What To Do When You Don't Feel Like Working Out: Advice From An Olympic Champion
“Do you just love working out?”
As a fitness coach and former athlete, I’ve been tossed this question too many times to count. And they are usually surprised when I tell them “No”.
“Not always.” While there are deeply fulfilling aspects to working out such as to sculpting a body you are proud of… building physical strength… taking your energy and stamina up several notches… and the extra buffer from stresses of the day — it’s not all sunshine and squirrels, even for the best of the best.
Olympic champion pole vaulter, Bob Richards in Heart of a Champion shares the struggle of keeping enthusiasm during workouts even for the most elite athletes:
"If a person is going to be the kind of person he wants to be or ought to be, this is a must… Maintaining enthusiasm is the hardest thing in training. Sometimes you go out on the field and are tired, worn-out, you don’t have the zip — and it is so easy to let down, just go through the motions, but not really pour yourself into it and get something out of your workout. I’ve stood at the end of the runway many times and wondered what in the world I was doing out here — I’ve jumped so many times."
And when this enthusiasm for training drops, it can vortex into a vicious cycle of working less.
If you work less, you typically do worse. If you do worse, your enthusiasm tends to drop more, and then you work even less. Enthusiasm can be the start and the stop to this downward cycle.
Somehow this enthusiasm must be maintained because as enthusiasm grows, a person works harder, and from hard work comes the success every person needs. But how do you inspire more enthusiasm — especially when you are discouraged? Or aren’t where you want to be?
Once again Sir Richards reveals:
"It isn’t the point where you are that matters, it’s the direction in which you are heading. So long as you are going up, even if it is just a quarter of an inch or a tenth of a second, your enthusiasm need not wane."
It’s ALL about direction.
Some movement. Some progress. And the great thing, is you can steer yourself into a better direction with small, powerful movements starting today.
Choose to skip dessert today — that sets you in a direction. Go for a 2 mile walk today — that sets you in a direction. Meal prep your lunches for the week — that sets you in a direction. Throw away the candy in your desk drawer — that sets you in a direction.
All these set you in a direction and breathe a little bit more enthusiasm into your journey. With more enthusiasm comes more action. With more action brings more enthusiasm — and that forward movement carries you a little bit further towards the body, the fitness, the energy you want.
And if you continue in that direction not just for a week… month… or few months… don’t be surprised how much further you go.
That brings home a gold-medal idea:
Just because you aren’t enthusiastic about your workout doesn’t mean anything is wrong.
It happens to the best (of the best) of us.
And it’s simply a passing tropical storm and a reminder to keep moving the right direction. Onward,
For more strategies for boosting your enthusiasm and drive to get after it each and every day - check out Mind-Body Breakthroughs.