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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 to...like "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!
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