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Thread: How do stay motivated for keeping fit?

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    Super Moderator DocDave's Avatar
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    How do stay motivated for keeping fit?

    So after diligently going to the gym since November, I am having motivational issues now that summer is here. I am still keeping fit - I'm riding my bike as often as my local weather will allow.

    But getting up early and getting in to the gym is starting to be a challenge. Same goes for getting up and swimming in the morning. Normally I'm good at getting up five days a week prior to work, but now - meh. I'm finding it difficult.

    How do you guys stay motivated?

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    Varsity Member mebejoseph's Avatar
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    How do you stay motivated to brush your teeth? How about showering, trimming your nails, putting on clothing, sleeping, and going to work?

    Ever since I was in my 30's, I've just looked at exercising like those things--they aren't optional. Saved my life too. And lately, working with a personal trainer who has helped me identify some specific muscle imbalances and weakness that I've been ignoring for years, it's increased my day to day quality of life.

    Is that motivation? I don't know. But that's how I make sure I get it done--it's not optional, not anymore than brushing my teeth is optional.
    WHY ARE THE GUYS IN SUITS HERE? HAS SOMETHING GONE WRONG?

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    Super Moderator LesserBlackDog's Avatar
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    Everyone has their own strategy, but for me the best way to keep motivated to exercise is to make sure I'm doing stuff at the gym that I actually enjoy doing. For me that's been following a Wendler 5/3/1 powerlifting program. It's simultaneously structured and flexible enough that I know I've got to get the work done during the week to continue making progress, but when I do the work during the week is up to me. And I enjoy being able to track and see my results over time. Plus to me, doing short sets of intense work + focus, with measured rest in between, is a lot more physically and mentally tolerable than most forms of steady state cardio where I get easily bored and readily look for excuses to give up and end the discomfort.

    I know people who are really seasonal about their fitness, including one coworker who, aside from yoga, almost exclusively skis during the winter and almost exclusively trail runs during the summer. So if biking and other outdoor activities become your primary form of exercise during summer, I don't think that's a bad thing, as long as you're maintaining some form of activity.

    However, just biking or other outdoor activities may not help you reach your goals if those goals are specific to building strength or increasing lean mass. In that case, I will sound like a broken record and again recommend Wendler 5/3/1, not only because it is a great program but also because you can get the work done in a short period of time. If you do the full program with all four lifts (squat, bench, deadlift, strict press), you can get that done in as little as two workouts per week, especially if you skip the accessory work. I do just three lifts (squat, bench, deadlift) and when I'm feeling busy I usually just do it over the weekend, squat + bench on Saturday and deadlift on Sunday. Doing two heavy barbell workouts a week, one squat/bench and one deadlift/press, will at least help you maintain your current level of strength without needing to spend hours and hours at the gym.
    Ben

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    I've been running consistently since 2011 and before that on and off. Honestly I just love to run but will say that if I had to wake up early to do it, other than for a random race or to meet a group, I would not stay motivated. I have prioritized sleep first and I get my workout in the evening. My wife can't stand me when I don't get runs in because she says I don't know what to do with myself. I get home from work between 6-7p then adjust my run accordingly to be finished by 8p. Any activity after 8p affects my sleep.

    I would suggest trying to find a group or something to workout with and stay motivated if you don't have the internal drive.

    Working out isn't easy and not always fun but I focus on the long-term. I've been to too many doctors where half the people in the waiting room look near death and may only be in their 60s. Their enjoyment out of life is arguably limited because their body is failing them. They cannot move themselves and rely on others. That is not what I would call a life worth living.

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    Varsity Member APinNC's Avatar
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    Stand very still after a shower, in all your glory, right in front of the mirror. Do some light hops. If it jiggles, it is fat. Keep pushing forward towards the goal.

