For some people, the entire reason they start working out is because of some big motivator hanging over them – their wedding, a reunion, a birthday party, or maybe even just Memorial Day/the start of summer. And all that is awesome. I commend anyone using any reason to get in better shape.
The problem though is once that motivator passes –say the event – it’s hard to find the “umph” to keep pushing yourself. For weeks or months that person has held the reason in their minds – the way they want to look on the big day, and now that it’s over, why continue to work so hard? For what?
I know I preach about the “lifestyle” and not just working out for this purpose, but this has definitely happened to me. Sure, I go to the gym each week pretty much no matter what, but often I’ll find myself not pushing myself like I would if I had a “reason” or a “goal” outside of just maintenance. Yeah, I always want to be a little stronger and a little leaner, and my butt could always stand to get a little bigger, but these aren’t reasons to force out that last rep, struggle to do that final pullup or sprint my hardest during my cardio finisher.
Some of my best workouts have been the result of a “reason.” My 30th birthday recently passed, and for a few weeks leading up to it, I’d picture how I wanted to look – that I wanted to be able to look back on pictures and be proud of how I looked at 30 years old. And now that it’s over I’m back in the sort of “meh” zone.
Everyone who wants to get fitter can benefit from finding their “reason.” Even if it’s just for that one workout, finding motivation to get the absolute best workout in makes all the difference. I have used so many different “reasons” for getting in a crazy good workout.
I know that a lot of fitness folks on social media will say it should be “you vs. you” in the gym, meaning that you shouldn’t be competing with anyone but yourself. They say you should only aim to beat your last cardio time, last squat amount, last number of crunches, etc. And yes, I totally agree with that idea. One of the best things about the gym is that it’s the only place where you can’t fake things, and if you’re only competing with your own ability, then you can only improve. However…
I think any reason to push yourself is a good one. Any reason to go harder, lift heavier, go longer or stretch your limits is worth having. Want a butt like the one on the girl you follow on Instagram? Picture it next time you’re squatting. In a fight with your significant other? Think about how mad you are the next time you’re on the bike and sprint your butt off. Have a neighbor who looks better than you in a bikini at the pool? Keep that in your mind’s eye next time you’re tempted to eat all the donuts in the break room. Saw pictures of your ex’s new gf/bf online and they’re fitter than you? Use the sh*t out of that the next time you’re in the gym and do an extra five minutes on the rowing machine. There is no such thing as too petty when it’s the fuel getting you to a better workout.
There are an unlimited number of “reasons” you can find for pushing yourself harder and longer or lifting heavier. Whether they’re long term or just for that day, they’ll help you get more out of your workout. I won’t lie – sure, I’ve used trips/weddings/occasions/Memorial Day as motivation for the long term, but I’ve also used petty arguments with my boyfriend, body envy from Instagram, seeing friends who look fitter than I do online and so many more reasons as fuel for better workouts.
The gym is also great therapy, I will say. It’s a literal and figurative punching bag for life’s problems/annoyances. So, next time you’re “blah” about hitting the gym – try to find your “why.” Or get mad. About anything! And then use the heck out of it.