How to Stay Motivated when Working Out?
There is No Secret Formula. But Remember, You’re Not Alone
Hey, we get it! Some days it is tough to drag yourself to the gym. Maybe it was a particularly grueling day at work. Maybe you’re preoccupied with family issues. Maybe you’re just not up to it. Staying motivated is undoubtedly the biggest obstacle for maintaining a commitment to working out.
Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet. There is no secret mantra you can chant to yourself each day to get you fired up to come in and push your body to its limits. Sure, we all feel that euphoric rush of endorphins right after a good workout that makes us feel great about what we just accomplished. But the memory of that euphoria quickly fades when competing against the travails of our day that want to make us curl up on the couch; not do curls with a 20-pound kettlebell.
The motivation has to come from within. You have to always remember why you made the commitment to work out. But it’s also important to remember that while you alone have to find the motivation, you don’t have to go it alone. In other words, being part of a community can be part of the motivation.
A lot of our members come to the same classes on the same nights, week after week. They have formed a bond with us and their fellow classmates. When someone is not there when expected, he or she is missed and people go out of their way to check on the person in the next class. Part of it is accountability, but mostly it is concern for the classmates that we have come to know, and trust, and admire.
Even if you don’t belong to a club that has regular classes, you might find the same level of accountability, community, and motivation by working out with a friend.
Scottish researchers conducted a study back in 2016 that examined the benefits of exercising with a companion. They split a group in two, with half exercising alone and the other half working out with a “gym buddy.” Not surprisingly, the group that worked out with someone exercised more than those who went solo.
Understanding the power of having a gym buddy, our gym provides each new member with a mentor; not a personal trainer, but another member who’s been with the gym for a while and knows the routines and the exercises. More importantly, the mentor knows and understands the challenges of making this commitment. He or she knows how tough it is to get up at 5:30 a.m. to get in a workout before heading to the office. He or she knows how easy it is to skip a workout after a rough day on the job. That common experience and understanding helps the mentor and the mentee form that bond and sense of camaraderie that can drive motivation.
Whether you belong to our gym or not, you can still achieve this sense of community. Even if you belong to one of these giant mega-gyms, with an overwhelming sea of equipment and people to navigate, there are opportunities to form friendships with fellow members. Many of these gyms offer smaller classes, which are included in your membership fee. Others might do guided group workout sessions. If you are uncomfortable initiating conversations with strangers at the gym, ask your spouse, partner, or a friend to join you in your commitment to work out.
Whether it’s a community of two or a community of many, having that shared experience will be so helpful in providing the motivation you will need to get to the gym on a regular basis. Maintaining the commitment becomes less about not letting yourself down, and more about not letting down your partner or classmates. You are accountable to others, not just yourself. And, for many, that motivation is hard to resist.
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