I’m a very humble person and not often will you hear me compliment myself, but I took this picture a few weeks ago and I have to admit…I look pretty good. Even though I did say a few weeks ago, I’ve only lost weight since then, so my stomach has tightened up even more. I’m way too shy to post that pic, but this is largely because I do spend some time at the gym. However, I am NOT a gym “junkie” or gym rat.
Don’t get me wrong; I love hearing from those who are or sometimes reading posts on Facebook about my friends who spend a lot of their time in the gym. It’s great to see someone have a serious passion about something, especially when it’s something positive. It allows them to look better and feel better about themselves. I never have any problem with that. For people like that, they go to the gym first and breathe second. Nothing wrong with that at all.
However, for those of you like me who enjoy spending time at the gym but aren’t gym junkies, some days, it takes a little bit to get you there. Especially for me, Sunday is my off day, so by the end of the week, my body is feeling the effects and I’m usually pretty tired from going to the gym earlier in the week. I don’t often cancel my workouts even when I feel like this, but I can easily understand how difficult it is mentally to get yourself up to going each day, especially when you go as often as I do.
So here I’m going to give a few tips of what I think are good ways to keep yourself motivated to make that trip to the gym when you’re otherwise not feeling it. Of course, there is no better advice than from your doctor, so as always, make sure you’re physically in proper shape to go and by all means, keep mindful of the potential for injuries and listen to your body if and/or when you have prolonged soreness and/or pain. Nothing is more important than your health.
Also, even if you can’t get to the gym every day but you DO have an exercise routine, a lot of this applies to you as well. Just because you can’t go to the gym doesn’t mean that exercise still isn’t important and some of these may help you as well:
Don’t talk yourself out of going. This can be VERY difficult at times, especially when (as I said earlier) you’ve worked out pretty well for a few days or weeks, or in my case, once I reach the end of the week. There are all kinds of reasons to talk yourself out of working out; you’ve had a good week, you didn’t eat that much during the day, you’re tired, etc. Don’t spend all your time talking yourself out of going, because it really won’t be that hard to convince yourself not to go. Talk yourself into going and understand that your body probably gets the most on those days you don’t feel like going. You’re training your body to be resilient against giving up when you otherwise are fully able to go.
Don’t expect others to motivate you, especially those who don’t go to the gym or exercise. This does NOT mean I have an issue with people who don’t go to the gym or exercise. It isn’t for everyone. But remember, you’re probably not going to get the best motivation from those people. You may have that friend who doesn’t go to the gym or exercise, but they will still encourage you to go. I haven’t noticed that very often in my own life, but what I have noticed is that when I say, “I really don’t feel like going to the gym today,” all those people do is give you all the same reasons I mentioned above. “Go on and take a rest day!” or “You’ve been going a lot lately; don’t worry about it!” They may not have any incentive to go to the gym, so they haven’t put nearly the time in as you have. It’s much easier for them to tell you to skip out that day. On top of that, some people are just haters, plain and simple. They can’t get their butts to the gym, so if you’re unsure, of course they’re going to convince you not to go and really, the only reason is because they aren’t going and they think it will slow you down some. Don’t fall for it.
Motivate yourself however you are comfortable doing so. Unless it’s something illegal, there is no “wrong” way to motivate yourself. If music helps, listen to it. If going out and walking helps, do it. If running a lap around a building is what gets it done, hook that up. I’ve seen people listen to SLOW music to get up for a gym workout. This is YOUR workout, so it’s all about what helps YOU. Other people don’t matter. Others like to criticize, but that’s just because it’s not their thing. It doesn’t have to be. Be comfortable enough to do whatever you need to do to get up for that workout and certainly don’t be ashamed because what you’re doing may be unorthodox or unconventional. It’s YOUR time and workout, not everyone else’s.
