How do you stay motivated to train after a full day at work?

Looking for some pointers from you post workday trainers… I’m on the bike by 5:00am most mornings thanks to 20 oz of coffee but getting strength sessions in after work is a challenge due to mental fatigue. What have you found to light a fire under your arse after a day of wracking your brain at work? Don’t want to go the caffeine route because I’m in bed by 9:00 for the morning sessions and that will interfere with sleep.

Thanks for any help you can provide.

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Similar to what you probably do in the morning I like to have everything ready and get right to it after work.

But I regularly need a little bit of downtime to unwind and be ready to go. If I need a quick 20-30 minute nap I’ll take one and sometimes that makes all the difference. I do often have a coffee but rarely after say 5 or 5:30 and that seems to be enough not to mess with my sleep. A little snack also goes a long way for me if I’ve been busy during the day.

I also bargain with myself if I’m not feeling really energetic, I’ll do a warm up and if I feel like I need to take it easy I will and if I start coming around I’ll do whatever I had planned.

I would guess that 90% of my TR workouts begin around 4:30am or 5:00am. I’m used to those.

When I have an afternoon workout, I actually look forward to it throughout the day… and that’s one of the things that gets me through a stressful day at the office: the anticipation of ‘unwinding’ on the trainer. The worse my day at the office becomes, the more I look forward to the workout. Dangerously loud music in my earbuds, ripping pain in my legs, and the stress of my ‘office day’ melts pretty quickly.

While my morning workouts are caffeine-fuels, I abstain in the afternoons. That means (and this is a nice bonus), I can much some Clif Blocks, or something sweet and sugary.

And the final bonus? Dinner tastes even better after a hard TR workout.


I work in a mentally taxing field especially during tax season. For me the TR rides after work are a way to tune out of life and just get into my own little zone mentally. When I used to lift it was much the same way, a good way to blow off some steam and decompress after a long day.

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I’m a teacher and up decently early to get ready for school so I would need to be up quite early for a workout, (5 am is super early to me) and whenever I workout super early I don’t get the same quality of workout.

I really enjoy riding the bike and that’s a main priority for me so I look forward to riding in the evening.

Also helps to have the trainer set up, bottles ready, and anything else needed to go.

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I can’t stay motivated.

Basically motivation comes and goes for me. Honestly some days I’m so drained mentally by mid afternoon I can tell I’m simply not going to be in the mood later to jump on the bike that night. Internet doesn’t help either, massive focus and time sink.

I do know that I almost always feel way better if I do a workout though. Brings me back to life, complete mood reversal.

What worked for me before was being accountable to a group. I had a bunch of guys, some new to cycling and I was organising Group workouts on Zwift. They were dead into it, and so I was making it onto the bike regularly again.

Structured plans help loads too as you have something to do that needs ticked off, and the weight sessions at the gym might not have that to the same degree.

Small things do work like being prepared and doing the one step at a time thing too, just slowly putting gear on and moving towards the workout while trying not to think about it. Or if the workout is rough, then motivate yourself by swapping it for something shorter or easier or more fun. If you’re going well then up the ante mid ride or extend it.

Headphones. Get them on and start listening to music as you want to get ready.

Dropping caffeine entirely. I’ve done this a couple of times, and it takes a while for energy to flatten out, but energy for me becomes more constant over the whole day and I’m less wrecked by late afternoon now. Still drink decaf, which has a little caffeine in it, and gives that satisfaction.

Attitude switch. Sometimes just joking with yourself saying this sucks, but here we go again, then getting up and heading out, actually works. Just keep it in your head that you’ll feel better after the workout.

Having motivation is amazing, makes everything in life easy. The hard part is getting work done when you’re not motivated, that’s the real test.


I commute to work. Then I don’t have to be motivated to ride home. I just have to ride home to get home:)


Best way to find motivation is to separate motivation from discipline. Motivation comes and goes. Sometimes it is entirely out of your hands, and there is no playlist on earth that can come to the rescue.

Focus on discipline… With discipline, the work gets done. And then you can use the results that come from the work to feed your motivation for the next time you have to pedal after a hard day.


Was just about to post:

Discipline trumps motivation. Motivation waxes and wanes. You can’t rely on it and hope to have real success.

That aside, get on your bike as soon as possible when you get home. When you start into something else, the likelihood you will ride drops precipitously. Set everything up in the morning or the night before, just as you would if you were going to ride early. Remove barriers, get on the bike.

But above all: be disciplined enough to do it.


Maybe this isn’t recommended… but I do the strength in the morning to get it out of the way, and then it’s easy to get on the bike in the evening because the bike is what I look forward to.

