Taking Back Monday: 5 Strategies For REAL Monday Motivation

It's Monday morning - and to make matters worse, you didn't even have a weekend. All you want to do is crawl back into bed, but you can't because being adult requires having - and keeping - a job. You skipped your morning workout, you're craving a donut (okay donutS) and there isn't enough coffee or concealer to hide the fact that yes:

You're having a Monday. 

If you think fitness pros start every week by bouncing out of bed for a 6 a.m. workout chased with green juice - which they then photograph for the perfect #MondayMotivation Instagram post - allow me to just keep it real with you this morning:

Not this girl and not today.

I slept in until 7:30. I want to pour a pot of coffee in my face. All I want for breakfast is pure, refined, delicious, not-even-remotely-good-for-me carbs - the kind with icing and sprinkles on top. I'm wearing my Reebok gear, but I haven't actually been to the gym yet. 

While I *love-love-love* my job as a Les Mills trainer, it does require working weekends some times. I gave all my energy to the group fitness instructors I trained this weekend, so I'm starting my Monday behind the 8 ball. Not where I want to be.

If you work weekends or had a particularly rough one, you may be struggling to find that prized MONDAY MOTIVATION, too. How do you handle Monday when you didn't really get a weekend? When didn't get a chance to rest, recover and re-energize for the week ahead? 


Here's my short-cut list for Taking Back Monday and getting back on track after a long weekend:

1. Drink Coffee - But Join #TeamOneCupADay

Coffee is one of the best, all-natural performance enhancers on the planet. If you need a kick of energy, a good cup of coffee is one of your best bets - and as long as you're keeping it unsweetened, you shouldn't feel the least bit guilty about it.

Top Ten Excellent Reasons to Drink Coffee - Poliquin Group

Get really good coffee that you truly love and enjoy that one cup or mug full. Brewing some fresh-ground Joe Van Gogh coffee (a local roaster here in Durham) is a truly an act of self-care for me. I think it's the #1 reason I got out of bed this morning lol. 

After your coffee is done, cut yourself off. Hate me if you want to, but continuing to rely on caffeine for "fake energy" for the rest of the day is not the answer! Drinking coffee throughout the day can increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol and trigger cravings for the wrong types of foods, especially for those who are already sensitive to caffeine or have issues with cortisol [Source: Poliquin Group].

Running on caffeine will give you that "wired but tired" feeling and, depending on how you metabolize caffeine, could interfere with sleep even hours later.

Seriously. Drink one really good cup of coffee then move on to other beverages like water, unsweetened black, green, or herbal teas. Speaking of beverages...

2. Re-hydrate Like It's Your JOB

When you wake up, you're dehydrated from sleep. To make matters worse, if you're anything like me, when you have a busy weekend, your water consumption goes right out the window.

Our brain needs water to function - especially when we're fatigued and running low on energy.

"Our brains depend on proper hydration to function optimally. Brain cells require a delicate balance between water and various elements to operate, and when you lose too much water, that balance is disrupted. Your brain cells lose efficiency." [Source.]

As an active woman who trains regularly, I shoot for 3-4 liters of fresh, plain water daily.

3. Just Add Sunlight!

It sounds like cruel and unusual punishment, but getting some sunlight in your eyes first thing sends signals to your brain to WAKE UP.

Open the blinds. Get near a window. Go outside. Our mamas knew what they were doing when they came into our rooms bright and early to wake us up for school. Let that sunlight in! My mom would do that AND she had a good morning song that went with it:

"It's time to get up. It's time to get up. It's time to get up in the morning!"

So evil, but so effective. I now sing it to my husband to annoy him and make him laugh:) 

Morning songs aside, as soon as my coffee finished brewing, I laced up my Reebok trainers and grabbed the dog leash outside. I grabbed my mug of coffee and took Silva (my furkid!) for a good brisk walk around the neighborhood.  When I came back, I felt so much better - and it was *maybe* 15 minutes long. I was ready to crack open the laptop and focus on work. 

4. Restock Your FLF Arsenal

The drive-thru would be SUPER easy right now - I know, but that will not set you up for success! Hit the grocery store and re-stock your fridge and pantry with the right foods to fuel you.

When we're tired and feeling run down and weary, many of us naturally crave comfort food. That's okay! We can roll with that, too!

Fat Loss Foodies believe that comfort food shouldn't make you uncomfortable. Real, whole foods can be JUST as comforting as their highly-processed, sugary, salty, fatty counterparts - but without the food coma afterwards.

Some of our favorite FLF Comfort Meals include:

Meatloaf and Mashed Cauliflower

Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Spicy Meat Sauce

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes and Chicken Sausage 

Locked and loaded: restock the good stuff

Locked and loaded: restock the good stuff


5. Screw Motivation: Practice the 5-second Rule

I actually hate the word motivation. I just used it in the title of this blog post to get your attention - and it worked.

Motivation is fickle and fleeting. It can turn on a dime based on things that are completely out of your control - like the weather.

"Ugh. I was going to hit the gym, but it's raining."

REALLY?! RAIN STOPS YOU?! But if you're already feeling low, then something as silly as rain becomes a valid reason to park it on the couch and Netflix the night away.

Maybe you even use this motivation logic to call in sick to work and take the day off, because you "don't feel like it" and spending a day doing nothing will make you feel better. No it won't. I know this happens because I used to do it when I worked for the federal government in my pre-fitness career days.

If you think you just need MOTIVATION to get moving, to eat the right thing, to sit your ass in the chair and do the work, you've already lost. That's because you've bought into the lie that motivation is the secret to your success and without it, you're toast.

Yep. Total lie. Not actually true. 

The next time you're stuck in that split-second decision between "Do I go to the gym or crash on the couch?" or "Do I order the grilled chicken salad or call 1-800-Dominos?" - count to 5 and DO IT.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 - DO IT. 

This 5-second rule is a so-called "brain hack" created by Mel Robbins and it's GENIUS. I use it A LOT on Mondays, especially when I'm tired. Running from my responsibilities because I'm not motivated is no longer an option for me. I've re-trained myself to sideline the urges to "choose easy" and push through - without relying on a single drop of motivation. 

Instead, I just do it. I count to 5 and take action - and as soon as I do, I realize "Hey I'm doing it and it's not that bad!"

How do you think I wrote this blog post? ;) 

You need more than motivation. You need skills, accountability, and support. You'll get that daily in the FLF Online Tribe, where our growing community of smart, strong, kick-ass women will have your back EVEN on Mondays. Learn more about the Online Tribe here.


Additional Resources:

"Does Coffee Really Dehydrate You?" - TrainingPeaks.com

"Why Your Brain Needs Water" - Psychology Today

"Why Motivation is Garbage" - Mel Robbins