Why Waiting for Your Motivation is Risky

Some people believe that they need to feel motivated to go to the gym. Read more about why that is a huge mistake here.

"I don't know if I should approach lifting weights tackling specific areas at a time..or make it more well rounded for each workout?"

This is a text that a friend sent me recently. She is trying to figure out where she should get started with strength training.

Think about something that you're good at. It's easy to forget how hard it was when you first got started.

Could you imagine if my friend relied on her motivation to help her figure this out?

She might get further than she expects and guess her way into a good routine. When she stops making progress, likely where she is now, she might get frustrated and give up.

Of course I am happy to help her figure some things out.

I want to share that process with you as well. Before we skip to lifting, let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Today we're going to talk about some of the soft skills. These can be overlooked in strength training, especially for new lifters like yourself.

No Questions Asked, Your Brain Needs Training too

When it comes to health and fitness, the mind and the body are highly interconnected. If you want to change the way you look, you should change the way you think.

My experience as a college athlete gave me a unique perspective. Higher level athletes talk about these concepts. Sports psychologists specialize in developing these areas. They become more important as you progress.

You may not choose to dive into all these pieces at once (like I'm not today) but, I feel like you should know what they are.

  • Forming a habit of exercising
  • Motivation
  • Choice Architecture
  • Identity Formation

Greg Nuckols deserves credit for highlighting these areas on his website, Stronger By Science.

This is my spin on each of these four topics.

No questions asked, Habits Matter

It takes time to form a habit, a common misconception is that you can form a habit in two weeks or 21 days. Nothing happens overnight, it's more like 66.

Becoming muscular, lean or even just "toned" takes time. How you respond to a training program depends on many factors.

Some of the factors include:

  • Genetics
  • Your training background
  • Nutrition-quality and consistency
  • Sleep-quality and quantity
  • Physical and mental stress
  • Yes, your habits.

When you see people around you, you're seeing a snapshot of how they look right now.

A few years ago, they may have looked and felt exactly how you do now. Don't lose sight of that.

The "fit" person may have been overweight.

That "overweight" woman might be a former college athlete. She might be recovering from an injury or a rough pregnancy.

What matters in the long term is what sort of habits you're carrying out on a day to day basis;

  • On average how many calories are you taking in on a daily basis? Weekends and "cheat meals" count too.
  • On average how often do you exercise? 2 days a week? everyday?
  • On average is your strength training taking you towards your goals? Getting stronger? More muscular? Building endurance?

If you have a habit of eating healthy foods and moving often, you're likely already pretty healthy.

Every day you have to opportunity to focus on something that can take you closer to your goals.

This is where motivation comes in. Motivation is a resource that can be depleted. Think of your habits as free premade decisions. You don't have to think about them. You just do them.

Further reading:

If you want to learn more about shaping your life, I can recommend some reading to you.

Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard

This book is by two of my favorite authors. It can teach you some of the principles behind changing situations and what it takes to pull that off. They also made a 16 minute video explaining the basics of the book, that can be found here.

All it takes to watch the video is an email address. No spam, they send me an email maybe 3 times a year.

Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness

This book is by the father of behavioral economics. There is an implied assumption in economics. Economists assume people always make rational decisions.

Richard Thaler suspected that this was not the case.

In Nudge, Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein paint a picture of how humans make economic decisions. Nudge can open your eyes to how you can structure some of your choices in life to be more beneficial.

Motivated to Make a Change?

Phone: 1-573-443-1495