Just Show Up
Sometimes I get asked about motivation and how I stay motivated with working out. The conversation usually involves the following questions:
Aren’t you tired?
Don’t you get sore?
Do you ever think, I really just do not feel like going today?
So how do you stay motivated to keep going?
I just show up.
That is the best advice I have for staying motivated, and it has been working for years. When it comes to improving your health and fitness, consistency reigns supreme.
I think it can be easy for anyone to fall into the trap of worrying about how hard a workout will be and how tired you feel while doing it. Instead, I think about a workout in three parts:
Part 1) Going to the gym. I have to actually get there if I am going to accomplish anything.
Part 2) The Workout: this is all the lifting, pulling, running, rowing, jumping, and whatever else we may do during that one hour period. It seems exhausting just to think about and it has in fact made me question my own sanity at times (friends and family have certainly given me wide-eyed looks when I tell them about our workouts, suggesting they also think I’m insane).
Part 3) The Reward: the part that comes after a workout. It is that awesome endorphin, dopamine, and serotonin induced blissful feeling that is brought on after a good sweat AND it is the feeling that you achieved something that day and have bettered yourself.
It is easy to focus on Part 2, the workout, and get discouraged by the idea of exerting so much energy. But whenever that happens, I stop and think about Part 1, and ask myself the simple question: can I show up today?
Showing up is a much easier task to accomplish than the workout itself, because it only involves getting up, putting on clothes, and going (walking/cycling/driving/etc.) to the gym. That’s it. 9 times out of 10 I know I can accomplish at least that.
The difficulty of the workout itself (Part 2) is not as important for two reasons: 1) I know that even if I barely try, I will still make it through the workout, and 2) I am guaranteed to feel good after (Part 3!). Maybe I haven’t done much – it is only a drop in the bucket – but I know that doing something (anything!) is always better than nothing.
This is why Part 1 is the only real obstacle when going to the gym. Once you get there, after you walk through the door, the hard part is over. You don’t have to worry about anything after that point because the coaches take over from there. They will show you what to do, they will encourage and support you, they will guide you through the entire workout, and scale it if you are having a bad day and just can’t manage something.
Even if you are just giving the workout the bare minimum: that’s ok. The coaches know that it’s impossible for us to be our most athletic selves every day. It’s unrealistic to assume that could be true!
Still, no matter how good or bad I feel during a workout, it all boils down to that one question: Can I show up today?
When you break it down and realize that the greatest obstacle you have to overcome in a workout is just that first part, showing up, it is actually a fairly easy task. Yet, it is the most important part of the entire equation for a healthier and happier you.
We can’t help you if you don’t actually come to the gym!
And we want to see you become the happiest and healthiest version of yourself — it’s why you came to Escapist in the first place and it’s our whole mission.
So the next time you are struggling to find the motivation to go workout, don’t think about the workout itself.
All you need to do to be successful is just ask yourself the simple question:
Can I show up today?
We’ll be waiting!