How to Stay Motivated When Working Out and How it Translates to Business
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A question I see all the time is: “How do I stay motivated enough to work out consistently?”
This issue is often dismissed, but it is a very real problem for some. I like to say that it’s one part mindset and another part metabolism. If you aren’t mentally focused on self-improvement and health, you won’t feel like working out continuously is necessary. Likewise, if your body is lethargic and slow due to poor diet and (no surprise!) lack of exercise, you are not going to feel in the mood to work out.
There are some simple things you can do to fix these issues however. If you have a problem with staying motivated, don’t fall for the idea that it’s just your personality or “who you are.” The drive to perform strenuous physical activity is specifically regulated by certain parts of your brain and is intimately tied with your metabolism and overall health. Laziness is not hard-wired in your persona.
In fact, at the end of the day, we’re animals. We’re built specifically for continuous physical activity, and in this state we thrive.
Stay Motivated by Starting Small
If the idea of hour-long workout sessions makes you roll your eyes, this technique might be the jump start you need. I’m sure you’ve heard of various work-out programs and yoga systems that are predicated on “15 minute blasts” and the like. We live busy lives and often our health is what gets put on the chopping block first to keep up with the demands of jobs, friends, children, and so on.
The truth is however, you can do a lot with a short amount of time when it comes to exercise. It would be very wrong to believe that in order to see results you have to put in marathon gym sessions. Actually, many people that do this are the types that never give their muscles time to heal and are just wearing out their joints, are prone to sports injuries, and are constantly plateauing.
Don’t be those guys.
We’re not necessarily interested in “gains” right now anyway. You’re looking for a way to stay motivated, and you do that by giving your metabolism a kick in the ass.
This is a nearly foolproof technique for generating motivation and getting your metabolism in a healthy state.
- As soon as you wake up and your morning bathroom routine is out of the way, drink a 16oz glass of water, preferably room temperature.
- Perform a basic hamstring stretch, and stretch your biceps and triceps as well. This should only take a minute or two.
- Do 5 sets of 10 pushups and squats, in any order or combination, just keep all 10 sets under 5 minutes or so.
- Perform the Yoga Butterfly Stretch for approximately 3 – 5 minutes, making sure to keep your spine straight while breathing deeply and evenly through your nose.
- Perform the Yoga Plank Pose for roughly a minute.
- Finish with either 5 more sets of pushups or 5 more sets of squats. When I use this routine I alternate from day to day.
- Within 20 minutes of this workout, eat a solid healthy meal (preferably plant-based) to start your day, along with another 16oz glass of water.
This routine isn’t for gains, it’s not meant to do some kind of “trick” for your muscles to grow faster, it’s not even really the best cardio. What it is great at, however, is strengthening metabolism.
This combination of actions and exercises don’t seem like a lot, but every one of them has its purpose.
Drinking water as soon as you wake up, for instance, is like an “on” button for your digestive track. It hydrates you after fasting all night, and tells your body “now is the time to be active.” It’s important to drink water before ingesting any food.
Pushups and Squats are also simple yet important. Both are exercises that some people shy away from, even though they are considered basic. They are both excellent for stimulating the body, are easy to perform, have great benefits if performed over time, and force your body into positions that “sedentary” people often don’t go in. This is one of the reasons why their metabolisms slow in the first place, because they never shift their body weight or strain themselves in any way.
The Butterfly Stretch opens the hips, stimulates the core, groin, legs, and back, promotes good posture and deep breathing, and is a great compliment to squats. It is an exercise everyone should be doing, even if you don’t practice yoga. Similarly, the plank pose acts as a great exercise for mental focus, core strengthening, and a jolt to your metabolism. Depending on what your workout goals are, they can be more effective than pushups in many instances.
It’s the little things that make this routine effective for jump-starting your metabolism and in turn, your motivation. Spinal alignment, deep breathing, core stimulation, and mental focus.
The Link Between Your Physical and Professional Motivation
Nearly every successful entrepreneur and business owner I know works out, and ALL of the happy ones do. Why is that?
It’s simple: physical activity is a baked into what we are. Very few animals on this planet evolved with lethargy in mind. In rare cases, this did come to pass (see: sloths), but for us, this is not the case. We are a very limber, high-metabolic species that in the wild would spend most waking hours performing some kind of strenuous physical activity, be it climbing trees, running through fields, having sex, or at the very least, not sitting on couches watching whatever happens to be on TV.
