February 15, 2013
Make Your Workouts Mean Something

Why do you exercise?

To get healthy? To look better? To fit into that old pair of hot jeans?


You exercise to reach a goal that will satisfy an emotional need.

We all want to be healthy, to look good, and feel good. If we examine these motivators closely we will realize that our superficial goals boil down deeper emotional needs.

Let’s look at a couple common goals and we will dig deeper to understand their emotional power.

Looking good!

How many times have you thought, “I should exercise so I could look better?” We may not feel as healthy or attractive as we used to and exercise is a surefire way to get us back there. But did you catch the key word in the last sentence? It was “feel.” Most of us do not FEEL as healthy or attractive as we think is possible for us. However, it is not the health or the looks that drive us. Deep down it is the emotional feeling that drives us. It is not that you want to look better; it is that you want to feel more confident about the way you look so that you do not feel embarrassed. Or maybe you really want to look better so that you feel more attractive around your spouse. Deep down, looking better is just a means to a certain feeling or emotion you are trying to attain.

Being healthy!

How many times have you heard someone say, “I don’t care about looking better, I just want to be healthy?” What does that even mean? Be healthy? This reason is legitimate but the motivation goes deeper than this. What does “being healthy” mean to you? It could mean that you are alive and well to watch your child get married. It could mean that you don’t want to be in assisted living for a decade before you pass. It could be that your parents are in poor health, or even may have died young, and you do not want to end with the same fate. The emotional root of the motivation goes deep.

You must be connected to your emotional motivations. If you truly want to make a change in your life, you must find and attach a strong emotional reason for doing so. Think about the last time you made a significant change in your life. I am willing to bet that there was a time you did not change… then something happened to tip your emotional scale towards the direction of change. But you needed this emotional charge to fuel your actions. Finding your true motivations is imperative to lasting success.

When you wake up in the morning and have second thoughts about going to the gym, think about your deep motivations. Why do you want to go to the gym? To look better or to feel better about yourself so that you exude more confidence? To be healthy or to not go blind from type 2 diabetes? These motivational drivers will make the pain of going to thy gym much smaller than the pain of not achieving your goals. When you have admitted to your true motivations, going to the gym becomes much easier. Knowing your true purpose for training will help you push through difficult exercises and challenging sets, because your desire for change becomes more powerful than the challenges in front of you.

When exercising we must push ourselves. Exercise needs to challenge the body in order to stimulate physiological change. This can be uncomfortable. Sometimes this can make our muscles feel downright painful. But this is the sweet pain of change. This is the discomfort of changing your body for the better. This is the sweet struggle that is a sign you are reaching for a higher goal. Know that any change is worth a little pain, a little discomfort, and a little struggle.

If you are not in touch with your true motivations I suggest you pull out a notepad and write. For starters, write about your goals and why you want to change. To go deeper, write down the worst 5 things that will happen if you do not change. What will the next 5 years look like for you if you do not change? How will you feel? What will your relationships look like? Then write down the best things that could happen if you change now. What will the next 5 years look like if you do change?  Take your time, and go deep. The stronger connections you have with your emotional motivations, the more resolved you will be create a change.

Stay Strong, Team.

Written by Clark Masterson

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