As I drove to the gym with my kids to get there an hour before my next scheduled class, I thought about the workout ahead. My mind was racing with numbers. How many sets of squats, what weight, how many reps was I going to do. Let’s do eight, no I’m exhausted let’s do three, no three isn’t enough, I’m going for five. Then I thought about the sled drags, the pull-ups, the dips, and how many reps I would do. When I arrived, I was mentally exhausted from thinking so much, all while trying to listen to a Joe Rogan Podcast episode.
The mind went on and on trying to get my body to accept something less than it’s capable of. We all have these thoughts. Many of the members of my gym never realize how strong and able they are until I make them show me. For me, it’s different though. I don’t have a coach with me. My two kids are running around and I need to be quick. The motivation to move doesn’t come easy.
There are definitely days I let the inner bitch win. It sucks, but it happens. Do I regret it or dwell on it? No, I just pick up the pieces the next time and get rolling. On the days where I need to motivate myself to lift heavy, when I’m sore or exhausted, I just think about the men and women in the gym and how hard they work. I stand there in front of them telling them what to do and they do it. If they can, I sure as hell can. Of course I need to be motivated. Some days I’ll see my daughter sitting down on the big blue mat with her gorgeous eyes and beautiful smile fixated on Daddy. She’s watching me. She wants to see what I do. If I quit, she’ll remember that Daddy didn’t do it. If I give it my best, she’ll see me try hard and remember that Daddy worked hard. That’s all the motivation I need to push beyond my mind’s limits.
When you feel stuck and you don’t have motivation to exercise or eat well, it’s often not a simple fix but it requires some work. We don’t like hearing that word. Work is seen in today’s world as something that is hard, boring, a nuisance, a hassle, and more. We’ve become comfortable in our day to day lives and while we work our nine to fives, anything before or after that is a big no-no. Many people race home from work to eat dinner and then unplug. This is excellent for the mind but when it’s everyday, it’s a death trap.
Our minds and bodies are physically, mentally, and emotionally drained throughout the day. This is why exercise first thing in the morning is a great idea. Once we are zapped for our mental and physical energy through the demands of work, family, and social media, we don’t have much left. Getting to move in the gym seems like “hard work” and we refuse to sweat, to get sore, and to feel “pain”.
I used to be the same way. The couch is my best friend and every chance I get to veg out, I will, but most of the times, I earned it. The lack of movement and physical effort in our country is ridiculous and something that requires attention. It’s a shame to go through life without testing the limits of physical strength and mental toughness.
The problem is, people are not motivated to give it one hundred percent. This goes right back to the demands of our jobs, families, and more but when you see other people busier than you who working out hard, in shape, eating well, you have to question what’s going on. It’s not the demands of our lives, it’s our mindsets and the only way to ever break out of a slump and get motivated to live activated is by changing our mindset.
The mind will naturally try to talk you out of exercise. The negative thoughts and feelings will pile up and crush any sign of hope when we continue to allow it. How many times have you said you were going to workout tonight and then when it got closer to the time, the mind started saying things like “I’m tired.” “Tomorrow instead.” “I just don’t want to feel the burn..” and more?
Ninety nine percent of the time, starting a workout sucks. The heart is comfortable, the muscles at ease, the lungs relaxed. Getting the machine running is much like warming up a car in the winter. You start it, turn the heat on, and let it warm up. The body works almost the same way. When you begin, you warm-up. You get the joints moving, the heart rate slowly increases, blood starts pumping faster, the breathing changes, and then before you know it, you’re warm and ready for exercise. You started. The hardest part is over.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, it’s never easy to get moving and jumping into a hard workout. But the more we do it, the better we’ll feel and when we start off the workout right, it feels better. The hardest part of working out is showing up. When you show up, you already won. The mind is ready, the body is as well. When you fight yourself in your mind with the thoughts of skipping or the thoughts of difficulty, you’re exhausting yourself and only making it harder for you to show up. Next time, shower the mind with positive thoughts such as “I did it before I can do it again.” “I know I’m capable.” “I’m going to feel a hundred times better once I’m done.” “It’s only thirty minutes!”