Motivation Maintenance

Today is the start of spring, and though the weather may not show it, surely the gyms are starting to. At my gym, it seems like it’s taking a little longer than most years for the “resolutioners” to give up on the health and fitness journeys they embarked on just a mere 12 weeks ago (which many regulars may argue is good for those who have truly embraced their resolutions as a lifestyle change, but bad for those in the gym 12 months a year, still fighting for weights and treadmills). What ultimately has happened by now? People have decided if they are really committed and have the motivation, or not.

Motivation has never been a problem for me as far as fitness is concerned. Most days, the knowledge that my workout is waiting for me after my workday is what keeps me going, even – perhaps especially – on the tough ones (example: I had a particularly miserable day on Monday. After work, I had an amazing run. We’re talking a solid seven miles of feeling unstoppable … until I finally did stop, realized maybe I pushed a tad too hard, and was now kinda nauseous). What keeps me going? Knowing how much it sucks to start over. Knowing how much I HATED working out in the beginning (true story). Knowing that I’ve come way, WAY too far in my fitness journey to just throw in the towel.

But that’s not to say that I don’t go through my ups and downs – I’m not superhuman. In fact, far from it. Admittedly, I’ve been struggling with my own motivation issues lately. Not in getting to the gym, or working out, or teaching my classes – just feeling, as a certain someone I’ve mentioned from time to time suggested – that I’m in a rut. Truer words could not describe it.

So, for those of you who may need to dust off the gym swipe-card after a week or two, or those of you, like myself, who are just feeling like they’re not getting anywhere, there is a solution. Depending on what the issue is, there are a couple of approaches you can take:

  • Try something new. A new routine or activity can really throw your body off – and confusing your muscles is a great way to start making gains again (see: the barre class I took a few weeks ago. Kicked. My. Butt.) Shake things up. You never know what you might end up falling in love with.
  • Ask for help. Seek out a fitness buddy or personal trainer for fitness motivation. Talking it out can make a big difference, too – don’t be afraid to talk it out with a friend, family member, or even a therapist. Much like you only get out what you put in, if you keep everything in, you’ll just end up exploding at some point.
  • Remember what you like about exercise. Was it the way you felt afterward, how well you slept, the friends you made or just the feeling of a little extra room in your pants? That feeling doesn’t go away after January. Rediscover it.
  • And, finally, don’t be afraid to take a break! Sometimes, our body needs a rest – physical and mental – to help us get stronger in body and will. Though it’s a fact I have a hard time remembering sometimes, rest is where the real gains happen. Maybe a little time away will make you remember why you just can’t stay away.

As for me? Well, I’m heading to Florida for some time with the extended family in two weeks, and being the summer girl that I am, being outside in the warm weather should be good for my mood.  Let’s hope the spring weather gets here soon, because there is nothing more motivating than the knowledge that bathing suits are just around the corner!