    Sometimes I take the lifting down a notch, do the big lifts, and then do more outside stuff: Bench and Squat, then some tire drags outside. Press and deadlift, the some hill sprints outside. Getting out of the gym or garage and soaking in some Vitamin D can really have a nice effect on staying in the groove.

    Good luck!
    We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.” ― Charles Bukowski

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    Well, for starters, if I let myself go, my suits and sportcoats, the most expensive part of my wardrobe, will no longer fit properly, and that alone is enough to keep me going. Because vanity.... Also, like others have said, exercise is like brushing your teeth or bathing: if you don't do it, your body will wither and die, so you don't have a choice in the matter.

    Joke aside, I don't know much about running/swimming but I do compete in weightlifting and have some idea of how to train with a barbell. What are you doing in the gym? If you're just dragging yourself there with no real program and are just sort of jerking about with the same weights for 3x10 every single day, it turns into a miserable grind, not to mention a waste of time. If you do have a program though then you can just go through the motions and reap the rewards. Strength training is very much a low-effort, high-reward activity. Well, at the beginning anyway. 5/3/1 is good but progress can be slow, as Wendler invented for himself when he was already benching in the 400s and squatting in the 500s and getting some serious diminishing returns from his work, and I suspect from your previous posts that you are still in a stage where you can pick up noob gainzzz at a more rapid rate, which in itself is quite motivating. What are your current #s for squat/front squat/bench/press/DL (and snatch/CJ if applicable)? Height, weight, age, known complications such as chronic illnesses or old injuries? From these parameters it's probably straightforward enough to put together a 12+ week program that you'll want to stick to.

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    The key is to figure out why for the lapse? Someone else’s motivation may not motivate you. Are you not seeing the initial progress that made you excited? How do you shift your goals then. Are you someone that likes routine or needs a break? Aka try a different workout as mentioned above or change your variety.

    Maybe even changing the time you go to the gym?

    One thing that excites me in going back to the gym almost every day is either trying something new or setting interim goals. I log all my workouts so I can see where I’m making progress and maybe where I’m not. Also following some fitness people on IG helps bring up some interesting workouts you may want to try.

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    Super Moderator LesserBlackDog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hockeysc23 View Post
    Also following some fitness people on IG helps bring up some interesting workouts you may want to try.
    Instagram is a mixed bag but if you find the right people/pages to follow, it can be useful and motivating. I follow a couple Oly lifters (@gsincraian and @gurphling) and Squat University (@squat_university) and I find it useful to A.) see really good lifters in action, and B.) see new tips on improving technique. Seeing great lifters motivates me to keep improving, and the Squat U stuff gives me lots of exercises and cues to work on to improve my technique and keep lifting in a safe and healthy way.
    Ben

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    Quote Originally Posted by mebejoseph View Post
    ...it's not optional, not anymore than brushing my teeth is optional.
    This.

    In David Goggins' book Can't Hurt Me he writes, "Motivation is crap. Because just as easily as you can get it, you can lose it." This hit home with me and I've never looked back, it isn't optional.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LesserBlackDog View Post
    Instagram is a mixed bag but if you find the right people/pages to follow, it can be useful and motivating. I follow a couple Oly lifters (@gsincraian and @gurphling) and Squat University (@squat_university) and I find it useful to A.) see really good lifters in action, and B.) see new tips on improving technique. Seeing great lifters motivates me to keep improving, and the Squat U stuff gives me lots of exercises and cues to work on to improve my technique and keep lifting in a safe and healthy way.
    To me what you're talking about is continuous improvement and learning, and I couldn't agree more. One of the best things I ever did was leave Gold's gym where everyone works out with their headphones in and ignores each other and instead join a warehouse style gym. At this new gym, everyone talks to everyone and that gives you an opportunity to learn. When I joined the new gym, everyone was stronger than me, and while that was a little intimidating at first, it's helped (read motivated) me in so many ways. You can learn so much from people who are better/stronger than you. And more often then not, they want to share their knowledge with you if you're humble enough to listen.

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