Why It’s So Hard To Get Off The Couch and Exercise

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It’s 6am and your alarm clock goes off.

“Good You” set it the night before with the best of intentions; you’d get up and exercise before starting your day.

But as the alarm blares and you reach for it, “Lazy You” reaches for the snooze button. After all, the bed is warm and comfy, and going out for a jog sounds like too much effort. And so the battle ensues… “Good You” vs “Lazy You”, to get up and exercise or not. SOUND FAMILIAR?!?!?

In this Trainer Talk, I discuss the very root of exercise motivation and where the struggle comes from.


I really hope you’ll watch. As a wellness coach, I see way too much self-shame happening when clients feel they’re failing at exercise. There’s a whole negative cycle that occurs: we struggle to exercise, and when we fail we berate ourselves, which leads to more stress and negative feelings… when actually our tendencies towards inactivity are a completely normal human response. With this video, my hope is that if you increase your understanding about the very nature of exercise motivation, you’ll actually begin to improve your relationship with exercise overall. Because until we create a healthier relationship with our feelings about exercise, the struggle and the stress it creates will never change.

As for the exercises you’ll see James and me doing in the video, they all came from this Bodyweight Workout you can find here on The Fit RV website. We jazzed them up a bit (like when we used the van’s running board), but for the most part, it’s all the same stuff.


My viewpoint on exercise motivation is heavily influenced by Harvard professor Daniel Lieberman, and if you’d like to continue researching points I make in the video, I highly encourage you to take a look at this fascinating article by Dr. Lieberman, “Is Exercise Really Medicine?”

I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to leave comments or questions below; let’s keep the discussion going.


Trainer Stef



After 15 years as an educator in both the public K-12 setting and the University level in Special Physical Education, Stef made the leap to her true passion… the fitness world. She’s currently a personal trainer and wellness coach specializing in seniors, medical conditions, and injuries. Stef loves running, cycling, and being “Mugga” to her two favorite mini-humans — Punky and Marshmallow. ❤️

    20 thoughts on “Why It’s So Hard To Get Off The Couch and Exercise

    1. Jennie E Williams

      Dear Stef – your perspective and training are right on and I got a lot out of the article and the comments about mitochondria and the change in gene expression. This piece has been very positively provocative for me – thanks so much for your wonderful work – love Jennie

      1. Stefany - Post author

        Awww Hi Jennie! I’m so glad that article resonated with you, love hearing that. I know that feeling when something you read clicks… it really does help keep the motivation up to make fit choices doesn’t it! Glad you reached out so now I can be sending you good vibes and rooting for you! xoxo

    2. Natalie

      Great video. Never really thought it was in our nature to seek rest. But geting out to exercise is not always easy. I have been slowly putting together a page on becoming a lifelong runner…and progress has slowed down even more. Your video is motivating because it acknokwledges the struggle but still pushes for it!

    3. Alain

      I don’t think any amount of motivation will get me pumped-up about training early in the morning. My favorite citation is “The early bird gets the worm only proves the worm should have stayed in bed. After work evening workouts are best for me, but vacation time and travel are a whole other ball game.

      And speaking of exercise and travel, you wouldn’t happen to have a printable chart for your TRX exercises? I just finished my DIY “TRX” project using my recycled karate belts from years past (very colorful….alas no black…sniff!!).

      1. Stefany - Post author

        WEIRD Alain! Just today I was thinking that while I’ve done a few TRX videos, I’ve never done a printable for TRX exercises… and decided it’s my next project! You crazy mind-reader you. Your homemade TRX sounds fantastic… here’s hoping it gets loads of use (after work hours of course). 🙂 xoxo

        1. Alain

          So just to check if I’m really a mind reader (or just opportunistic…), your next project after that will be “Exercises adapted to SUP’s”. With the bonus benefit of a free bath if you get them wrong.

    4. Greg Helton

      I read recently that people who exercise have 50% more mitochondria than those who get little or no exercise. Mitochondria are the structures in every cell that produce energy. (Who knew they varied? Not me.)