Talk about it as often as you’d like. I always feel AMAZING after my workouts and many times, I feel like posting about it on Facebook or talking to others about it. Nothing wrong with that at all. If that encourages you and pushes you to get back there again the next time, DO IT. Again, there are those people out there who can’t get themselves to the gym, but out of guilt, they put others down when they talk about it. You’ve seen those posts that go something like, “Unless you fell off the treadmill, no one wants to hear about your workout”? That’s a joke. People are really THAT guilty about not going to the gym themselves that they don’t realize how pathetic that sounds. Not to mention, who are these people to know that “no one” cares? I always find that laughable, especially when someone tries to jump on the internet and say it. These people don’t speak for everyone, so I’ll let them live in their delusional little worlds if it makes them feel better about themselves, but I’m not going to shut up when I feel good after a workout, and neither should you. Ever. Talk about it EVERY DAY if you’d like. I have friends who actually chose to stop posting on FB that they’re working out or exercising because they’re worried that people are tired of seeing it. Please. These same whiners wouldn’t hesitate to post something that would possibly offend you, correct? They have the option to hide the post. You do what you need to do.
Don’t feel guilty because other people say they’re “too busy” to exercise. While this may be true in the lives of some, it’s not the case all the time. People often like to claim their lives are busier than they really are because it just sounds better, but I find that questionable, because I know too many people whose lives aren’t even close to being that busy. Those of us don’t go to the gym don’t do so because we have no life. We do because we want to look and feel better, and it’s important enough for us to get there. Some people are just lousy at time management, but don’t let them make you feel that your life isn’t busy enough or that you don’t have enough to do and that’s the only reason you’re in the gym. I have a TON going on in my life and the gym is important part of it. Again, most people who don’t go don’t because of health problems; they don’t because they simply don’t choose to go or are just plain lazy. No, everyone doesn’t have to go to the gym or exercise all day and every day, but when they start criticizing you because you ARE going, you know the real deal. Don’t hesitate to let people know about it.
Don’t let your diet stop you from going. Over here in Afghanistan, I work out in the evenings. What I mean here is that if you do the same, don’t eat less or more during the day and let that affect you in any way. Diet is a BIG part of staying in shape and way too often, people don’t get the results they want because they don’t put the two together. They either starve themselves if they don’t go, or eat like pigs because they do. If you go through the day and you’re struggling with whether or not to go, don’t convince yourself by having a light lunch. That will just be more of a guarantee that you won’t go later on.
STAY FOCUSED. Remember the reason you decided to go to the gym the very first time you went? What was your motivation? Wanted to lose weight? Tone the abs? Build your biceps? Whatever your motivation is, think about this on the days you feel like skipping out on the gym. Again, ANY motivation is fine. If you want to go the gym just so you can show off your body, remember that. There is no “wrong” motivation. My motivation for hitting it so hard out here is not only because I’d like to be stronger, lose a few pounds (which I’ve done already) and keep in great shape, but because I still want to impress my wife of 15 years. Nothing wrong with that, right?
Last, but not least, if you make it to the gym, but you know it is STILL going to be a bad day, work on the target area(s) FIRST. Many times, we go to the gym or exercise because we want to target something specifically or even if it’s not that, it’s something primarily that we’re going for. For me, it’s my abs. They look pretty good, but that’s what I put the most focus on each day. If you know that no matter what, you’re going to end up skipping on the workout, work on those areas first. In my case, each workout starts with abs. If you want to build your arms, then go straight to the weights when you walk in. This way, if you do leave early, you can still feel confident that the area you want to build on the most got that work in for the day. The bottom line is that some days just aren’t good days and I understand that. We all do. Even the most serious gym rats aren’t immune to that. This just allows you to get SOMETHING good out of the workout and for you to be able to get back there the next day. For those of us who know, it’s VERY easy to let one bad day lead to not going to the gym for a few months. This keeps you on track.
I want to stress again that I’m not at all looking to put down those who don’t go to the gym or exercise. We all have the freedom of choice to do what we want. But I don’t have sympathy for those who start running their mouths to me as though I’M doing something wrong. I don’t put down those who don’t exercise and I don’t expect anyone to make a lame attempt to put me down because I do. I’m not better than you because of it, but if you want to try to insult me over it, I guarantee your feelings will be hurt way before mine are.
For those of you who enjoy exercise but struggle with it sometimes, hopefully some of these tips have helped you out some. And I’m certainly no expert, so if you have some ideas that I missed, PLEASE feel free to share them in the comments. I’m certainly all ears.
Thanks for reading.