Motivation Nation

A common question I get from clients is this: how do you find the motivation to work out when you just don’t feel like it?

And usually I have an answer for them, which is some combination of the following: think of what’s at stake (your health, your family, your confidence, your mental health, etc.).  Remind yourself why you started exercising in the first place.  Consider why this specific workout is important for your long-term goals.  And if you’re already an avid exerciser, remember the mundanity of excellence – and go do your daily duty.

But what happens when I can’t motivate myself?

As you probably guessed from yesterday’s entry about my amazing running-wine-ing-not-so-much-sleeping bachelorette party, I have been training for an event for nearly six months (I started in April for the race this past weekend).  The event is now over.  I gave myself Sunday as a freebie, because it was the day after the race, and Monday, because I was driving home.

Along came Tuesday, and I taught my usual Cycle Sculpt (cycling-weight lifting hybrid) class, but by Wednesday I was struggling to find a YouTube video with a decent weights circuit to kick my butt into gear (I ended up following this one, BTW).  Today is Thursday and I couldn’t find a single half hour in my admittedly not-that-busy day to kick in a little workout.

I didn’t break a sweat.  I didn’t lift a weight.  I barely hit 10,000 steps – half my daily goal.  What’s wrong with me?

The answer, of course, is that there’s nothing wrong with me.  I was completely physically and mentally exhausted after the race and needed a couple good nights’ sleep to even function correctly at work.  My body feels achy and sore from the one-two punch of racing and minor injury, and is begging for rest.  My mom is in town and I have been choosing time with her over time in the gym.  None of these are mind-blowing in validity, but add ’em all up, and you can imagine that my motivation to hit it in the gym is hovering just above zero.

So what to do?

I have been in this exercise game long enough to know that even among the exercise-addicted among us, there are good days and bad.  Good weeks and bad.  In terms of racing seasons, good races and bad.  None of the bad days define us as long as we push through to the good days – and remain confident that they’ll be there if we keep working hard.

I will be back in the saddle tomorrow (literally, as I have to teach Spin!).  I will get back on track.  I have the motivation fire burning inside me – even if it’s in embers so far this week – and I will fan the flame tomorrow.

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