Motivation for Exercise
A funny thing happened to me one day in an 0600hr physical training formation, while I was still in the Active Duty military. Our Executive Officer at the time, turned to me and asked how I got my motivation for exercise at such an early hour of the morning.
I turned to her and replied enthusiastically, “Well, I have two cups of coffee, foam roll,…and then snort a foot long line of cocaine of the kitchen counter!”
The very next day I had a urinalysis. Dah, some people seriously don’t know how to take a joke.
In response to TSK’s excellent post on adapting your lifestyle to incorporate fitness, there’s a couple million things that serve to unhitch your initial gumptions towards “getting in shape”, losing weight, getting six-pack-abs, whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish through your training and fitness efforts. Whether it’s the lack of time, having a high stress job, traveling, or the like you know deep down that these are all excuses.
We often create excuses to help you deal with the pain of not being motivated to exercise.
Do I really have to…
Getting motivated to exercise is somewhat of a funny thing in our current scenario of living. We don’t naturally have to do much of anything anymore and we’re so used to doing as little as possible that everything we do have to exert ourselves physically seems painful and uncomfortable.
For individuals such as myself, we live for this type of pain and exertion. For others, this exertion feels like torture and presents itself as a negative.
So how do we find the go between in terms of pleasure and pain regarding exercise?
More importantly, how do we find that deep level of motivation to get serious and start engaging in some heavy physical exercise that we all know is good for us?
The word motivation is kind of funny when I think about it. It’s not so much a physical emotion, but one can definitely feel its effects when it isn’t there. You can even find yourself succumbing to a lack of ‘mojo’ at certain times of the year for no particular reason.
It baffles me every time this occurs in my own training and I anxiously seek its resolution in order to preserve my way of life. When my lifts start to stagnate and my body starts breaking down from either training too much or getting overly stressed my body starts to rebel against me.
I hate when this happens because exercise is what makes me feel good, both physically and mentally. Without it my whole life takes a turn for the worst and a deep end depression results without the desire to do anything.
Frustrating to say the least. Pass the peanut butter, please.
The Driving Force
The real question behind motivation is simply asking that question, “what makes you get up every day?” What is your drive to survive?
Is it that self-fulfillment of your work? Is it your family? Getting to the next vacation, pay day or is it play day? Is it looking like a specific model or celebrity?
Whatever that motivation is, it drives you towards the end state. In terms of your fitness level and health, the question becomes more complicated, because you can still survive without having to exercise. But then you have to consider the consequences just surviving and not really living.
The health risks of getting the various diseases from coronary heart disease to diabetes and even dementia now that has been linked to inactivity. The human body was made to move and therefore it naturally benefits from all types of activity.
Tapping Into Your Mojo
Tapping into that one thing hidden deep inside your gut is what tells you the most about yourself and your motivation. It is sometimes the change that can kick start your mojo into high gear. Sometimes all it takes is a trip to the mirror to ask yourself, “what do you want?” Do you want to look better? Have more energy? Be able to keep up with the kids? Be stronger? How about have more sex?
The answers are always yes, but at what level can you commit too? What are the obstacles? Is it a fear associated with the pain with getting there? Are you afraid?
Damn right you’re afraid. You don’t even remember how you got here in the first place or maybe you do and you’re just scared to make the change. Change is hard. However this fear has manifested itself deep into your soul you can’t make it go away without confronting it.
Deal of the Top of the Deck
You just have to take it slow and learn that fear and anger are a deep motivators of change. For one, stop making excuses of why you can’t and start making solutions for how you can.
Identify the problems with overcoming these fears and deal with them. One by one. Write them down on a piece of paper and start making the plans to overcome these obstacles. Everyone has them and until you can deal with these fears, you’re not going to be able to improve.
Set yourself up for success and whittle away the obstacles. Whether it’s time, family, friends, alcohol, or peanut butter. Trust me on this last one, it’s an obstacle.
Tell your friends or close confidants that you want to change and put some humility of failure on the line. Hell, place a bet. Losing money is also a great motivator.
Next, start outlining how you’re going to make the changes. Start small and build towards overcoming each and every fear you have of exercising. Soon you’ll be the one your friends asking how they get so energetic and perky even after a day of serious leg training.
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