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Top 10 Motivations for Working Out When I'm Not Feeling It

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Friday, June 15, 2012

For the past two mornings, I've had training runs scheduled (yesterday, a 3.1 mile and this morning, a 2 mile).

For the past two mornings, my alarm has sounded and my body has gone into all-out war with my mind.

Some days, I'm thrilled to run. I can't WAIT to get up and get out there and hit that pavement.

Other days, I just can't even imagine moving a muscle or throwing off my cozy comforter to go outside in the brisk morning air and move my entire body for 30-60 minutes.

So...what makes me actually pull myself out of a mound of comfort and get started? What makes me keep going once I'm on the road? And what keeps me from saying, "To hell with this today!" when a run isn't going as smoothly as I'd like? In short, what motivates me to keep going?

I think you will agree that some cool pictures with motivational quotes on them aren't going to propel my lazy butt out of a cocoon of joy and into a 50-degree world of short breathing and muscle cramps.

The truth is, there's not one specific thing that motivates me. As with most areas of life, I have a myriad of resources to draw from that keep me going. These are in no particular order, but at some point in time, I have certainly drawn on every single one of these to fuel my workouts.

1. Inspirational Stories

This can be someone famous, like a sports legend or Olympic hero - my personal favorites are speed skater, Apolo Ohno, and swimmer, Michael Phelps. Doesn't have to be a sports figure, either. Have you SEEN Gwen Stefani's abs? Wow!

In addition, I draw inspiration from average joes like you and me and ON2VICTORY and ABSOLUTZER0 and WUBBY82 and GODIVADSG and MOM2IAN and FREEDOMSTAR and SANDIEGOJOHN. People that are REAL and that are friends on SparkPeople and that have worked hard to get results. Truth be told, I think about my SparkFriends FAR MORE than I think about Apolo Ohno when I'm struggling to get through a run.

2. Music

Sometimes, I am ready to give up. But then, that PERFECT song comes on that keeps moving me forward. Anything by Daft Punk tends to perk me up and keep me running, in particular the song, "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger". Some songs are just IMPOSSIBLE to walk "Tik Tok" by Ke$ha. Never underestimate the power of music to pull you through those tough spots!

3. Endorphins

When I don't want to run, I think about all the other times I have had successful runs and how I felt afterwards. That feeling is indescribable and it really does last the entire day. This is addicting. And sometimes just the THOUGHT of it gets me moving.

4. Small Treats

Now, we know that we should never reward ourselves with food, right?!! Well, I say that's bull. This morning, this was the trick I used to get up and go (really!) I said to myself, "Self, if you go run a little teeny tiny itty bitty two miles, you can come back and have coffee with Cinnabon flavored creamer." Notice this was a SMALL treat!!! We're talking 45 calories people. NOT an entire 1,000 calorie Cinnabon!!! Other great low calorie "treats" are Banana Fudge Sundae Jello Pudding (60 calories) or just Jello-O (something like 15 calories). There are DELICIOUS and sweet things that you can bribe yourself with that won't even break 100 calories. Get a list...and maybe you can use it as motivation next time you're tempted to hit snooze.

5. Future Body

It sometimes helps me to visualize my future body (or the body I had in the past) in the midst of a hard workout. It reminds me that it will all be worth it and that this "pain" and effort is a temporary thing...that will pay off in something much greater.

6. Sex

Listen, we don't have to get raunchy here. But can we all just agree that this activity is a lot easier when you weigh less? And, in addition, you feel better about yourself so you are less shy about things and there are just more...flexible possibilities. Are you pickin' up what I'm putting down???

7. Pride

Sometimes I exercise just to prove to myself that I'm awesome. Plain and simple.

8. Kids

There are three sets of little tiny eyes in my house and they pick up on everything. They absolutely adore me and I am the queen of their universe. Will they see a Mom who is strong and consistent and hard working? Or will they see a Mom who chooses laziness and breaks promises that she makes to herself?

