Motivation to exercise is a topic interests me a great deal because I am not the most motivated person in the world when it comes to fitness. When I was younger I liked playing sports, I liked playing outside and riding my bike, and I would occasionally go on a several week exercise binge when I realized that my metabolism was not keeping up with me. However, for the most part, I didn't really enjoy exercising or dieting. When my babies were small, I went to the gym because it was the YMCA and they have childcare. That means my kids were watched by responsible adults (that were not me) for two hours while I got some exercise, and more importantly, a shower. If you have three kids under the age of four, a shower by yourself is probably the only thing you deeply care about other than sleep.
But, I digress. As I got older, I realized that I needed to exercise. All the time. And for the rest of my life. Because when you don't have or maintain that base of fitness, things start to fall apart rather rapidly. When done correctly, well planned exercise is what keeps you feeling good and keeps the pain at bay. (You young folks won't understand this until your mid-thirties.)
I do like to learn and so I found that one of my prime motivators to keep going to the gym was to learn new things, new exercise routines, new training methods, new equipment, etc. I did all the gym classes, I did CrossFit, I did powerlifting, weightlifting, all that stuff and when I finally had enough equipment to quit my gym membership and work out at home, I was so very excited.
And then I stopped working out.
But then I read about this crazy race called the Warrior Dash. It seemed kind of impossible to me at the time since it requires that one not only run three miles, but climb over and crawl through a whole bunch of obstacles including mud and fire. I wasn't running at all at that time, but I got excited about coming up with a plan to rebuild that running base as well as the other demands of the race.
|Also, you get a furry viking helmet for signing up for the Warrior Dash.|
- Set a goal
- Determine the necessary qualities
- Assess the individual
- Design a plan that develops those qualities as efficiently as possible in the time given in a sequential manner.
(This last part is the most difficult part and does require some experience and insight, but overall, it is a simple process.)
So, to make a long story short, I have found my motivation to work out by competing. After I completed my first Warrior Dash with a group of friends, I branched out with a number of long term goals; some with friends, some with my kids, and some just by myself. I've trained for obstacle course races, powerlifting competitions, highland games, a highlander (strongman/highland games hybrid), and now I'm going to be training for a half marathon. For some of these events, my only goal was to complete it and not hurt myself, however, after you get one or two under your belt, in order to keep improving, you really need to raise the bar. In that respect, I competed in the Masters World Scottish Games last Fall and I trained for nine months to put in one of the best performances in my life. I didn't win (placing second didn't suck), but it was, by far, the most successful competition I've ever had in terms of my own numbers.
|Getting strong enough to pick up and throw this thing is good motivation for me.|
So, in conclusion, reasonable goals + time + good planning = a lifetime of enjoyable fitness. Maybe you love your gym family, maybe you're on a recreational sports league, maybe you just like walking in the woods. Whatever motivates you, keep at it, but if you're having a hard time finding your motivation, give competition a try. Even if you're only competing with yourself.
My ultimate goal is to be one of those badass old ladies who is still competing in her eighties at one thing or another. Maybe I'll pull a world record deadlift the same year I complete some ultra distance trail run, And if anyone asks me how on earth I ever managed such a feat, I'll nonchalantly say, "Well son, I've been working on this for over fifty years."
|I want to be like them.|