If I did it the other way around the strength workout probably wouldn’t happen for me.

I work a fairly random schedule (ER doctor) and I struggle to get motivated some times for post daytime (7-3 or 9-5) shifts. Due to the randomness of my schedule I try to plan my workout week on Sunday by switching around workouts on the TR calendar to fit my schedule. I will try to have an easy day (the ubiquitous petit for example) or an off day on my day shift days. If I have to do a more intense workout on a dayshift day, I try to have all my gear ready for when I get home, be sure to have hydrated and eaten at work and get right at it as soon as I get home. It’s very easy for me not to eat or drink at work and if I sit around when I get home, it’s very easy to not get off the couch after a long/stressful workday.

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British Cycling has an article about their women athletes. Think they said they do heavy strength work in the morning as testosterone is higher then. Applies to men too but article just happened to be about the women’s team.

There’s some consensus that goes around that if you’re doing two workouts a day, then you should do the most important one first (forget the technical reason why, but something sciency).

Biggest issue is not having a gym open at 5am for most people. Can always just roll out the door in a bike, but a home gym is definitely a big win if you have space and will actually use it. Seen quite a lot of pro triathletes have pretty much their whole hole kitted out. More convenient.

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As the weather gets better and days get longer, there’s nothing better than going outside to ride after work. Swap your indoor workouts for outdoor ones.



Great point.

I’m motivated to ride outside, green exercise feeds my soul.

Discipline gets me on the bike at 8pm after I’ve got my boys settled.

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good posts.

for me it is not motivation but lack of energy, being super tored and just needing recovery.

i did unussally high tss in January, around 500 compared to 250-300 as average before that. probably I burned out a little then.

now we are in a super strict C19-lockdown again, no schools, no kindergartens, both my wife and I handle our jobs and our two kids 24/7 at home.

we are so tired. i just cant do workouts right now, i dont know how being so tired

anybody with ideas?

I find building the habit has really helped me. My days are wildly variable in stress levels (some days are basically zero stress, others are tension headache inducing). What I’ve found that works for me is getting on the bike, no matter what. Some days I’m just not ready for VO2/O-U or whatever, so I swap out that workout for 30m at z2.

Once the habit becomes ingrained, it makes it easier to get on the bike and do something. I used to hate doing a workout on Fridays, but after 8 weeks, it’s just part of my day, so if I’ve missed out an intensity day in the week because of work stress, the habit pushes me to get on and do the work.

I’m on the LV plan, but ride 6 days a week, nailing the LV workouts and adding something (anything!) the other three days. That way, if Tuesday is a bad day to do the workout, I still have the habit of subbing an easy day (to keep the habit), and picking up the hard workout on a day that works for me.

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Can’t really help, I have the same problem, lol…

Though a couple of things:

  • eat at work or on the way back, so you don’t face the “eat or train” question when at home
  • doing the workout straight when in through the door is best, but if you can’t do that, wait, recover first, and do it last thing before bed (though some people seem to have issues sleeping after a workout, so mighy not be for everybody)
  • it’s a lot easier when you have a group or a mate to train with, even virtually.
  • it’s a lot easier if you have a specific place other than home to train, like a gym. Go there an the way back, don’t try to go out again once home.
  • if you can go to a gym, maybe you can do it at lunchtime instead if after work?

It is a lot easier being alone or without kids. We really struggle a lot these days to find any time or energy for hobbies or some own interests, even reading a book in the evening makes us fall asleep right away. Not even to speak about time together without the kids. No chance.
Of the last 12 months we had almost 9months of close to or complete lockdown situation. That seems to take its toll. I dont see much time or energy to actually go through hard workouts these days.
It is a vicious circle though: The less one trains, the less one profits from the energy boost, the harder it is to get back into the workout rythm while loosing fitness at the same time and becoming lazy. These days I cant even imagine how I did 3-5 workouts a week, dont see where I got the energy from.


Routine is always your freind and also having fixed nights and optional nights.
For me I make myself ride Monday OR Tuesday, always Wednesday, then Thursday OR Friday.
This flexibility allows me to ‘bunk’ a couple of nights without feeling guilty.


I’ve been dealing with higher LSS (life strain score) lately. Sometimes, it is wise to just rest. When I do think I should train, and I think it has value, I reflect on the value and the change I am seeking. For example, I want to hang with some fast guys on a group ride.

As for the OP, I have found that 2/week is enough. Also, using the AT mentality, sometimes just doing a sustaining workout is enough. In that case, you don’t want to lose ground. That takes very little. YMMV.

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