Sometimes Working Out Sucks
I know, I know, I'm a Personal Trainer. I'm supposed to be the fitness champion, the one with an iron will who never misses a workout, the one who sleeps in Nikes and yoga pants and can't wait to wake up and crush weights... Well, sorry to disappoint, but that is not ALWAYS me. To be clear, I'm definitely all about that fitness life, so much so that I've made it my career, but real talk for a second, sometimes I have to drag myself to the gym.
There are some workouts where I look at the clock every 5 minutes begging it to go faster. On the flip side, there are also workouts where I feel like I could move all the weights or take on any challenge... fitness is fickle like that. Over the years of workout ups and downs, I've discovered a really important mindset shift when it comes to the way you think about working out. It's vital to the longevity of your fitness, especially during particularly busy periods of life.
...SOMETIMES WORKING OUT SUCKS.
I've gone through many "fitness" phases through-out life. It was easy as a kid, it was part of playtime. And even through High School, soccer practice was fun, I got to hang out with friends and avoid doing homework for the afternoon. It wasn't until I started my first real job out of college in finance that the "fitness struggle" began for me. For the first time in my life, I didn't want to work out. I was too tired from work, and after a 10-12 hour day, I didn't really have time either. It started to feel like another job, so I thought the problem was that I wasn't motivated enough. I mean, fitness is supposed to be fun and inspiring, so surely it was a ME issue right?
Work was work, it was my job and I fully understood that "work" was sometimes synonymous with days that sucked, or tasks that I would be asked to complete that were awful in the moment, but necessary in order to complete a larger project (have you ever had to review 25 pages of legal docs for a new foreign exchange derivative product, that you then had to cross reference with current regulatory laws to ensure compliance?? Trust me, I feel ya on the sometimes awful part). But it was my career and I accepted that if I wanted my paycheck or the next promotion, this 25 page doc needed to get reviewed, so I better quit my whining (or at least save it for drinks after work), grab another cup of coffee, and get reading!
It wasn't until I became a Personal Trainer that I realized achieving fitness goals is actually exactly the same as achieving career goals. There are some days you love it, and some days you don't. There are obstacles to over-come, and victories to celebrate. So if the process or steps to promotion or progress are the same in the fitness arena as they are in the business world, it stands to reason that the emotions that come with it will also be the same. So all of those days where I didn't feel like working out, it wasn't necessarily because there was something wrong with my motivation, it was simply that my workout that day (for any number of reasons) was like a 25 page legal doc. And to get through it, I just need to grab a cup of coffee (or pre-workout) and get after it and finish.
Said another way...
If you accept that fitness will sometimes feel like work, you will stop struggling with motivation.
Are you sure? You might ask. Yes, I'm sure. But when I say accept it, ACCEPT IT, own it the same way you would an annoying assignment from a boss. Sometimes it's a means to an end, something you just need to check it off for the day and then move on. THAT'S OK. The good news though? It's not always a struggle. Sometimes it's a lifesaver, a much needed stress release, or a healthier way to take out aggression (it's a thing, let it out). Some days, by the time you finish, you've already forgotten that you didn't want to go in the first place.
It seems incredibly basic and maybe you already figured this out, in which case kudos to you, but simply shifting my mindset about how I am supposed to feel about fitness (and healthy living in general for that matter), has been a complete game-changer in my ability to stick to a routine week after week. I no longer get frustrated or annoyed at myself when I don't "feel" like working out. I simply accept whatever emotion I'm feeling that day as OK or par for the course.
The important part is understanding what you need to do to get your fitness "paycheck" if you will. What are the things that will pay dividends later (on a roll with the finance references). Be grateful for the good days, the motivated days, and when you get 'em, TAKE ADVANTAGE. Do that harder workout you've been eyeing. And when you get a not-so-motivated day, do what you feel you can and move on. The great thing about emotions is that they don't last, so don't dwell on them, tomorrow is another day.