You don’t “get motivated” to work out, you work out to get motivated. That’s an important distinction.
I always hear people say things like, “I don’t have the motivation to go to the gym.” Well duh. If you aren’t already working out on a regular basis, that’s because you don’t have motivation period.
You need to start small and just do it. Motivation isn’t something you cultivate and then magically get, and then working out becomes somehow easier. It’s a mindset brought on by healthy bodily function and usage.
The routine above is quick, easy, and effective, which is the perfect combination for dealing with low motivation. If you just get out of bed and do it, you will find that in a few weeks, you will begin to feel the need to do more, not less. This is because your motivation is tied to your metabolism, which is directly controlled by what you eat and how you move. It’s as simple as that, there are no shortcuts.
An important side effect of all this is that you will find your motivation in other pursuits rises as well. As I mentioned above, it’s almost a general rule that happy, successful entrepreneurs and “do-ers” work out on a regular basis. Not all, but most. The two lifestyles go hand in hand. Motivation isn’t exactly activity specific. If you feel lethargic and uninspired to act on one thing, chances are many sectors of your life are suffering and you don’t even realize it. Your will to do and your drive to accomplish bleed into all aspects of your life whether you know it or not.
If I’ve learned one thing in all the years I’ve been my own boss, it’s been that the drive to work and work out are intimately connected and are perhaps one in the same thing, even if your “work” consists of giving advice or selling a product over a phone. Your professional life will suffer if you can’t bring yourself to crawl to the gym just to lift a few weights.
In all honesty I think the idea of lugging weights around and using machines scares people away from their own health. It’s not that complicated and it never has to be a chore. If you struggle with finding the motivation to workout in a gym, you’re not crazy. It’s a bunch of artificial activities that are only meant to simulate what we would be doing with our bodies in the wild. Exercises like pushups and squats can be more effective because they stimulate our bodies in a more natural fashion, while also being somewhat more convenient to perform.
But if you are lethargic and don’t feel any drive to lift weights or put your body to the test a gym, how do you think you are mentally performing in your professional life? The only thing holding you back at the gym is your mind, not your body. The amount you lift isn’t nearly as important as the decision to lift.
If you can get past the barrier of physical activity, you’re going to find that other “barriers” in your every day life will clear as well. They are one and the same.
Diet, Metabolism, and Motivation
One last word concerning diet and its link to physical and mental motivation.
Many consider diet an afterthought, or at most, just a means of fueling our bodies with the proper nutrients so we don’t get sick.
These are grossly misinformed perspectives. Our mental health and motivation in life is directly tied to our diets. After all, our cells are constructed out of what we put in our bodies, and our cells are what enable us to do, well, everything. Our muscles, our nerves, our bones: these things are all constructed out of what we put into our mouths with every meal.
So if you are putting processed crap into your body, how do you think it will perform? If your cells are putting themselves together with cheap materials, what do you think the end result will be? Lethargy. Apathy. Tiredness.
It’s like saying you want a Lamborghini but are willing to build one with cheap plastic, duct tape, and string. You’re not going to get very far.
Well, this is what it’s like for our bodies when they are forced to constantly reconstruct our skeletons, muscles, and organs with 3rd rate parts. If your “nutrients” are coming from dead protein bars, dead animals, processed grains, and refined sugars, is it any wonder why your motivation is lacking and it feels like you have leg irons on when you get out of bed?
Eat fruit. I can’t stress this enough. Want to get motivated and feel super-charged? Eat fruit, especially water-dense fruit like oranges, watermelons, cantaloupes, raspberries and pineapple. Add cucumber, celery, and lettuce to this mix and you will be making your body very happy. Why? Because the nutrients in these foods are optimized for our bodies and come equipped with exactly what our bodies need to digest and absorb said nutrients.
If you drink more water, especially when you first wake up, and begin to incorporate more fruit into your diet, you are going to see a change in your energy levels and overall motivation. Guaranteed.
A happy side effect of this is that you will lose weight faster than any nonsensical diet plan ever could, because you will be quickening your metabolism naturally. Slow metabolisms are literally the defining factor in being overweight.
Follow these simple tips and you will see the effect it has on your workout routine and your professional life.