by Tony Gjokaj September 17, 2021 5 min read
When you're depressed, even when you're not expending a lot of energy... you don't feel like you have any energy to spare to begin with.
It can be aggravating to hear that you need to work out to boost your endorphins, (or whatever your friends say to you).
In reality, they aren't wrong... but how can you exercise if you can't even get out of bed?
Is there something wrong with us?
Absolutely not. This happens with depression.
The thing with depression is that your whole body may feel like it is against you... and it's very frustrating.
I've been there.
But I was forced to work out once I committed to it because of an accountability partner I had.
In this post, we are going to go over some ways that may help you get off the couch when your mind & body are against you.
Before you read, you can watch a brief summary of this post here:
We will start this off with how the brain operates and how exercise helps that.
Let's dive in!
Research has shown that regular exercise can be a preventative and a relief option for depression.
Exercise helps the brain by improving three pathways or systems: Serotonin, Dopamine, and Norepinephrine.
Serotonin regulates mood.
Dopamine motivates us in the pursuit of reward or pleasure.
Norepinephrine helps with alertness and activity.
While exercise aids these pathways, people who are severely depressed typically have no desire or energy to exercise.
Essentially, their serotonin, dopamine, and/or norepinephrine levels are low.
To help with this, the following tips or strategies should be used as tools in your arsenal.
While exercise can help and maybe treat symptoms in some, one size definitely doesn't fit all.
Always ask your doctor or mental health specialist about exercise and mental health.
Let's get after it.
Research done by the Association for Training and Development (ASTD) showed that there is a 95% success rate in accountability to those who schedule a time with someone and report the results.
An accountability partner can play a large part to your success.
For example, you can set something up with a personal trainer where exercise is a non-negotiable. The trainer can create an accountability contract to hold you accountable to your exercise sessions. They can also set a condition where if you don't show up, you owe them money, or something.
Something like this can definitely get you in there.
If you're training with a friend or family member, they need to show up at your doorstep and drag you into the gym if you're not motivated to go.
Have someone who cares about your mental health work out with you.
My mother would drag me to my workout sessions.
Start SMALL. Even if it's a 10 minute workout or a brisk walk around the block. Get moving. Then build up on it overtime.
You do not need to do a strict workout program just yet.
Keep it flexible. Just work out and sweat.
One way to stay driven to exercise is to reward yourself after a workout session.
Something like a protein smoothie with various fruits is an amazing post-workout meal based on taste and fulfillment.
Blueberries, strawberries, and bananas.
Blend them with a whey protein shake.
Being aware of your progress and growth can build up a lot of momentum.
Record your journey whether in a journal or on social media. While documenting on social media may be intimidating, the right people will eventually find and support you.
I like to view motivation like a battery charge and discipline as the battery itself.
While motivation comes and goes, sometimes we need an immediate kick to work out. Watch a motivational playlist or listen to motivational content or music.
This may help you get that immediate push to get going.
I used to watch those bodybuilding motivational clips of buff dudes squatting hundreds of pounds screaming at the top of their lungs. These fired me up.
Adding to the 1% rule, make exercise simple to start.
Here are a few suggestions that I would recommend:
All in all, just move.
Never do it alone.
While this doesn't immediately drive you to work out, having a community of like-minded people pursuing the same goal is a foundation to success.
If you don't have this, we recommend joining our "Fitness For Mental Health" Discord Group. While it is currently small, our goal is to help thousands by using fitness as a holistic way to improve mental health.
If I can leave one final tip, it's to not be down on yourself if you miss a day.
Just make sure you don't miss two in a row!
Eventually, exercise will become a natural process overtime as it was for me. While it took me a little more than 3 months to get used to working out, I refuse to go back to how I looked and felt in the past.
There is no reason to, especially because year after year, I become happier and more fulfilled.
If anything, this is your call to action.
This may be the start of your journey to be better, to be happier.
Let us continue to help you.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email us at email@example.com, or direct message us on Instagram.
You can also subscribe to our email list at the bottom of this page to get a free ebook series on fitness and mental health.
Until next time!
Tony is the Owner of Reforged. He is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and has been in the fitness space for over a decade. His goal is to help millions exercise their way out of depression and anxiety.
by Tony Gjokaj February 21, 2024 4 min read
In the battle against depression, exercise stands as a powerful ally.
Yet, for many, the mere thought of hitting the gym or going for a run can feel daunting.
The key lies in transforming exercise from a chore into a journey.
A place where you not only become physically stronger... but mentally as well.
In this guide, we'll explore actionable strategies to enhance motivation, streamline the exercise process, and cultivate a consistent routine that amplifies its mood-boosting benefits.
Let's dive in!
by Tony Gjokaj January 25, 2024 3 min read
Did you know that our relationship with food is deeply intertwined with our psychology?
The convenience and allure of processed foods often tap into our psychological triggers, making it challenging to break free from their hold.
However, by understanding our behaviors and implementing strategic psychological practices, we can successfully reduce our reliance on processed foods.
In this blog, we'll explore five behavioral strategies that leverage psychology to foster healthier eating habits.
Let's dive in!
by Tony Gjokaj January 11, 2024 4 min read
Navigating through the challenges of depression can be a difficult journey for many.
In the quest for mental well-being, you know that exercise is a powerful tool to have in your arsenal.
However there will be days where you're not motivated... and only with carefully crafted discipline, can we do what we need to do when we aren't motivated to do it.
What exactly is discipline, and how can we use it on our journey?
In this blog post, we will explore the essence of discipline and delve into five effective ways to cultivate this invaluable trait.
Let's dive in!