What to do when you don’t want to workout

The road to strength/weight loss/athleticism is often a bumpy one.

Obstacles come and go – most are mental.  The worst things you can do are lose momentum and quit.  This doesn’t mean you need to turn into a gym rat (or whatever rodent you identify with), but it does mean if it’s important to you, find solutions.  As Mark Reifkind put it, “Consistency trumps intensity; all the time.”

The hardest lift is your butt off the couch.  Let’s make it easier…

Motivation Office Space

Inspiration – This one is a double-edged sword as it’s often confused with motivation. Inspiration fuels action that’s in alignment with a strong vision.  Motivation just prods.  In fact, this article shows how motivational Facebook posts can do more harm than good.

The following ideas all serve to reveal your inspiration in some way.  I say reveal because it’s already there.  You just need to recognize and own it.

I could easily motivate you with a bunch of useless quotes and videos, but I won’t.  Rocky training montages are the only exception.

Rocky was a man of inspiration.  All he wanted was a respectable life, not necessarily to be the best fighter.  It just so happened he could take a punch, so that’s what he leveraged.

Adrian: “Why do you wanna fight?” Rocky: “Because I can’t sing or dance.”

The motivation to exercise is everywhere on January 1st.  But the inspiration, the sense of alignment with a strong and healthy life, proves itself over the seasons.  To catch that wave and ride it over good times and bad you gotta…

Ask “Why?” – The answer is not “to get in shape.”  That doesn’t mean anything.  Lowering cholesterol or having a head-turning body is getting closer.  But is it worth scraping frost off the car to make the 6am workout?  Is it even worth investing 3 hours of your precious time per week?  If so, there had better be a good reason.  The good news is that you only have to justify it to yourself.

Ask “Why Not?” – Write down the things that are keeping you from starting.  You might be surprised at how short and weak the list is.  Once the obstacles are named, you can be proactive in getting over them.  Most people tell me they just lack the motivation.  To which I go back to point #1. Forget motivation, get inspired.

Learn something – Learning is good for the brain.  Learning something that requires more than sitting at a desk is good for the brain and body.

Gymnastics, kettlebells, swimming, powerlifting, martial arts, and even running all demand mindful technique practice.  Nobody is trying to be a machine circuit champion, so don’t train like it.  Break out of the box and get good at a skill while getting a great workout.

Get a plan – The plan should “keep the goal the goal” as Dan John would say.  In other words, keeping your actions in alignment with whatever it is you really want.  There are thousands of options, but the best workout program is the one you’ll stick to – even if you have to write it out yourself.

Ditch your plan – So let’s say it’s 6 months down the road and you’re no closer to where you want to be.  One of two things has happened – the plan sucks or you didn’t stick to it.  Usually, it’s the latter. Either way, something has to change.  All too often, guys stick to mass-building workouts when they claim to want fat loss, or vice versa.  A less than stellar program done to a T will yield better results than the best one done half assed.

Don’t lose sight of the fact that exercise is meant to add to the quality and quantity of your years.  If it becomes a source of undue stress, you’re doing it wrong.