5 Tips to Lift You Up When Working Out Feels Pointless

Kirby Bumpus, MPH
by Kirby Bumpus, MPH
Share it:
5 Tips to Lift You Up When Working Out Feels Pointless

Have you ever felt like you’ve been working so hard to achieve your health and weight-loss goals but, no matter what, the people you want to notice just aren’t recognizing your slayage? You are not alone.

One of my group chats was all abuzz the other day about actress and SNL comedian Leslie Jones’ recent Instagram gym selfie:

While it took a lot of courage for Jones to express her vulnerability on social media, her caption got me thinking about how common these feelings of unworthiness about our bodies may be. Her comment made me reflect back to when I was 30 pounds heavier, struggling with my own feelings of failure, asking myself, “What’s the point in trying?” Heck, I’ve had those thoughts when I’m at a healthy weight and just not seeing the results I want, think I should be seeing or the results I want the world to see …  

Leslie followed up with a post later in the day with the following caption:

“Hey!! I want everyone to know I post my real feelings cause I am a real person!! And I know I’m not alone. That being said I’m also 50 years old and know that life is life! And some days we are low! But the good thing is I know I’m loved by God and I’m good!! It’s important to respect your feelings as long as you don’t live there!! God bless!!”

Regardless of your religion or beliefs, Leslie’s thought is a powerful one — no matter who you are, some days you have low feelings, just don’t live there and know that you are loved.

With Valentine’s Day upon us, and images of perfect, happy couples everywhere, I want to leave you with a message: Stop trying for others. Start doing it for you.

Even if you are paired with a loving partner, you may still have those “What’s it all for?” moments.

Next time you wonder what’s it’s all for, take a look in the mirror and say: “Me.”

And yes, I know this can be hard. For example, maybe you’ve been regularly checking someone out at spin class with zero glances back, maybe you want your spouse to give you a hug when you get home from the gym, maybe you just want your work crush to notice you’ve lost 7/8 of a pound or maybe you just want someone, anyone to comment that you look damn good.

Drown out the need for external validation and just keep putting in work in the gym, keep logging (and sticking to your goals) and keep yourself top of mind — you will see results. Here are some self-love tips to help you along your health and fitness journey:


Like most people, I love that post-exercise glow, the endorphin rush I feel just after leaving the gym, but I’ll be honest: I don’t always love the workout itself. So think about a workout you truly love. For me, it’s working out with my friend Alex. We always have the best time crushing stress in the gym. So, identify that thing for you. It could be a Zumba or dance class. Maybe walking, yoga or tai chi is your thing. Or, you may surprise yourself by trying something new like rock climbing, biking or even golfing.


I was taught at a young age that you really just need one good friend. To this day, it still rings true for me. Your group of friends doesn’t have to be big, but it should include people who lift you up and make you your best self. Reach out to friends who can help motivate and encourage you along the way. Try to get yourself one good friend who can support you on your health and fitness journey. My friend Deesha recently started doing 6 a.m. bootcamp workouts and she’s started sending a note to to let me know she was on her way to her session. Some days I’d wake up at 6:15 a.m. to a text from her saying she was going and that was all the motivation I needed to get out of bed to do my own workout instead of hitting snooze. The same thing goes for food — you might want to avoid a meal with a friend who’s known to go crazy at dinner (real talk: sometimes I am that friend) … but that friend might be the perfect fit for a movie or walk around the neighborhood.



If you’re in the middle of reclaiming a workout routine or tracking your food intake, remember that time you could barely lift the current dumbbells you are using. If you’re at the start of your wellness journey, think back to the time when you were too intimidated to even start. The fact you’ve made the commitment to start eating better or exercising is progress from where you began. I often get a rush of self love when I think about how I used to be terrified of the sled at the gym and now I run up to push it — loaded with weights — across the gym like a pro.


If you’re feeling overwhelmed, sad or stressed, reach out to friends and family for support. It can be a text or a phone call. Better yet, tell the people that matter to you what you need from them: maybe it’s as simple as your spouse giving you a hug or high five when you get home from your run. The MFP community can also be incredibly supportive- check out the community message boards for inspiration from other users. You can even introduce yourself and ask for words of motivation. But if those tactics are not helping or not providing the level of support you need, then don’t hesitate to get help from a professional who is better equipped to help you explore the root of your sadness, stress or lack of self worth.


No matter what your health, fitness or weight-loss goal is, you’ve got to make the change for yourself. You can be motivated by others, but at the end of the day if you aren’t doing it for yourself you will be let down. Stop focusing on the number on the scale and the external praise, instead shift your focus to your increased energy and how much better you feel physically when you are a few pounds lighter.

Better Than Ever

We all strive for wellness and to live better! Every month, this column will bring you advice on how to feel and perform Better Than Ever. Check out tips to improve various aspects of your health: from fitness, nutrition, sleep and recovery to everything in between. Have a topic you want to hear about? Feel free to reach out here (I’ll be checking the comments!) or on Twitter or Instagram. I look forward to hearing from you.


> Men’s Workout Clothes

> Women’s Workout Clothes

> All Workout Clothes


About the Author

Kirby Bumpus, MPH
Kirby Bumpus, MPH

Kirby leads health and wellness communications at Under Armour Connected Fitness. She earned her BA in Human Biology and Psychology at Stanford University and MPH in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She loves hiking (hello, National Parks!), a good meal and a great workout! Have a topic you want to hear about? Reach out in the comments or on Twitter or Instagram and Kirby will tackle in the next Better Than Ever column.