9. People I've Inspired

In short...YOU! If you are reading this blog, it's possible you've left me some sort of comment or note to tell me that I've inspireed you or given you hope in some way. You can never understand how much everyone in this community contributes to my health. Some mornings I literally do my runs JUST because I know people are waiting to hear about how things went today. Accountability, pure and simple. (THANK YOU, by the way. You guys are helping me to choose to LIVE! This is something I could never possibly repay. And I love you for it.)

10. Frustration/Stress

Look...I tend to find that when I'm upset or pissed off or frustrated, my runs are exponentially better. There's a lot of fuel in stress and anger...and I can't tell you how GOOD it feels to just know that all of that has been lifted when a run is finished.

So...there you have it. If I haven't provided enough reasons for you, well...I simply can't help you. At some point, we all have to find our sources of motivation. I hope that some of you can use a few of mine that I've outlined here.

I believe in every single one of us. Go out there now and take over the world, guys!

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
WILSON1926 7/14/2012 6:21AM

    You are AWESOME.
Thanks for all the blogs that motivate me every day.

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EMILYDOODLE 6/24/2012 9:53PM

  great blog, very inspirational. i also needed this today, i overindulged in food yesterday, went to red lobster with family. overdid it!!!!

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OCEAN_BOBBER 6/22/2012 5:20PM

    I have really enjoyed getting to know you through your blogs. Thanks for these 10 reasons to work out when you don't feel like it. I will definitely be using some of these for my own list. Reasons 5-8 were particularly inspiring. I don't have kids, but I do have a lot of people watching. The thought of "what will they see" struck my heart deeply. I want them to see me; the determined, hard-working, beautiful woman I KNOW I am. I want my husband to be proud of me. I want to be proud of me. Thank you for reminding me of these things.

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STEFANIESHERE 6/22/2012 11:40AM

    Thanks so much! I loved all of these (and they are so true!)

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OLIVIANIGHT 6/22/2012 6:26AM

    I love your blog. I have all these excuses all lines up ready for whenever I might need them, and I then I read your posts and they just get knocked down like dominoes. I'm at work right now, but I'm going to take a break and do some quick exercise!

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BEE_GIRL1 6/21/2012 9:06PM

  Awesome blog! Just motivated me to go for the run I was avoiding by scanning Sparkpeople blogs haha.

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CHANGINGEMMY 6/21/2012 5:13PM

    Awesome blog!! Inspiring and motivating!!!

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JESSZZ123 6/21/2012 10:36AM

    All great ways! I'll have to start visualizing them.

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RIET69 6/21/2012 10:35AM

  Very inspiring. Thank you. I too Getting up and going to swim was a daily game for me. Will I , won't I ? Then I decided that it was not an option for me. No choice necessary. Alarm goes off, get up and get going. It has made it a lot easier for me.

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TRESA7 6/20/2012 9:43PM

  emoticon emoticon

My favorite workout song is "Eye of the Tiger" and every time it plays, I feel a surge of motivation! If you remember "Rocky 3", you know they played that song about a million times. But, I never tire of it!

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CLHENDY1 6/20/2012 10:40AM

    Thanks for sharing! I can definitely relate to most of those motivations!!

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PEACHTEACH50 6/20/2012 8:28AM

    I needed this today! I sprained my ankle 2 weeks ago and I'm still using it as an excuse even though it is much better. I'm going to the YMCA and ride a bike! And maybe swim later!


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MRSTABER 6/20/2012 7:53AM

    Some of those are my motivations too! Great job!

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DITY1990 6/19/2012 5:57PM

  Thanks for sharing this, god knows I have my days as well :)

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MRS_GLAM44 6/19/2012 12:07AM


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LAURENBNJ 6/18/2012 1:01PM

    I think many of the same things motivate me, as well. Thanks for sharing!

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MYKIDSFAN 6/18/2012 12:02PM

    Great blog.... you are an inspiration. emoticon

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ELLENSANGEL 6/18/2012 9:09AM

    Awesome blog, thanks for sharing your motivation and journey.

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LRSILVER 6/18/2012 8:45AM

    Great inspirations. I find music move me too, when I am having trouble finishing a work-out.

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MARIASPARKLE 6/18/2012 4:20AM

    Great blog, thanks!
I love the reference to your comfy bed being a "coccoon of joy"... I hear you!