      A little more googling found an article with similar info but that also reports that after a few weeks of exercising, that up to 400 genes work differently and the difference is greatest for (a.) older folks and (b.) those who did interval training. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/23/well/move/the-best-exercise-for-aging-muscles.html

      Thanks for talking about this. The best motivation for exercise is knowledge.

      1. Stefany - Post author

        YES! So glad you mentioned both the mitochondria increase and the change in gene expression; don’t you love science! Exercise certainly does increase the number of mitochondria, and the more mitochondria you have, the more energy you can generate during physical activity; so you can go and faster and longer. And there have been a bunch of studies in recent years in how exercise changes our gene expression; exciting stuff! You’ve actually tapped into one of the things that keeps me most motivated to continue exercising: staying educated and current. Reading studies like these is all I need to get out of my chair. 🙂

    5. John A Sillasen

      Stephany, “Millions of Years” of Human evolution. Really? Millions? Don’t think we had caves millions of years ago let alone people to attempt to steal one from you…
      Got a kick out of that. Where’s that bell when you need one?

      Point well made other than that of course.

      1. Stefany - Post author

        LOL! Well not to get into a human evolution debate here on a fitness and RVing website, but when I said “…and for millions of years it made sense…” in the video, I was thinking about the “Laetoli Footprints,” early hominin footprints discovered back in the late 80’s and dated at 3.7 million years. And also of Homo erectus, whose earliest fossil evidence goes back almost 2 million years. Here’s a little known fact about me: In my undergrad, I started as an archaeology major before switching over to education and exercise science! I switched once I realized an archaeology undergraduate degree would have me eating ramen noodles well beyond my college years. 😉

    6. George S. Eisele (EYES-lee)

      Another excellent video, Stefany. Thank you. I starting working out (again!) in October at age 70, and I feel amazing. Promised myself this time I will not ever stop. Also loved your BodyLastics band exercise video. I’m engineering (in my mind so far) a door substitute for the bands, made from PVC, that could slide under an RV tire, actually on either side of the part of the tire that’s on the ground. The ground part would support a pole to allow use of the “anywhere” loops to clip the bands onto in various positions on the pole, similar to the way they are inserted in the sides of a door. Crazy? Probably. We’ll see. I just don’t want to spend this summer camping and watching my hard work go to flab. I didn’t come this far just to come this far! Keep up your excellent work, both of you. Love your videos.

      1. Stefany - Post author

        A tire mount for the bands…how interesting! Do keep me posted if you get it to work, might be a great solution for us, too! We tend to use the small Bodylastics anchor wrapped around the running board when we need a low anchor, but that’s a foot off the ground so the tire would be a true low anchor. And GOOD FOR YOU making a pact with yourself that you’ll stick to it this time. I’ve actually had people your age, multiple times, tell me they’re “too old” to bother starting exercise now (that voice again, making its excuses!). The body WILL work with you, and make adaptations for the demands you place on it, no matter what our age. GO GEORGE! xoxo

        1. George S. Eisele (EYES-lee)

          Stef, I will let you know about my “invention”. I am not a structural engineer, so I do not know what thickness of PVC will be required to withstand the forces exerted by pulling on the bands. For sure I don’t want to get smacked on the back of the head by a broken pipe flying off in my direction! So, lots of stuff to work out yet. Oh, and speaking of working out (such a clever segway, huh!) my doctor was amazed this morning when I showed him my bicep. Aerobics 3 days a week, weights 3 days a week, following the BodyForLife workout plan and a vegan diet. Down 12 lbs since I started in October, and 38 overall now, according to the doc’s records. I remember a before and after photo on the BFL plan of a woman who looked amazing after only 3 months of working out. She was 94 years old at the time! I think a lot of cruel myths exist about old people. We are not used up shells waiting for death, unless we want to be! Thanks for your encouragement. You and James will probably look like you do now if you live to be 94!

      1. Stefany - Post author

        So interesting. Evidence like this continues to emerge and tells us the same thing: that regular physical activity yields a wide array of powerful health benefits. Thanks for sharing this study!


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