When You’re Struggling With Motivation…

So I have returned home to Australia with a resounding thud back to reality. Or maybe I should call it “sub-reality”, because my current reality is far worse than the one I left behind in July.

I’m not going to bore my handful of readers with the mundane details of my life, but suffice to say, it’s a family crisis* and it’s hard and there is no easy fix or solution.

For the first time in my entire training life, I couldn’t give two shits about training. This is a new feeling. I started training at the end of 2004. It’s been a pretty long and consistent obsession for me. The apathy I feel right now is rather alien.

(my sleep is extremely disordered right now too, and that is definitely not helping… I usually sleep like a log. Some nights since I’ve been back, I haven’t slept at all.)

I always preach that something is better than nothing and that you should do stuff you like, stuff you feel like doing. Or at least focus on that. The bulk of your physical training should certainly be stuff you like and feel like doing most of the time.  So if you love lifting, lift! If you love yoga, do mostly yoga! If you love running… you get the drift. Sometimes, in order to reach a specific goal we have to follow a structured plan that may include things we don’t like so much. If you want to reach that specific goal, of course, you have to suck it up and just do the damn thing as prescribed. That’s a given.

But when the difference is between doing nothing and doing something, just getting out there and doing the thing you like or feel like doing always wins.

Moving always beats sitting on the couch!

Doing something always beats doing nothing!

So guess what? While I was away, I was actually itching to get back into my routine and I had all these fanciful ideas about how I was just going focus razor sharp on lifting, I was thinking about doing the Smolov Squat program, I was gonna completely ditch cardio and forget about doing any running, ever. Since, you know… apparently I don’t like running and whatever, right? Haha.

Well guess what I feel like doing today? Going out for a run! I am serious. Yes, I find this development so, so funny. Because you know, apparently I don’t like running. Make sure I don’t miss the memo on that one again, hehe.

I’m going to go out there today and run for 30 minutes or so. Because its good for me and its something and its better than sitting on the couch.

Have you ever struggled with motivation? Ever been in a rut? How did you overcome it?

* My beloved grandmother had a bad fall about 2 weeks ago and hit her head very badly… and unfortunately, the fall has induced severe dementia. It’s very unlikely she will recover to her old self. Our family is struggling, to say the least.


Ditching the ‘All or Nothing’ Attitude in Fitness

My European adventure is drawing to a close and with 7 days ‘til I arrive in Sydney, I have been contemplating my fitness goals.

Part of that is thinking about how I want to evolve and what things I need to let go of, that may have held me back in the past. One of those is an all-or-nothing attitude.

I used to be like that about dieting.

I still struggle a little with it in training. I hate deload weeks and I have been known to get agitated when things don’t go as planned in the gym. I like intense workouts. I like to struggle and triumph. When the latter doesn’t happen, I can get pissed and take my ball and go home… sometimes funny, but never productive!

True fitness is a lifestyle and life has it’s ups and downs. One of the key qualities to being happy, fulfilled and successful is resilience, and you can’t be resilient when you’re rigid, afraid to make mistakes, or get upset when things don’t go 100% your way.

Don’t strive for perfection. Strive for excellence!

Strive to develop good habits and consistency. Strive to be better than you were yesterday. Strive to challenge yourself in some way, every day. Step outside of your comfort zone. Forgive yourself mistakes. They happen.

Those of us prone to an all-or-nothing attitude often end up with just the latter… nothing.

We’re prone to overtraining, because we try to push hard and train hard every single day, thinking more is more. It certainly isn’t.

We’re prone to struggling with our diets because we expect perfection from ourselves, with nary a calorie or macronutrient out of place. And when we can’t achieve that, we fall right off the wagon and binge… guess what? 100% diet adherence is overrated… and not possible without an adjunct obsessive-compulsive disorder. Certainly, eating well 90% of the time is necessary to looking your best, but perfection is a myth and unnecessary.

We’re prone to being competitive, which personally, I tend to find a friendly competitive streak in a person kind of cute 🙂 HOWEVER, not everything is a competition! Not everything is so serious. And no one said you had to be the best at everything or the most of something. Just be you and strive for constant improvement. Stay humble. Keep your ego in check.

Some of us never even get started because we think we have to be “dedicated” and “disciplined” and “train hard” to make any of it worthwhile and it’s all just too intense and overwhelming. So we do nothing. We sit on the couch instead. Well guess what? MOVING YOUR BODY in some way every single day is certainly worthwhile and good for your health, even if you don’t approach things with the razor focus of a professional athlete. Just move! Pick something you like doing and just go with it.

Do something. Walk for 20 minutes a day. Eat a serving of vegetables at dinner every night. Who told you that you had to eat perfectly and train like an Olympic Athlete for it to be worthwhile? Hey, they lied. Eat your veges and move a little each day. Baby steps. Will you look like a fitness model? No. Will you feel better and look better, and be glad you made those small changes? Yes! You will.

Something always trumps nothing.

The people you admire the most in sports and fitness, they have off-seasons, they have intelligently periodized training protocols (i.e: not pushing at 100% capacity all the time), they have diet slip-ups and off-plan meals. They have bad days at training, days where they feel tired. But guess what? They do things MOSTLY right and properly, and stick to their plans the vast majority of the time.

Getting it right over 90% of the time is what gets results and what is important.

Earnest effort is everything. Perfection is a myth. A fitness unicorn! You wanna go chasing unicorns? Be my guest. Have fun with that. Getting great results and maintaining them is a balance between consistent, intelligent training, good nutrition and incorporating all of that into your every day, real life.

Have you had an all or nothing attitude to your fitness? Have you been far too intense in the past or has your attitude kept you on the couch? How have you managed to find YOUR balance?