What keeps you going to the gym even on those days when you want to kick back and relax? What helps you to push through your pain and keep running, jogging, cycling, or lifting when all you want to do is give up? Finding your motivation to work out is VERY important, as that motivation is what will keep you going through the hard times. Here are some of the most common motivations that drive people to train:
Body Image Fears
For a lot of people, the primary reason to go to the gym and train hard is a fear of being unattractive. Body issues are very common, and they may be the cause of your decision to work out. But be warned: people who train SOLELY for body image issue reasons tend to be more sporadic and less likely to keep up with their training. You shouldn’t only be doing it to avoid negative consequences; you should work out for reasons that involve positive motivation!
How many times have other people told you that it’s time for you to get in shape or lose weight? There is always a certain amount of external pressure, but that doesn’t mean you should be working out just because your parents, sibling, spouse, friend, or children told you to. External pressure can add to your motivation, but your true motivation should come from within. Outside pressure can only take you so far—you have to be dedicated to your workout program if you’re going to succeed. And no amount of external pressure can help you to become dedicated!
This is one of the best/worst reasons for working out. It’s “best” in that it gives you a very visible, very tangible reason to work out. You can know you’re doing it for your health’s sake, so you have that significant factor motivating you even through the tough times. But it’s “worst” in that it you have health problems that could have been otherwise avoided through healthy exercise. Instead of waiting until you develop health problems, it’s in your best interest to start working out while you’re still healthy. It’s easier to STAY healthy than GET healthy.
Guilt or Shame
This is a terrible motivator, and one that will only get you so far. You know you’ve got health problems or are “out of shape”, so you start going to the gym out of guilt for your poor health. Then, as the days go by and you keep making mistakes with your diet and lifestyle choices, you try to “work it off” at the gym. But that’s the WORST reason to go to the gym. If you just go out of guilt or shame, you’ll never see the results you could obtain. You’ll never push yourself hard or come to realize just how enjoyable training can be.
Desire for Good Health
This is one of the most positive motivations for working out. You’re not doing it to AVOID existing health problems or look good, but you’re working out because you want to be healthy. You understand that the human body tends to decay and break down, and exercise is one of the few things that can keep it in good shape. You work out in order to keep your joints mobile, your muscles strong, and your bones solid. You also want to keep your cardiovascular system in good shape, and have the energy you need to carry out your activities of daily life. THAT should be the #1 motivation to work out.