When you look around at why so many people are out of shape and unhealthy these days, it’s not because they don’t know the importance of physical fitness. Of course they do, and of course they know that working out would fix many of their issues. The problem is they have no motivation to work out.
The most important part of working out isn’t the specific program you follow (or don’t). It’s not what leg exercises you do. It’s not whether you train with free weights, machines, or bodyweight. It’s not deciding between cardio, weight lifting, cycling, or running. It’s actually getting into the gym and doing the workout. The most important part of the workout question is being motivated to actually work out.
Because the best workout is the one you’ll do consistently. You can have all the knowledge in the world, access to all the best equipment, take all the supplements and protein powder, but if you can’t actually motivate yourself to work out, it will all be for nothing. If you have trouble getting yourself motivated to work out, keep reading for some tips and tricks for getting the motivation you need.
“I should work out today.” “I should eat better.” “I should stop shoving food in my face.” How many times a day do you find yourself using the word should? Most of my clients know what they should be doing to improve their health, but can’t seem to motivate themselves to actually do it. That’s why they come to me. Here’s the thing though. I can’t give you motivation, I can only give you the tools to motivate yourself. So, if you’ve been feeling like you should be working out more or eating better or refraining from cutting yourself another sliver of pie, keep reading. I’ll be unpacking what motivation is, the reasons you get stuck, and how to finally get off your butt and take action. What is Motivation, Anyway? In its simplest terms, motivation is used to describe why you do what you do.That why is the driving force behind your actions, whether it’s taking a swig from your water bottle because you feel thirsty, going for a run because you paid money to hire a trainer, or smashing the alarm clock because you stayed up too late binge-watching Netflix. Your why will likely be influenced by a variety of intrinsic (internal) and extrinsic (external) motivators. Examples of intrinsic motivators: Running because it’s a stress reliever or feels fun Eating a protein-forward breakfast because it keeps you satiated all morning Doing yoga because it helps you clear your head Filling your fridge with healthy foods because it saves you time and money Organizing your space because it helps you feel calm Examples of extrinsic motivators: Losing weight to win a fitness challenge at work Cleaning the house so your spouse doesn’t get irritated with your mess Avoiding processed foods because your doctor or health coach told you to Sprinting because that’s what the people in your FB feed are doing Eating organic because you want others to perceive you as healthy Let me make it really clear though that your motivation (and your why) are entirely internal processes, meaning it’s your own perception of a situation that makes you more or less motivated to do something. That’s why it’s important to discover your own deep-down reason for staying committed to the path you’re on — or choosing an entirely different path. The Reasons You Get Stuck Clearly, motivation involves more than just wanting something or doing it because you should. That said, even with the best laid plans and a handful of intrinsic and extrinsic motivators, why is it still so damn hard to actually do it? In my private practice and with my students and graduates in the Primal Health Coach Institute, I talk a lot about Toward Motivation and Away from Motivation. While the former is designed to ignite a positive, transformative emotion, pulling you closer to the things you want (having more energy, feeling great in your clothes, boosting your confidence), the latter usually more negative, acting as a reminder of all the things you … Continue reading “Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation, How to Get Going When You Don’t Feel Like It”
A lot of people are having a hard time staying motivated to work out while fitness centers and studios are closed. Perhaps you enjoy the social aspect of workout classes or you have a standing appointment to meet your lifting buddy at the gym. Maybe you lost access to your favorite activities as a result of temporary Crossfit box or pool closures. Or, you finally found a coach or trainer you connect with, and regulations mean sessions are on hold.
It’s understandable. Many people recognize that intrinsic motivation (self-motivation) to exercise isn’t going to cut it, so they’ve set up their fitness life around extrinsic motivational (motivation from outside sources) factors – friends, friendly competition, stellar coaching, whatever have you.
Tell me if this sounds familiar: You started making changes in your life to get healthier and everything was going great. You were seeing progress in the way you felt and looked, your cravings were down, and your energy was up. It was working!
Then, all of sudden it wasn’t.
Despite doing everything right, the scale hasn’t budged in a week, your motivation has hit an all-time low, and you feel totally betrayed by your body. As a health coach, I see a lot of my clients struggling with weight loss plateaus, and feelings that change isn’t happening fast enough. And do you know why? It’s because of this little nugget of truth:
Hi folks, in this edition of Ask a Health Coach, Erin discusses the benefits of being metabolically flexible, the physical and psychological reasons behind cravings, and what to do when you’re too exhausted to work out. Keep your questions coming in the MDA Facebook Group or in the comments section below.
“I’ll start eating healthy again on Monday.”
“I’m not really a gym person.”
“I’ll probably gain the weight back anyway.”
I hear statements like these all the time. If any of them sound remotely like something you’ve said recently, there’s a good chance you’re secretly sabotaging yourself. You might not even know that you’re doing it—but what you do know is that nothing in your life is changing. That probably sounds a little harsh but hear me out.
Hi folks, this post comes from Erin Power, coaching director for Primal Health Coach Institute. Erin plans to post frequently to share the tips, tools, and proven strategies she’s used with her clients, students, and graduates over the past decade regarding motivation, inspiration, and achieving goals. Enjoy!
You’ve likely seen the stats. Up to 92% of people never get the satisfaction of achieving their goals. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Maybe your goal is to stick to a six-hour eating window. Or improve the quality of your sleep. Or stop consuming industrialized oils.
All fantastic goals.
But without the right approach, you’ll be joining the ranks of the defeated faster than you can say metabolic flexibility.
Do you have any mantras? You should.
Ignore the pseudo-spiritual baggage many people have with the notion of a mantra. Repeating and focusing on a meaningful phrase to help guide you through difficult situations, whether that’s an hour of sitting meditation or a commitment to a healthy Primal lifestyle, is a legitimate tool anyone can use. Today, I’m going to give you 7 mantras that I find to be useful.
Many of these don’t even apply explicitly to nutrition or fitness, so anyone can gain from incorporating them. I even left off a personal mantra of mine—”Rend the flesh of young mammals and consume it close to raw as possible”—to make vegetarians and vegans feel more welcome.
You are not the person you were fifteen years ago. The cells that compose your tissues and deliver oxygen have been recycled many times over. Your face has changed. You move differently. You’re probably slower and weaker, or, depending on your daily habits, faster and stronger. As it becomes available, you incorporate new information into your belief system. Even the neat narrative we imagine we’re orchestrating unbroken in our heads has nightly intermissions lasting hours during which we have no real clue what happens.
Is this all just philosophical navel-gazing better suited for 2 AM in a dorm room covered with Bob Marley posters? Not exactly. Accepting the idea that past and future selves are different people can have real benefits today—and tomorrow.
We’re a little more than a month out from New Year’s, and most people have abandoned their resolution efforts. Gyms are emptying out; the squat rack is free again. Cars are piling up in the drive-thrus, the farmer’s markets are noticeably emptier. Was it all for naught? Are the grand visions, the big plans, the lofty resolutions really going to culminate in a sad sputter…a fizzle? Will one-time optimists resign themselves to just another personal failing, another reason to slink back into despair? If January is about hope and ambition, what’s the lesson for February?
I’m not surprised. It happens every time, and it’s caused by our dysfunctional relationship to self-improvement.