Missing Motivation?

4 Strategies To Get Moving

Photo by Justin Veenema on Unsplash

I went to bed last night with every intention of having a kick ass work out on Monday. You have to start the week off on the right foot, right? ‘Never miss a Monday’ as the saying goes. Only I did want to miss a Monday, this very Monday in particular. Even worse, I had precisely zero excuses to miss my workout. It was already in my schedule, I had a good nights sleep the evening before, and my gym is just a short walk down to my garage. There were exactly zero barriers between me and what I needed to do. However, I just wasn’t into it, at all, nada, zilch, zero. As I write this, I have just finished my dreaded workout, and I’m so glad I did.

Think About How You’ll Feel After

Like many of the most worthwhile endeavors a person undertakes, fitness training doesn’t give you immediate gratification. If you want to get bigger, stronger, faster, then you have to prioritize recovery and a proper diet, and train at level that will consistently put you in a state of discomfort. Oh, and it will probably take months to reach your goals. This doesn’t happen overnight, and if someone tries to tell you otherwise they are probably trying to sell you something, lying to you, or most likely both. However, a great workout does pump you full of endorphins, giving you that sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that only comes from physical exertion. You’ve just completed another step in service of your long term goals while improving your mood and well being for that day. This mindset is easier to adapt if you’ve been training over a long period of time because you know this is how the game works. Consistent effort over a long period of time is the best way to achieve your fitness goals, each training session is one of many steps to that goal.

Set A Small Goal And Overachieve

This approach is good for those who aren’t regularly in the habit of exercise but want to get there. A body in motion tends to stay in motion, so use your own momentum to keep going. Once you break a sweat and get warm it gets easier to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m a big fan of bodyweight exercises for this purpose. A quick circuit of squats, push ups, jumping jacks and mountain climbers works quite nicely. These movements make a quick total body workout but won’t fatigue you to the point of impairing your main workout. I like to do 10 reps each of the exercises listed above, and do the circuit 2 or 3 times. It takes only minutes and you’ll be sweating by then, so you might as well keep going. Do the quick circuit and see how you feel afterward, chances are you’ll be much more motivated now. Plus you’ve already broken a sweat, so no reason to stop now. This circuit doubles as a warm up too, so you’ll be primed and ready to tackle something harder.

Do Something You Enjoy

If you don’t like a certain type of exercise, you probably won’t do it. A groundbreaking revelation this is not, but sometimes it needs to be said. If you come into every workout dreading what you’re about to do it might be time to rethink your training. In my case, I’d much rather do squats than deadlifts. Most of my lower body workouts are built around squats, but I still deadlift when I’m in the mood. Another good option to ignite action and limit hesitancy is a timed workout. Another great way to utilize circuits and bodyweight movements. Pick a few of your favorite exercises and make a circuit out of them, the simpler the better. The goal here is to remove any obstacles from you working out, so movements that need no or minimal equipment are best. Personally, I’m fond of the circuit below.

1 minute of cardio such as running, rowing, biking, jump rope etc.…

15 goblet squats

10 inverted rows

15 kettlebell swing

10 push-ups

I simply set a timer for 15 minutes and bang out as many circuits as possible. Notice how I’ve chosen exercises that cover all the major muscle group so I get the most bang for my buck. The short duration and knowing that you’re up against the clock is also a good motivator to achieve as much work as possible within the time frame.

Go Play Instead

Long periods of intense training can take their toll on you, physically as well as mentally. This is why deload weeks should be in your programming. Give yourself permission to do something you want once in a while. If you have kids, take them outside or to the park. As the father of a four year old, she has no problem coming up with games for us to play in the yard. Have a soccer ball or basketball hoop? A ball and a child’s imagination are a great combination. As the pandemic winds down, look for rec leagues in your area to open up again. Softball, basketball and ultimate frisbee are great options and include a social component that shouldn’t be understated, especially after being denied the opportunity for the last year.

Lapses in motivation happen for everybody time to time, and how you respond to these moments can have a great influence on your fitness and health. Too many days of saying “I just don’t feel like working out” will eventually catch up to you. Try these tips the next time you’re missing motivation, I bet you’ll be glad you did afterward.