Saturday, May 12, 2012


Motivation is a funny thing.  It can come and go in the blink of an eye, seemingly controlled by a greater force, operating under rules we will never understand.

Some people are motivated by health... by feeling good, sleeping well, having low blood pressure, and small waistlines.  Others are motivated by bad behavior... guilt over one too many margaritas or chips loaded with guacamole.  All of a sudden your favorite pants feel a little more snug than you'd like and the treadmill starts to look less like a prehistoric torture device and more like a means to an end.

Sometimes sticking to a routine builds motivation.  We get up at 5:30 a.m. every morning (OK, you get
up, there is noway I could ever do that) to head to the gym and after a while you get used to it and it's not that big a deal anymore.  You do it because you always do it, but then you go on vacation for a week and all of a sudden getting up at 5:30 a.m. seems totally crazy and masochistic and harder than magically growing another head.

Or maybe you don't go on vacation, but after months of 5:30 a.m. trips to the gym listening to the same muscle men grunt as they do their 15th set of bicep curls you start getting burnt out.  You feel like if you have to spend one more minute staring at the little green bars on the elliptical machine you might run out of the gym screaming, hop in your car, and drive straight to Canada.

I have been feeling a little burnt out lately, and after a long day of work watching reruns of How I Met Your Mother in bed has felt a lot more appealing than changing my clothes and going for a run.  My usual lunchtime workouts have seemed like a huge pain... changing, showering, changing again... and Barre class has felt like a cruel reason to put on yoga pants.

Considering what worked for me clearly isn't working anymore, I figure I have two options. #1 Give up, give in, and spend my new found free time molding the perfect impression of my butt in the couch, or #2, find something new to get me going.

Here are my ideas to motivate the unmotivateable:

1) Recruit a friend.  Exercising with a buddy is way more fun and you can't back out without letting them down.
2) Enroll in a class--particularly one that you have to pay for.  If you don't show up  you pay for it anyway and have double the guilt for wasting your money!
3) Sign up for a walk, run, ride, or race.  You have a built in deadline and it's easy to find a training plan for just about any distance or challenge online.
4) Go On Demand.  There are a million different options, lengths, and intensity levels so you're bound to find something that won't make you cringe.
5) Try the 10 minute rule.  Workout for 10 minutes and if you still want to stop, then you can stop.
6) Bribe yourself.  Pick a number of workouts until you've earned a pedicure, a new shirt, or a long nap.
7) Watch TV.  Wait until your favorite show comes on, then find a great workout online that you can do in your living room, or head to a gym where you can watch TV on your treadmill.
8)  Think ahead.  Focus on how great you will feel when you are done.
9) Update your music.  Create a new playlist for your workout with songs guaranteed to get you going.
10) Keep track.  Write your workouts down on your calendar.  Sometimes the reward of being able to jot down your success is enough to get you going.
11) Get competitive.  Challenge a friend to see who can do more push ups, join a sports team, take Cross Fit classes, copy the workouts of your favorite blogger and see if you can do them faster or with more weights.
12) Invest in some new gear.  Trying out a new pair of sneakers, workout outfit, gadget, or app can be enough to get you out on a day when you'd rather stay in.
If all else fails, take a day off.  Enjoy it.  Sometimes you really do need a break.  (Just remember, tomorrow you have one less excuse to use.)

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