How do you keep motivated?

Yeah, I know — not the kind of thing I usually write about, right?

The psychological elements of exercising and dieting are important, key even. I find that it’s fairly easy for me to get into a routine and stick with a plan, which is probably an artifact of experience. But from time to time, I notice I go through spells of, for lack of better phrasing, not giving a damn.

This seems to happen to me about once a year, so I’m used to it by now, and don’t mistake what I’m saying — this doesn’t bother me. I think it’s just part of the process.

It does have me thinking though — how do you react when you hit spells of not giving a damn? Do you let it pass? Try to find motivation from elsewhere? Or do you just not sweat it and let things go as they fall?

In the past, in my more “hardcore” lifting days (if I ever had any), I’d consider it a problem and something to work myself out of, whatever it took. Now I find that I’m leaning towards looking at it as a seasonal lull, time to focus on other things and not worry so much about lifting. This is a growing trend with me now, since I’ve pretty much made an official end to any competitive aspirations and any real strength goals.

I still want to keep lifting; I couldn’t imagine quitting after being at it so long. It’s as much a part of my life as eating. But the focus is starting to shift away from the biggest number I can put up for one rep. It’s too much toll on my body (just in the last year I’ve racked up a couple of injuries ranging from pretty bad to worrisome and liable to get worse), and honestly it just doesn’t lure me in the way it did 4-5 years ago.

So what are your strategies for staying on point, and coping with those times when you may not be so fired up to train?

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3 thoughts on “How do you keep motivated?”

  1. Get back into some sort of sport, so you're not just lifting to lift.

    Do something more skill related or strength endurance related (kettlebell sport or Olympic lifting). You (one) may never be a champion at it, but getting noticeably better at something like this is motivating. If you're injured, the Oly might be bad, but the KS sport might actually help over time.

    Become a training partner for someone who has potential but could never afford the training. Train with him or her, which forces you to back down to the basics.

  2. People make the biggest difference. If I am learning something from them or helping them with something, that always seems to get me up and moving, even if I am otherwise inclined. Sometimes, just having a friend call me out will do it. Other times, I have to really think about heeding my instinct, taking a break may be the right choice…this is often the hardest thing for me to consider (I have wondered whether part of what makes periodization work is that it makes taking a break psychologically easier).

  3. I think the best way to find motivation to go to the gym is finding a partner. In my case I have my cousin. Sometimes I just don't feel like lifting weights and he insist in a way I cannot deny. Sometimes it's the contrary. That way we "cover" each other. We have the same build so we use the same weights, making the session faster/easier.

    Like Roland (above) said, choosing a sport would be a good idea. Problem is I could never find one that can lead me to a physique similar to lifting heavy weights.

    There is an interest article (can't look for the source right now) about performance change around opposite sex. There was men doing a test in the treadmill using all the paraphernalia to check hearth, lungs, etc. When the test was performed by a female physician, the performance increased by a considerable amount (can't remember the exact number).

    Even if you're happy-married, go to a gym full of chicks to get you motivated, train with a partner and choose a nice aerobic sport to fill a gap in your training. I go to the gym (weight lifting) 4 days/week. 2 days/week I do MMA. I train with different people all the time so It's not boring like swimming back and forth in a pool.

    Oh, and being short (5'7) you never know when you need to get "ignorant"! You get more confident and it's less likely you get involved in a fight. Seems like people can notice your confidence and know they're going to get hurt (too) in case they mess with you. BTW I'm not a Pit-boy, I'm always smiling! :D

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