Folks, we get it. Some days are just tougher than others.
Traffic was a nightmare. Work was driving you nuts. The news guy destroyed your world record.
Whatever the case may be, sometimes you get home and you just want to collapse into your favorite chair. And any aspirations you may have had on exercising are completely diminished.
There are plenty of reasons people lose the motivation to exercise — around 101, last time we checked. But there are a lot of ways you can keep that drive alive and reach your fitness goals. Take a look at this list and see which ones will work for you.
1) Enjoy Exercising
Other than “I don’t have time,” there’s no more common reason people use to skip a workout than “I don’t like working out”. But maybe you just don’t like a certain type of workout, the type you see all over movies and television. And if you don’t, good. A lot of what you see is the last thing you want to put your body through.
From Antranik.org: “[O]verall, just relax and ENJOY YOUR LIFE. Being “fit” shouldn’t be stressful. It should be enjoyable. “
So find something you enjoy, whether it be calisthenics, swimming or gardening. Everyone has something they like that involves getting some exercise. Don’t be discouraged just because your idea of fun isn’t destroying your back in a poorly lit gym.
2) Have a Training Partner(s)
You can pump all the music into your ears and set all the schedules to work out you want, but as our friend Al Kavadlo says, “Anyone who has had a great personal trainer or worked out with athletes can tell you that there is no better motivation in the world.”
There really is nothing like another person right there in the trenches with you. Part of your motivation becomes to not let that person down; to continue to push so that you both can grow and improve.
When you’ve got someone whose health and well-being you truly care about as your exercise partner, it gets awfully hard to send that “Can’t make it today” text.
3) Know Why You’re Training
What is the goal here? That’s an important question to keep in mind in pretty much every facet of life, and exercise is no different. You need to keep in mind why you’re taking time out of your day to exercise, or it becomes much easier to write off.
Everyone’s motivation dips now and then, but as GMB Fitness says, “The only way to combat this is to understand your true motivation for working out, and train for the right reasons.”
4) Train for Intrinsic Reasons
Now, of all the reasons one may have to exercise, you stand a much better chance for success if you’re training for intrinsic reasons. When we interviewed Daniel Vandal, he had a some great advice on the matter:
“Put simply, I began training because it was fun and gratifying to see the improvements occurring in strength as well as physique. Upon reflecting several years later a good component would be out of boredom and having too much free time on my hands. I understand most people workout because they want to look better to impress the other sex, if this is the ONLY reason, good luck remaining consistent. In my eyes it won’t be enough being fueled by extrinsic motivation to keep going month after month, year after year. Working out should be for intrinsic reasons. I’d still train if it wasn’t cool, didn’t provide any monetary gain or increase social standing.”
Essentially, you can train to look great for beach season, and train hard. But then beach season comes and goes…then what? Train for sweater season? That’s not even a thing. But if you’re training because you’re enjoying it, and because it gives you a sense of fulfillment, growth and accomplishment, you’re much more likely to stick with it.
5) Train to Be Happy
one of the best pep talks you’ll ever hear:
“What’s the good of living, what’s the good of making a lot of money, what’s the good of having fine clothes and a fancy automobile, if you’re miserable all the time?”
Don’t treat that as a hypothetical question. Really ask yourself, what is the point of trivial things if it doesn’t give you a sense of happiness?
We think of exercise in the same light. It’s not something we want you to dread every day when you get up. We want you to be able to think, “I’m working out today for me. It makes me happy and that’s why I’ll stick with it.”
Now go and have some fun.
I have to agree that training and exercising should be done for intrinsic reasons. If I am exercising because I want to and for no other reason then I am more likely to be like Daniel Vandal and keep up on my training. However, my problem is the initial burst to get me started. I need a little extra push besides just how exercising will make me feel because right now exercising just hurts. So, is it OK to start training for extrinsic reasons and then work on the intrinsic reasons for keeping it up?