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Motivation to exercise

By Darren O'Toole | In Fitness, Health | on March 3, 2016

It’s a cold Thursday morning as I write this blog and am faced with the prospect of a long training run this afternoon. “I don’t know why you do it!” was the comment from an early morning client. Strange comment given this client had clambered out of bed at 6.30am on this same cold morning to train.

Those of us who train all have motivation. Those who don’t exercise will have some form of motivating factors but currently deem that this force is not strong enough to outweigh the lethargy. For those that workout, be it the once a week brigade or the twice a day, we all suffer, we all have days where we simply don’t fancy it; but somehow we find a way.

From a personal perspective, and those that know me or read my blog regularly will know, endurance training is my most enjoyable form of exercise. The topless selfie generation, which incidentally do seem to form the majority of my Instagram feed, requires impressive dedication. For those that think it’s genetic or it’s easy, it’s not! Cutting to 5% of body fat is insanely hard work. The calorific deficit, the fasted cardio workouts, the heavy weight training; it’s not easy my friends. It almost leads me back to my client’s observation of me: “I don’t know why they do it!”

However, knowing a few of these dedicated souls, they will have the self-same opinion of my marathon endeavours. We would both have the opinion of a Zumba enthusiast or a Yogi and so on and so forth.

My ever so long-winded point, as a group of cyclists in pink enter the cafe that I am sipping a cappuccino, “I don’t know why they do it!”, is that exercising to fulfil an external ‘norm’ or to enjoy a psychological or physiological benefit that you’ve read about is unlikely to elicit the enjoyment and focus needed to adopt a life which regularly involves exercise. Prior to starting your training, or if you are debating whether to continue, establish why YOU are doing it. What are your motivations to exercise? What would you like to achieve? How can you make exercise enjoyable for you? Once you establish these, you may decide you are on the wrong track; that triathlons aren’t all that great despite your office colleagues all regaling it’s brilliance. Or you may find that you are finally enjoying exercise and if so, keep it up!

There are huge benefits to exercise, but making it enjoyable is the key to making it part of your life. If you are bored of doing it alone, then train with a friend or a coach or a personal trainer. As well as getting results, my focus is to make my training fun and enjoyable. As a trainer, you should become friends with clients and make them look forward to the next session. But if you are suffering through, seeing no benefit and it’s a real chore in your life, then “I don’t know why you do it!”

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