No doubt you’ve seen the plethora of fitspiration memes on the Internet. And while I’m not against fitspiration, those images will only take you so far. For anyone who has trained for a competition or for anyone who has fitness goals for that matter, there are/will be days that you just don’t feel like working out and no amount of memes will get you moving to the gym.
Even as a competitive powerlifter, there are days where I’d much rather crawl into bed and take a nap than drag my sorry butt into the gym and rep out heavy weights. But! I’ve set goals for myself that I know lying in bed won’t help me achieve. The key to getting through these days is to make exercise a habit. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary online, definition 7 b of habit says: “An acquired mode of behaviour that has become nearly or completely involuntary.”
In Charles Duhigg’s book “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, he says, “Studies of people who have successfully started new exercise routines, for instance, show they are more likely to stick with a workout plan if they choose a specific cue, such as running as soon as they get home from work, and a clear reward such as a beer or an evening of guilt-free television.” He goes on to explain that the habit sticks when your brain starts to crave the reward simply from the cue.
Making my training into a habit hasn’t been easy. On my powerlifting journey, I’ve battled against depression, hormones, and juggled my work schedule as well as making sure I spend time with my dog, my family, my friends and my church.
If I didn’t make training a habit, it would be so easy to make excuses like I don’t have time, I’m tired, it’s hard, etc. But I also know beyond competing my training habit has brought many benefits that far outweigh my excuses such as improved mood, more energy, new friends, not to mention all the health benefits.
Each day that I train, I follow the same routine. I get home from work and eat a good, healthy dinner. Then I take my training log from my computer and I write it in my notebook (my cue) to bring to the gym with me. I’ve started to crave the endorphins from my workout as part of my reward. Post-workout my reward is a protein shake and shortly thereafter, I crash into bed and cuddle with my puppy (extra endorphins!!).
This week’s Peach challenge:
- What excuses have you been making for not exercising?
- Examine why you give in to your excuses instead of battling them.
- Create a cue and reward for making training or exercising into a habit.