Some days the last thing you feeling like doing is going to the gym to exercise again. What does it take to get the motivation - and even the energy - to get your workout done?
Even those of us who have been exercising consistently for a long time need to find motivation to turn up and exercise again and again.
Often I drive to the gym excited and looking forward to doing my workout. Sometimes I wonder if it’s actually worth the efforts I put in.
Being human, we have to live with variations in emotion. In terms of training, this means that our emotions or thoughts around our workouts can vary from time to time. This is very natural. Things are never constant and there are many factors that might determine what you feel when you are on your way to exercise, for example, experiences at work that day, the amount of sleep you have had, what you have eaten, and so on. Many things contribute.
What is going to be of most benefit to you over the long term is creating an ability to complete your workouts regardless of how you may feel leading up to getting to the gym.
If you can do this, you create what I call an ‘unshakeable habit’. This is a habit that you can continue regardless of temporary changes in your perception or emotions. What it means is that you can continue with progress in your body and your health and fitness as long as you desire to. Because now the biggest potential obstacle – you(!) – has been negotiated.
However, if there are times when you feel that the actions are not quite worth taking, or that you can’t find the energy to exercise again or eat well, you can always remember:
If you have done it before, you can do it again.
This simple statement indicates that you have everything you need: motivation, confidence, energy, knowledge and courage, to take the right action. You have done it before, you have been through it before. And, because you have already experienced each and every workout, you are now (and week-by-week) actually stronger and even more capable.
If you have done it before you can go in and do your exercise again. And of course, it is actually different every time!
Every time you complete a workout, there is an opportunity to experience something new. Maybe it is lifting a weight you have not been able to lift before. Or focusing on a particular muscle more than ever before during your final set of lifting. Or setting a new distance or time record in your cardio training. There is always the opportunity to do something new. And this should feel exciting and motivating!
Sometimes just getting in there and having a great workout when I’m not completely motivated to be there feels like I have achieved something great. Or if I find at the start of my workout I am slightly distracted and my mind isn’t really on the job, when I ‘turn it around’ and finish off my workout with appropriate focus and effort I walk away like I have really accomplished something. This is winning in itself!
So even though you have performed the actions before, each workout is an opportunity to experience something new. And more than that, it’s an opportunity to experience something that feels like success and achievement.
And as you continue to progress, you become better and better able to ‘do it again’.