How Do I Get Motivated To Exercise? - Tucson Personal Training Group Fitness Blog

Personal Training in Tucson - The Protocol Strength & Conditioning, Llc

By: Jerry Trubman, Owner & Founder

Today’s post is, yet another, from the FAQ file (name withheld to protect the innocent). The gist of the question is basically this…

“I’m passionate and driven in almost all other aspects of my life. Why is it that I can’t seem to stay consistent with exercise?”

The question caught me a bit off guard. Not because I’m not used to having been asked that same basic question about a bajillion times over the years, but mainly because I was outside of my fitness element participating in an unrelated recreational activity. With the hours I put in at work, I really try to turn my ‘coach brain’ off when I have some down time. My answer, in the moment, was probably all rambley and bad, so now that I’ve been able to chew on it for a few days, I’ll attempt to take another stab at it. If the person who asked me the question reads this blog, I hope this answer is better than the one I gave you…

Before we get into my thoughts on this subject, there is one important factor to consider. There is one very simple reason that we, as an American population, are not motivated to exercise/become fitter/become stronger, etc.

We don’t need to.

That’s right. We simply don’t need to be strong anymore. Our modern world has created so many gadgets and luxuries for us in the last 50-60 years, that being able to perform simple physically demanding tasks for several hours a day is just not necessary anymore.

There was a bit of a feather-ruffling article that was making the rounds in my fitness community last week called, “Men Are Getting Weaker, Because We’re Not Raising Men.” You can check out the entire article here. Quoting:

“If you’re the average Millennial male, your dad is stronger than you are. In fact, you may not be stronger than the average Millennial female. You’re exactly the kind of person who in generations past had your milk money confiscated every day — who got swirlied in the middle-school bathroom. The very idea of manual labor is alien to you, and even if you were asked to help, say, build a back porch, the task would exhaust you to the point of uselessness.

This morning, the Washington Post highlighted a study showing that the grip strength of a sample of college men had declined significantly between 1985 and 2016. Indeed, the grip strength of the sample of college men had declined so much — from 117 pounds of force to 98 — that it now matched that of older Millennial women. In other words, the average college male had no more hand strength than a 30-year-old mom.”

This makes me think of that famous quote:

“Bad times create strong men.

Strong men create good times.

Good times create weak men.

Weak men create bad times.”

 

So, what do we do with this information? I’m sure there is a population that might say, “This is awesome! What a great time we are living in! I can just sit here on my ever-expanding butt and consume anything and everything I can get my hands on. I can even earn a living by typing on this same device that brings me all of my education, entertainment, social interactions, and even sexual satisfaction. What a great time to be alive!” However, I’m thinking if you read this blog, that probably doesn’t describe you.

Regardless of the ‘times’ we are living in, there are some things that are difficult to argue. For example, I think most of us can agree that we were made to move… and once we stop moving, bad things start to happen to our bodies (and even our minds). Secondly, restoring mobility and strength doesn’t get easier with age. A 30-year-old trying to ‘get back in shape’ is going to have a much easier time than a 40, 50, or 60, year-old. And yes, unfortunately (no matter what some may say) at some point, there is such a thing as too late. None of us get out of here alive.

Very few things in my life were more depressing than visiting my grandmother those last years before she passed away. God bless the people who work in professions that care for people at this stage of life! This is definitely a job I couldn’t do. I remember sometimes I would have to drag myself to go see her. I remember taking a few deep breaths in my truck before walking in. Watching her, as well as many others in her facility, having such a difficult time was rough. Of course, none of us are tougher than father time, but even if we can’t control all aspects of the quantity of years, I sincerely believe we can do things to improve the quality of them.

On my podcast interview on “What’s New, Coach?” with Neal Snyder (click here if you missed it), I was asked what my ‘secret sauce’ was to get people motivated to accomplish some of the great things that have come out of our facility. My answer was about as lame as the one I probably gave that lady last week. Essentially, what I said was that we don’t go brow-beating people, like some may imagine the stereotypical ‘sadistic personal trainer’ would do. Why not? It’s like the old rhyme Dave Ramsey’s grandma used to tell him:

“Those convinced against their will,

are of the same opinion, still.”

Instead, we find people who genuinely want to, and believe they can, accomplish something awesome. Then all we have to do is just give them the tools to prove to them they are right. That’s why whenever someone asks “How did you get that guy to such a big deadlift?” Or, “How did Marie get that lady to lose 100 pounds?” Our answer is very anti-climactic.

We didn’t do much of anything. We just showed them the procedure… the ‘how’. They are the ones who did the work. If you want to congratulate someone, congratulate them. They’re the ones that did it!

My last thought on this is also a pretty simple and underappreciated one:

Discipline, willpower, and motivation are (for the most part) overrated.

Whenever someone comments on the ‘discipline’ or ‘will power’ Marie and I must have, here is what I picture in their minds: They imagine that if they come over to our house and look in the fridge, they see it packed to the gills with three-layer chocolate cakes, frozen pizzas, ice cream, TV dinners, etc. and then, like, maybe one or two veggies in the veggie drawer. Then every night when Marie and I get home after a long day at work, we open the fridge with white knuckles and teeth clenched.  We stand in front of the open refrigerator door and repeat to ourselves over and over again, “Don’t eat the cake… don’t eat the pizza… don’t eat the ice cream. EAT THE TWO VEGGIES AND LEAVE EVERYTHING ELSE IN THERE, FATTY!”

I’m telling you right now… I’d totally eat the cake, pizza, and ice cream. All of it… in one sitting.

I know… I’ve seen me do it. Marie would probably do it too.

At the end of the week, the veggies would have gone bad and need to be thrown out.

Instead, we stock the fridge with stuff we know we should eat. Sunday is food prep day. We ‘plan the eat’ on Sunday, and ‘eat the plan’ on Monday through Saturday. No discipline, no willpower, no white knuckles and no cold sweats staring at chocolate cakes.

Training sessions look like appointments on our calendars. Nobody can book us at that time because it shows we’re unavailable. No discipline, no motivation. It’s an appointment just like our appointments with clients.

If it's important to you, you'll find a way. If it's not, you'll find an excuse.

As far as figuring out what it’s going to take to get you to make meaningful changes to your lifestyle, you will need to figure out your ‘why’. For a great description, I would recommend Simon Sinek’s book, “Start With Why.”

Some of the people in our facility have overcome major injuries, major surgeries, and some have even beaten cancer! We don’t need to twist these people’s arms to do anything. Their ‘why’ is so much bigger than me, the gym, or any of our instructors. Their ‘why’ is crystal clear to them. At this point, it would be MORE work to convince them to STOP going to the gym.

I hope you never have the conversation with your doctor where he has to tell you, “If you don’t make some major changes, you may not be around next year.” I hope you can connect to your purpose long before that ever takes place. Maybe you want to run around with grandkids, maybe you want to hike to awesome places most people only see in pictures, maybe you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. Whatever it is, I hope you can find a 'why' to start caring for you the way you care about those other things you put in front of yourself. Because if you don't take care of you, someday you won't be able to care for those things either. 

Until next time,

Jerry Trubman is a coach, clinician, author, blogger, and powerlifting state champion. With over two decades of lifting experience, he has devoted himself to seeking out better answers, and distilling them into practical programs that produce great results. Jerry has coached "Team Protocol" to 4 National Powerlifting Championships in the 100% Raw federation. He writes the internationally-read blog, “The Healthy Addiction” and lives in Tucson, Arizona with his wife Marie and dog Sadie. To subscribe to his blog, click here

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