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Episode 42: 5 Mistakes That Are Killing Your Motivation to Workout

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Summary

If you struggle staying motivated to workout regularly, I totally understand. Even as a personal trainer I struggle with this from time to time. But while we tend to preoccupy ourselves with finding motivation hacks, rarely do we take the time to figure out how we're sabotaging our motivation to begin with. 

1. You're pigeonholing what it means to 'workout'.

If you say you don't like working out, chances are you have a very narrow perspective on what working out is. Getting your exercise in doesn't mean you have to be lifting at the gym or slogging away on the treadmill if you hate that. It could be dancing it up at a salsa club, it could be going a couple rounds in the boxing ring, it could be really vigorously cleaning your home, hell, it could be an extra long romp session with your boo.

2. You're gripping tightly to the story that you hate working out.

I see this a lot as a coach. We often have really negative experiences with fitness growing up (that crappy PE coach, your mom telling you you need to drop a few pounds, getting dusted by your friends in the mile run), and it leaves a bad taste in our mouth even as adults.

But if you want any hope of keeping your motivation up, you're going to have to let go of the story you're telling yourself that working out is the worst thing in the world and that you are simply someone who hates it. You don't hate working out, you hate some of the experiences you've had with working out. Open your mind and try to create a different dialogue about your experience. 

3. You're trying to use self-hatred to motivate you. 

You think that by bashing the way you look in the mirror every morning, you'll somehow self-hate your way straight to the gym. But just likes dogs respond significantly better to rewards than punishment in their training, we respond much better to love than hate when it comes to motivation.

When you spin yourself up about how horrible you look and feel, all you're doing is discouraging yourself and spotlighting how far you have to go. Instead, start with love, even in the smallest of ways. Because when you truly love yourself, you want to take care of yourself with food and fitness. 

4. Your only measure of success is the scale.

The scale is one of my least favorite ways of tracking progress because it can be so fickle and so discouraging. If you weigh yourself every day, and you lose all motivation because you gained 2 pounds even though you worked out 3 days in a row, you are doing yourself a huge disservice.

The scale is not just measuring your body fat (in fact, unless you took in an extra 7,000 calories in 3-days you did not put on 2 pounds of fat in 3 days). What it is measuring is fat, muscles, bones, and water weight.

Which means you could easily see the scale go up if you ate a particularly carb-filled meal, if you're dehydrated, if you ate a salty meal at a Chinese restaurant, if you're stressed, if it's that time of the month, and none of it would mean you actually put on true weight. So start paying closer attention to how your clothes fit, to your body measurements, and to how you feel as you take better care of yourself (is your skin better, is your digestion improving, do you have more energy, is your mood more lifted?).

5. You push way too hard in the beginning and don't listen to your body. 

I get this so much, and I see this especially with ex-athletes. You identify as a fit person even though it's been months or years since you worked out. So you go in, let your ego and pride take the wheel, and go balls to the walls in your workout just to prove you still can. But then you spend the next 2 weeks barely able to move and lose the workout habit (and motivation) as quickly as you started. Quit trying to be a hero, and start prioritizing consistency over intensity. 

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