On Sunday morning, Mike and I like to wake up early and drink delicious coffee together while sitting on the couch with our giant dogs. Often, Mike has been up for a few hours already before Zeppelin and I wander out of bed, and sometimes he’s even hit a workout in our basement using MikeFit (trademark pending).
Sundays usually represent a pretty heavy training day for me in the gym, so I like to load up on caffeine and eat an awesome breakfast before heading to the gym to “ruin my training partners’ lives” (according to Mike. They seem to have lots of fun with me!).
This past Sunday, we talked about how training and fitness in general can really evolve over time. Life, for the most part, is fluid. Job changes, massive house repairs, financial pressure, an illness in the family—at some point in time, most of us will face something fairly heavy that could derail our fitness.
So why do some people quit training completely and why do some keep going?
The answer is wrapped up in habits and personal identity.
On a smaller scale, we all have busy, long, hard days when it would be much easier to drive past the gym and head home and plant ourselves on the couch. Maybe we have a painful injury that forces us to change how we train and the thought of asking for help or working through it feels overwhelming. If you’re someone who has always made the effort to show up no matter what, it’s easier to keep doing that when shit hits the fan. It’s just who you are. You’re the person who shows up for fitness—even when it’s hard and you’re tired. You just can’t see yourself doing anything else.
The constant is you and your behaviour. The thing that can and often should change is how you train. Maybe the loads are lighter or the intensity is down. Maybe your train three or four times a week instead of five or six. Maybe you’re not focused on a PR but just “doing some work.”
No matter what, you show up.
Fitness is often the thing we do for ourselves. It’s just not something we can delegate away or offload to make room for something else. It’s so essential to our mental, emotional and physical health. If you have the privilege to be able to pursue fitness, keep showing up for yourself because no one else can do it for you.
If your goal this week is to get to the gym but you’ve been struggling with forming the habit, try these tips.
- Choose the days you’re going to work out in advance. Put them in your calendar and sign in for classes. Yes, we notice when you sign out or don’t show up for a while. We provide accountability, and you’ll get an email telling you that we miss you. We aren’t the gym where you buy a membership and we don’t care if you come. We know it’s our job to motivate you to train.
2. Make sure your gym clothes and bag are packed the night before.
- Ask for help! Get an accountability partner—maybe it’s a friend or a coach at the gym who is expecting you to be there! A gym buddy doubles your motivation, and if one partner is feeling blah, the other can supply the motivation that day.
- Reward yourself! If you make it to the gym for your set days, book a massage or plan an awesome night out with friends.
- Track your progress—checking the boxes is fun for everyone, and it’s a reward in itself. On the days when you aren’t feeling it, check your log book. Seeing your progress will inspire you. You’ll also see a huge string of workouts, and you won’t want to break the chain. Because you’re a person who works out. It’s just what you do, and it’s one of the reasons you’re so healthy and successful.
You can make this week another week with excuses and good reasons to not make it to the gym. We understand that those circumstances might be very legitimate, or at least very much feel that way. Or, you can make this week the start of a new habit – just show up.