If you get down on yourself when you don’t feel like working out, take heart. All trainers know this, and exercise science confirms that deep down, we are all inherently lazy.
You’re not the only one who feels the overwhelming urge to hit snooze instead of strapping on your sneakers. Fit people feel lazy, too. The difference is, they’ve accumulated more days where they’ve found the leverage to unstick themselves from the couch. You can get there, too, but you have to change the way you’re thinking.
No more shame
First of all, you’ve got to stop shaming yourself. You are not a monster for not always wanting to exercise. In spite of all the amazing benefits of working out, our bodies and brains have evolved to take every chance that we get to rest. This served well for our ancestors, who did a lot more wrestling with sabre-tooth tigers than we do today. Even the non-hunters and warriors had a much more vigorous life than we do, walking miles every day to forage for food and shelter.
Ancient humans needed to conserve energy whenever possible, but in modern life, the pendulum has swung and now we get more rest than we need. Unfortunately, our survival instincts haven’t figured that out, so we have to consciously fight against our programming to always try and conserve our power.
Concentrate on the payoff
In order to get in shape, we have to challenge and stress the body. But naturally, our bodies want to be comfortable and lazy. The days that you win this battle will be when you’re able to focus on the payoff that will come when you get moving. You already know that in the long run, staying fit will help you have more energy, better sleep, less pain, and more ease and overall, a better quality of life.
But how do we get moving if those benefits don’t feel motivating in the moment? The best case is to find something you can enjoy so that you get immediate rewards for your smart decision to work out. Here are some examples that can make a powerful pry bar in your moments of meh:
- Fun: Some call it torture, but others genuinely enjoy the feeling of working their body hard. If this is you, picture how good it’s going to feel when the burn sets in and your sweat starts to drip.
- Socializing: Do you have someone waiting for you at spin class, a buddy who’ll listen to you rant while you burn up the trails, or a team who needs you to help them destroy their rivals? If not, see if you can set something up. It isn’t easy during the pandemic, but even the anticipation of a great chat while you walk the neighborhood can be enough to drip a few drops of dopamine that will make you feel motivated to get out the door.
- Competition: Speaking of those rivals, if you get charged up from yelling, “In your face!”, see if you can harness that. A lot of gyms and online programs run friendly competitions, and you can use an app like Strava or My Fitness Pal to arrange some energizing stakes with friends near or far.
- Physique: We’ve been taught that caring too much about our looks is superficial, but the truth is, our physical tastes and love for our body can be a surprisingly strong motivator. If thinking about how hot your butt is going to look makes it easier to keep up your strength routine, then go for it.
Make it easy
When you find something you love, it’s easier to implement it in your everyday life. Some people are motivated by a runners high, and others love playing tennis. Here in San Francisco there are incredible opportunities to go biking, hiking or to hang out on the water sailing or kite surfing. And no matter where you are, there are people around you loving their gym, spin class or martial arts studio. Whatever it is, as long as it gets you moving, it’s perfect.
And if your motivation is to build strong legs, toned arms, or a six-pack so be it. Why shouldn’t you dream about how great you will look in a bikini on your next summer vacation (once that pandemic is over and it is safe to do so)? Don’t let anyone sour that for you, and please don’t cut down anyone else for being motivated by sculpting their body. We all know how hard it can be to get motivated at all, and when we remember that, we can celebrate our victories and be genuinely happy for one another.
Lifting is all that
My clients and I, we lift weights. We love it because resistance training gives you all the benefits – more energy, better sleep, better sex, and a great physique… plus it’s fun, lets us socialize, and can even bring opportunities for competition. Also, lifting makes our other hobbies more fulfilling. Whatever recreational activity you want to improve, lifting can help by building your strength, stability, and stamina. The women I work with fall in love with lifting weights, and it’s easy to see why when you realize it can provide almost every reward associated with working out.
So, if you’re struggling to get moving, don’t beat yourself up. Work with your motivation instead. Maybe you haven’t found the right thing yet. Or maybe you shut down your own natural inspiration because you thought that working out for looks was not allowed or that lifting weights is not for women. Let me tell you, that’s bollocks. You do you. Whatever gets you motivated to get your beautiful butt moving is right. Now, get out there and find it.