is fabulous!

    • Yes! Showing up IS the hard part… Once you’re there it’s easier to follow through.

  • Dana Mannarino

    Killin’ it, lady! Love these posts. I got up for a 7am running class this morning and just feel SO much better (even though I realize I went from running half marathons to getting winded after 2 minute intervals). Going to try to make this healthier lifestyle work for me!

    Pink Champagne Problems

    • You did it! Go girl! Awesome. I bet you’re already looking forward to some wine + couch time after work… I know I am too!

  • Love this post! Thanks Hallie!

  • Aubrey Strobel

    This post was awesome! I’m a morning work out person and am thankful to have a trainer holding me accountable. But 5am is hard. Every single time. Getting started, whether it’s my day or a new type of workout is the hardest part but I never regret it. Ever. Thanks for this! So glad to know I’m not alone on this fitness journey!

    • Always proud to hear (and see) your progress, Aubrey!

  • Bree Rangel

    Love this post! I also enjoy when you share about you also struggling with motivation sometimes. Makes me not feel so alone in the boat. I’m on the thousandth edition of me getting back in shape but this time I started going to SoulCycle as well. Only twice a week BUT it’s a humongous step from the usual route, from my desk to my couch. It’s a struggle to feel up for it some evenings but I feel so much better after toying with the line between life and death in Soul. I always feel like I’m dying towards the end but once those endorphin’s kick in…worth it!

    • Every. Damn. Day. That’s why the reward portion (that I mentioned earlier this week) is so important. Glad to hear you are enjoying SoulCycle as well. Twice a week is awesome! Keep it up x

  • Dana

    Thank you for this! I recently had a conversation with one of my trainers about moving past the mental block during workouts and giving yourself some leeway to make mistakes and taking time off to recover and refocus are so critical. I started distance running about six years ago and never really stopped until I ran a marathon that broke me (literally and physically). I haven’t raced in two years and have found that I do enjoy other forms of exercise but I still love and miss running. I was so hard on myself about not hitting pace or getting that PR that it made the entire training process miserable. Now, I’m happy to to hit the lake path for a few miles and it’s more about enjoying the run than competing with myself!

    • Awesome, look at that! Thanks for sharing your story + glad you’ve been able to hurdle a few of your own roadblocks. I don’t like running for pace either, the run feels SO much longer when you do, ironically.

  • Exactly what I needed to hear this morning, Hallie. “Get so damn busy watering your own grass to notice whether or not your neighbor’s is greener.” Focus on your own progress and in your own time. Thursday Truth.


    • That spoke volumes to me, too. Not exactly the best metaphor to use in the winter, but hey! Lol x

  • I love this post!!! I don’t have much to add or request besides what you mentioned but this series is so helpful & relatable so please keep it up 🙂

  • Lauren Oliver

    You pointed out everything I’ve been thinking lately! My biggest thing is that I know I won’t wake up to work in the morning, so that only leaves after work. My biggest mental block is telling myself that after a long day why would I want to do that?! But like you said – it’s all mental and I really need to try because I need to make fitness a priority this year!


    • I am with you in that I would MUCH rather lounge on the couch with some red wine in-hand, but try to think of it this way: Why WOULDN’T I want to do that? Have you ever finished a workout and thought “Yeah, I regretted that.” No, right? Personally, I know I feel a million times better after exercising — and if it’s at the end of the day it can be a solid way to decompress and disconnect.

      I teach at night, too, and I tell my students the best thing they can do before we get started is just inhale and start to mentally remove their attachment from their thoughts, calendars, inboxes, agendas, etc. Plus, when you get home an hour later you’re freakin’ exhausted.

      So in sum, you’ll sleep better, feel better and feel more clarity for the next day. Something is better than nothing and it doesn’t matter what time you can get it in, ultimately!

  • Anna Dvorak

    Omg, did I ever need this (as I’m trying not to tear up as I type haha!). I got my ass out of bed this morning to spin in my living room before work. It felt so good!

    • Makes me so happy to read this. Congrats on the most productive morning! Hope you rewarded yourself a bit.

  • Eleni

    I love ALL of your health/fitness posts! I’ve probably been through every one of these excuses, but I really feel like this is the year I make the change in myself because I’ve set my mind to making myself healthier, not just losing those last few pounds. I have to work out in the afternoons because of my work schedule and sometimes it feels all too easy to just come home and sit down with a bowl of popcorn and Netflix. But I’m happy to say I’ve been working out 5 days a week all month and it feels SO great. And I have to say your site is one that I always come back to for fitness motivation and new ideas to get moving. I love hearing about your journey and how you make your fit life work for you. Thank you for that, girl 🙂

    • Isn’t that the best feeling? Hell yeah! Thanks for sharing your success story(/ies). I appreciate the overall feedback, too, and I’m excited to keep sharing fitness-related content… : ) Much more to come!

  • Totally agree! Working out is SO hard until it’s a habit. And even then you need a little mental pep talk. Thanks for this series, it’s really inspiring!

  • I couldn’t agree more with you! I had no motivation at all when I first started working out and I kept saying ‘nah, let’s just sleep an hour longer instead of freezing my ass off to run’. Now I’m actually glad to wake up, working out improved my health and I couldn’t go back x

    Jessica — NinetyCo

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  • Kristine

    I love the “embrace where you are” mentality. I celebrate the sh!t out of every small victory I have physically. It helps to have a community like SoulCycle to celebrate alongside you and to celebrate everyone’s small victories. Sometimes I too beat myself up over the feeling that I’ve “undone” an entire workout with my post-sweat meal but you know what I tell myself? You didn’t get fit in a day and you’re not going to undo it all with one meal. So YOLO, you get one life, enjoy it and treat yourself right! Spot on post Hallie, loved this.

    • Easier said than done, right? Thanks, girl! (And yes, YOLO. I still say it and DGAF!)

  • Yes yes yes! I feel like there are 100 articles on motivation or getting yourself to workout but nothing about just LIVING regardless of not working out 24/7 everyday of the week. I am in the vein where I need to be kinder to myself and take it slow when I don’t workout all the time. I need to balance more with just movement in general like walking/yoga.

    love this one – lots.

    • You and me both, girl. Hope your week is off to a great start!

  • Laura

    Hallie it so heart warming to know that you genuinely want to help your readers! That little kick of confidence you can give us, as someone we admire, is so encouraging!! Thank you x

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