A Change In Perspective

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? 

28 thoughts on “A Change In Perspective

  1. After EVERY workout of mine I feel on top of the world, but I’m ALWAYS really pumped up for back day! 😀

  2. 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?……awesome! ha

    1. Thanks 🙂 The sad part is I actually used to do that

  3. i was just having a similar conversation with my roomie the other day – she doesn’t understand how i can wake up so early to get to the gym, and i told her – it’s my favorite part of the day. especially deadlift day!! : )

    1. Me Too!!! I get so psyched for DL day, and waking up early for a workout makes the rest of my day so much better!

  4. Totally agree. That’s why it’s so hard for me when I’m injured to have to step back from my favorite fitness activity – running. Biking and riding the elliptical just does NOT appeal to me at all. I always look forward to a good run.

    1. I hear ya! When I have to do other things bc of injuries, etc, it’s so frustrating!

  5. Absolutely agree. I LOVE going to Crossfit. I count down the hours sometimes when I am at work to when I can lift next, or push myself hard. I, too, hate running and dread runs, but with lifting – it’s just so empowering, and so good for the soul!

    1. I’m the same way about my lifts… it’s just such a great feeling that i don’t get from other forms of exercise!! Sometimes it’s hard to motivate for an at home workout, because as much as I love my KBs, it’s just not the same!

  6. I have always hated (and I mean hated like wished death upon) cardio. Since I was 19 I have loved (and I mean have babies with love) lifting. I loved the feeling of power. I loved showing off in front of my Dad at the gym, watching him smile as I increased my weight. About 6 months ago I finally decided I was done on the standard gym cardio and am so thankful for this blog to make me feel like I did the right thing. I have a BAD immune system and tend to hurt myself frequently, but otherwise I am at the gym 3-4 days a week since I changed my mindset. By knowing I am going to the gym to do something that makes me feel SO good and powerful, I look forward to it.
    This morning, after a week off because of a bad shoulder (so, my other piece is I love to work arms so if I hurt my arm I tend to not workout which I need to work on) I almost didn’t go. I almost allowed myself to turn off my alarm but then just took a second and thought about how happy I am lifting and got up and had an amazing workout despite the fact that I needed to “baby” my arm.
    Yay for finding my happy place. For my cardio I like to hike with ma’ dog, dance, ski and snowboard….and I love it!

    1. I’m so glad you’ve fallen in love with lifting again! Now let’s work on getting those legs stronger, shall we? 😉

      1. loriannehutchins March 13, 2013 — 7:05 pm

        BAHAH I just saw this. YES! I have some strong legs but serioulsy want to focus even more on them! I am flexing next time I see you. I may rip my pants.

  7. Totally agree with this post. I really enjoyed running and I never complained about having to go for a run. But ever since I’ve been sidelined by my knee problem, I haven’t liked working out as much. In actually started dreading it. I was mostly doing the elliptical for the first 4 months (plus 2-3 days of weights), but I seriously despised it. So then I started doing incline walking and spinning for my cardio, which I like a lot more. I don’t really dread my workouts anymore, but I definitely don’t look forward to them as much as running. Hopefully I’ll be back to it soon though!

    1. Hopefully you’ll be back to running soon, Chels!! In the mean time, I’m glad you’ve at least been able to find things that are more enjoyable than the elliptical… I swear I’ve never heard anyone say “Man, I can’t wait to ride the elliptical for an hour!”

  8. Really enjoyed this entry because truth be told, I hate working out. I hate the smell of the gyms, I hate sweating, feeling exhausted and like I want to die every time I get home. I normally do cardio while watching the TVs and some ab work (just like you described) and it’s total nonsense.
    Maybe you’re right, that you really just need to find a workout/physical hobby that works for you. I originally joined the gym because I love to swim but sadly my gym doesn’t have a lifeguard to monitor the pool to make sure that they aren’t using it as a summer camp. The search is still on I guess!

    1. Hmmm…have you tried any kinds of group classes? or Power Yoga? Or even a dance class or something… There are so many possibilities out there, hopefully you find something that fits you!

  9. Such a good post! I used to work out on all kinds of cardio machines at the gym but it never felt enjoyable – it was indeed only to get rid of the cookie calories I’d consumed before (or would consume later!). Then I started running outside and whoa – a whole new world of awesome! THEN I started doing Crossfit and double whoa! 😀

    1. Thanks!! Isn’t it so amazing when you finally find that thing that makes you go “Woah, I love this!!”

  10. I was going to blog something very similar today after doing tyre flips last night. I spent 15 years trying to make myself like running, I did weights as well (not seriously, body pump kinda thing) and loved them but was just stuck on this mindset that I had to run to be fit and lose weight. Well, and excuse my language, fuck that. I have finally acknowledged what I love doing is lifting weights, what I hate doing is dieting and running. So I have thrown both of those out the window and feel amazing.

    I sincerely believe there is an exercise out there for everyone, it just might take some time to find the one that is for you.

    1. First of all, thanks for the shout out in your blog!! I really appreciate it. It’s funny how many people think that you have to run to stay fit and lose weight. I haven’t run other than weekly stadium sessions in well over a year and I look better than I have in a long time!

  11. I love deadlift day!

    Finding a challenge is the best way to love the gym!

  12. I started working out after injury. Not being inclined to further injure myself I signed up for personal trainer. That is one of the smartest things I have done for myself. I like going to the gym. Reduced pain due to increased strength is motivating. The first time I curled a 50# barbell I was excited. Small potatoes for some people but a huge motivator for me. As to cardio, I dislike the treadmill. Zumba with my trainer is my treat.
    I really like your blog.

    1. Thank you so much Patti!! I’m glad you have been able to find joy and success with weight lifting,it’s such an empowering thing that many women are scared of. And 50# is no small potatoes, progress is progress no matter where you start from!

      1. Thanks, progress is progress. Now I just have to figure out the food intake. Now that I’m trying to build, I am burning through the calories like a freight train.

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