In the words of my son, “The struggle is real.”
As the days get shorter and cooler, football gets more interesting and Halloween miniatures become more plentiful, our time at the gym seems to become less and less of a priority. Even though we’ve been in this position before and we’ve made a promise to ourselves to not make resolutions filled with regret over the work we know we should have done, we find ourselves uninterested in the Halloween themed Body Pump classes, the Turkey Burner step marathons or the Piloxing in Pink classes. We just really want our team to win and some good chili.
The urge to leave the gym during this time of year is purely out of habit. We do it because we’ve always done it. Often we aren’t even aware we are doing it. We blame it on the kids’ social activities, the increased demands on our jobs and holidays.
The idea behind making fitness a lifestyle NEVER changes. It’s all about priority. It just makes priority harder when the conditions are not ideal.
I, personally, have a much easier time getting up for work at 4:30 a.m. in the summer time, knowing that by the time I make it to work at 5:30 a.m., the sun won’t be far behind me. I can throw on a tank top and some shorts or capris and be out of the door in no time. When it starts to get chillier, that warm blanket holds me captive like nothing I have ever experienced. The bathroom floor feels like ice and I feel like I have to put on twenty layers of clothing to even make it to the garage. Never mind the fact that a bottle of water isn’t sufficient. I either have to get up early enough to make tea or stop for coffee. I then have to wait for my freezing car to warm up. I’m already tired and irritated and I haven’t even made it to the car yet. Who in the world wants to work out after that?
A person who knows what’s waiting for them on the other side.
Working out is an investment. The sacrifices you make now, just like saving money for your vacation next year when you’d rather have that REALLY nice pair of shoes, pay off. And I don’t just mean physical payoffs (although that totally rocks).
Learning to stay consistent in less than idealistic situations teaches you not to flee at the first sign of uncomfortableness. That works for weight lifting. It works for running. It works for group fitness classes. It works for new dietary changes. It works for life.
When the reason we shortchange our commitment is because something is not ideal, we’re done. Because we are constantly searching for ideal, we never identify a real reason to stay committed in the first place. When we find a reason to be and stay committed, the urge to leave will never be stronger than the urge to stay.
If you are fighting the urge to take the rest of the year off from the gym and just rejoin the flow at New Year’s, might I suggest:
- Finding the real reason why you work out in the first place. It’s ok if you say for “social reasons.” Just own it. And be willing to own the consequences of taking a three month vacation.
- Recruit others to help you stay motivated. Buy a few sessions with a personal trainer. Find a workout buddy at your gym. Get an accountability partner. Join a running group. Trust me, you are NOT the only one struggling, others could use the help as well and would be more than happy to link up with you.
- Find new motivation. Set a new goal. Take a new class. Try some new exercises. Break the monotony of what you’ve been doing and bring back the excitement of showing up every day to something new to be conquered.
- Buy new workout clothes. I know this seems vain but it is so true. I feel like I can conquer the world in some new leggings. If it motivates you to look good while dragging yourself out of bed then do it. Motivation is motivation.
- Know that three months from now you will be EXTREMELY glad that you invested in yourself and committed to not taking a gym vacation. Don’t worry about the weight loss. Don’t worry about increasing the weight on your back squat. Focus on staying committed when you didn’t want to do it. When you can do it under less than perfect circumstances, you’ll be ready to rock hard when the circumstances change in your favor. Any time you make a choice to do what’s best for you life and your health, the circumstances are ALWAYS in your favor.
See you at the gym!