I’ve noticed something lately.
I see so many people on Facebook complaining about having to drag themselves to the gym, having tricks to force themselves to “just make it there”, and commenting on how little motivation they have to get up and do anything. It seems strange to me, because I truly, honestly look forward to my gym time.
I’m not pretending that I’ve never lost motivation, or that I’ve never complained about going to work out, because I have. But not for a long, long time.
Not since I started working out in a way that I really love.
Back in the day, when I used to go to the gym, hop on the treadmill and run 3 miles, and then maybe go do some sort of nonsensical “ab routine”, I hated it. I would complain all the time. The treadmill? Absolute torture. And then I started running outside, and guess what? I kept on complaining. I hated every second of it.
Once I started lifting though, everything changed. And then a few years ago, when I started lifting heavy things, everything changed all over again. I was no longer going to the gym to drone on the elliptical or stare at a TV screen while pounding the belt on the treadmill. I was going to the gym with a purpose, with goals, with a routine that was making me happy and giving me results.
And I’m not saying that heavy lifting is the answer for all of those people out there who have little motivation to work out (although I wish that were the case). I’m just saying that at some point I had a shift in perspective, and started treating my workouts as stepping stones to bigger goals, instead of just ways to burn off that bread bowl from the day before. And maybe that is the answer.
When I used to ride along on the elliptical or treadmill, there were no real goals and there was never really a sense of accomplishment, besides the one (yes, one) time I ran 7 miles. The most exciting thing for me would be watching the number on the calorie tracker go up as I went along. Never mind that those calorie trackers on the machines are far from accurate anyway. If your biggest concern while working out is how many calories you’ve burned while watching The View, what are the chances you’re actually making any progress?
So back to this change in perspective. When I first started lifting, I finally realized that there was a form of working out that I enjoyed and that could make me feel good. Running felt like torture. Lifting, although difficult, felt amazing. And by amazing, I mean equal parts challenging and agonizing — but in a way that feels like I’m accomplshing something great. While I realize, unfortunately, that lifting does not feel so amazing to everyone, doing something to get that feeling is what it’s all about, No?
And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that most people that share those types of complaints are those who are spending countless hours on cardio machines. Maybe it’s unrelated, but of all of the lifters I know, they’re generally NOT complaining about having to work out.
It’s usually more of an “F Yeah! It’s Deadlift Day!” type of mentality.
Maybe everyone doesn’t need to dive head first into the weight room and set up camp in a squat rack, but there is something to be said about finding something that gives you that “F YEAH!!” feeling.
If you’ve been parking your ass on an elliptical for the past 2 years, have seen little progress, and have hated every second of it, what makes you think your perspective is going to change and that you’re all of a sudden going to love it? (Or that you’ll magically start to make any progress, but that’s a different story).
Of course you don’t have to change what you’re doing in the gym, but if your first thought of every day is something along the lines of “Ugh, I Have to go to the gym today. Gloomy mopey mopey dread“, than it seems silly not to. I swear there’s a saying about that sort of thing…
Find something that you love. Something that makes you feel empowered, strong, capable, and purposeful. Find something that you can put your heart into, strive for goals, and be proud of your progress. It doesn’t have to be heavy lifting of course, although if improving your strength and physique are among your goals, that seems like kind of a no brainer to me. It could be yoga, it could be training for a half (or full) marathon, it could be martial arts, or something else entirely. I guess my (rather long winded) point is this:
Stop complaining. If you hate working out, you’re not doing it right. Find something that makes your life better, through both happiness and health. Find something that can help you shift your perspective from “Ugh, I have to go do this today” to “I can’t wait to see what kind of progress I can make today!”
Is there a type of workout that makes you feel amazing? Do you usually complain about working out or do you look forward to it?