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MFLYNN8 6/18/2012 1:13AM

    Great job! I'm going to think of this when the sun rises too early! emoticon

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VESUVIOUS 6/18/2012 1:12AM

    Great blog. I have been missing my movitvation this last week. Maybe it's spending the night at your house!!! Sometimes you hafta do it just because.

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MOTHSY 6/18/2012 1:09AM

    Fantastic! You've given me somethings to aspire to. X

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SLFGOLF 6/18/2012 1:01AM

    What a great blog. I can learn from these motivators to keep me going. I've been trying to get in my walks in the morning before the heat of the day.

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NELLBELLA26 6/17/2012 11:58PM

    Great Motivators! Enjoyed Reading this. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TISTEN23 6/17/2012 11:53PM

    I LOVE all your blogs! That is great...I think I will keep this in mind when I just dont wanna do anything!! Thanks so much!!!

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CM_GARDNER78 6/17/2012 10:39PM

    This is awesome!! Thanks for sharing this....these are the kinds of things that I NEED in order to keep myself moving forward in the day to day...when I don't FEEL like it!!! :-) Thank you!!

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KEIPONY 6/17/2012 10:24PM

    thanks, love reading your blogs

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HHB4181 6/17/2012 8:16PM

    Great Blog!! emoticon

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GUITARWOMAN 6/17/2012 8:06PM

    Thank you for some well-written inspiration!


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MELROSE13 6/17/2012 7:37PM

    This is the best blog yet...and I can relate to so many of those inspirations...the song one is so true, it has pulled me through many a workout and helped me add on minutes or miles...You are a great writer :)

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J2740LOU 6/17/2012 7:22PM

    Thank you for sharing such an inspirational and motivating blog. Yes, thinking of the motivation we give others, and we don't even realize the influence we have on others, is motivation.

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FALLNTENN 6/17/2012 7:17PM

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. They gave me the boost I needed. emoticon

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ONEATATIME3 6/17/2012 5:45PM

  Thankyou!! Your motivation will work for me too! emoticon

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MYBLUEIRIS 6/17/2012 5:18PM

    I really liked the part about kids. I need to focus on mine more and really be the type of mommy that I've always wanted to be: fit, strong and motivated.

Thank you for this blog. Your blogs always make me feel a little better, a little stronger, a little more like I too can do it.


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PATTOMMC3 6/17/2012 5:16PM


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TAURUSGIRL3 6/17/2012 5:11PM

  Thanks for the reminders of why we do all of this! I like you list of motivators!

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NIKO27 6/17/2012 5:09PM

    Thanks for sharing

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BLOOMING52 6/17/2012 4:25PM

    Thank you!

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RDGISME 6/17/2012 4:18PM

    Visited your blog for the first time today and MAN am I impressed! You just shared a few really great ideas of what to say to myself when the alarm goes off! Been feeling crappy for a couple of days and now plan on getting to the gym in the a.m. I always feel terrific when I am done and thans for the reminder!

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BEAUTY_WITHIN 6/17/2012 3:35PM

    Thanks for the fabulous reminders! And yes, you ARE an inspiration! Keep up the great work!

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PASTORMAE5 6/17/2012 3:23PM

    I simply like your blogs, you are honest, funny, and just plain real.

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HAPINANA 6/17/2012 2:43PM

    emoticon I needed this today... gotta do my cardio and didn't want to....but this was perfect timing... I LOVE this community and YOU!! emoticon

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CHANGING-TURTLE 6/17/2012 2:36PM

    great blog you inspire me thank you emoticon

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BRENNYREN 6/17/2012 2:09PM

    Well said! Thanks for sharing.

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DEB2653 6/17/2012 2:00PM

  Leaving the computer and going to the treadmill. Thanks for the encouragement. emoticon

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    great post

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    Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Good motivation factors here and lol on the sex! Thank you for sharing with us. I, so hate to exercise..haven't found the one thing I really love yet, but I know it will come soon enough.



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IAMHERETOWIN 6/17/2012 12:41PM

    Great blog!

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