by Cory Albright
Director of Athlete Performance
Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist
USAW Level 1 Sports Performance Coach
No matter how dedicated to the gym you are, you will be faced with days where you just don’t want to go. Maybe it was a long miserable day at work or there are chores waiting at home or you didn’t get enough sleep the night before. No matter the reason, those low motivation moments are going to happen. If you’ve already put in several workouts for the week, it might be the perfect opportunity to take a needed rest day, but if not, you have to find your way to the gym. So before you even form a well-intentioned plan to work hard at the gym, how do you make sure you have the motivation to just get there first?
About a month ago I was conducting a meeting with our weight loss challengers and I was asked, “There are days where I find it hard to make it here, not because of commitments, but because I just don’t feel like it. How do I prevent myself from skipping workouts?”
I responded, “Do you have goals that you haven’t reached yet?”
Client: “Yes, of course.”
Me: “Where/when do you find yourself deciding not to come to the gym?”
Client: “Driving from work to the gym; I’ll just drive home instead.”
Me: “What I need you to do is go home and type up your number one goal in your favorite color ink and print it out. Then, grab a picture of something related to that goal, so maybe a picture of when you looked and felt your best, or a picture of you at your worst or a picture of your kids. Whichever motivates you most. I want you to place the goal and picture in your car, where you’ll see it, but not impede your ability to drive safely. This way every time you make that drive from work to the gym, that goal and picture is visible to you.”
The key is to find something that really moves you and make it a constant visual reminder. Sure the line “No pain, No gain” is fun to say out loud, but does it actually do anything for you? You need something that actually stirs your emotions and then place it wherever you might find yourself veering off the path to your goals. For me, I have motivational quotes and images all over the place. There’s one by my alarm clock, one on the bathroom mirror, one next to the handle on the refrigerator, one in my car, one in my locker at work, one as my phone’s background, and so on. These are not just fitness related, but life related.
My one go-to that no matter what I’m feeling like that day will create motivation in me to tackle anything is Jim Valvano’s 1993 ESPY speech. Watching him being helped to stage and the message he gave that night, while in the process of fighting the cancer that ultimately took his life, creates emotions in me that moves me to tears in some cases. There’s not one instance where after hearing that speech was I unproductive or lazy.
So, I challenge you to find something that just doesn’t sound cool, but that creates real emotions and that reminds you why you started working out in the first place. Then, the next time you want to skip out on the gym, use it to get yourself here and crush the workout.