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  • Writer's pictureCarl McCoy

When You Don't Feel Like Going to the Gym

Updated: Jul 25, 2019

I almost never want to go to the gym, but I love being there. And I love the feeling of accomplishment and calm after a tough workout. I try and go five days a week, because it’s the best thing I do for myself, but almost every day, it’s like an inner battle between two voices: stay or go. I don’t think I’m alone in this struggle – I don’t know why we resist the things that are so good for us. Eating a carton of ice cream or downing an entire pizza – that’s easy. But going to the gym, not so much. Here are some strategies that have been helpful for me.

1. Winning Streaks

I find that if I’ve been to the gym four days in a row, then it’s really likely that I’ll be there on day five. The momentum helps. That’s why I do better with five days per week, instead of every other day. Even if I just show up and do twenty minutes of H.I.I.T., that still counts, and it keeps the winning streak alive. My wife introduced me to a really great app, called “Habit List,” which is very simple, but brilliant. It allows you to keep track of winning streaks in your daily habits.

2. Rewards

In his classic self-empowerment book, “Awaken the Giant Within,” Tony Robbins talks a lot about the basic choice we all make between pleasure and pain, and how it’s important to associate good habits with pleasure, and bad habits with pain. So, I try and create an association between working out and doing something pleasurable, like drinking a protein smoothie. I make these awesome strawberry-banana protein shakes for myself, and I always tell myself: “You can have a smoothie, if you do your workout.” It’s like Pavlovian conditioning, and it actually works. If you doubt me, it’s because you haven’t tried my protein shake.

3. Inspiration

Eric Thomas is one of the most naturally gifted motivational speakers alive today, and it’s almost impossible to listen to his talks without making some real change in your life. Check out his spoken album, “Dr. Thomas” for some pure passion and tough truth on the road to personal growth, especially “Beast Mode” and “I Got Tired.” Work out while listening to Dr. Thomas, and you'll kick some serious ass.

And of course, you can’t talk about inspiration without talking about Les Brown, the king of contemporary motivational speaking. Watch his speech, “It’s Not Over Until You Win” on You Tube, to see one of the greatest speakers of our time doing his thing, in his prime at the Georgia Dome, in Atlanta in 1996. He takes public speaking to a whole different level here. Check out this speech, and you will be in the gym shortly thereafter.

4. Bargaining

I find that you can trick yourself into going to the gym, sometimes. You can tell yourself: “Okay, just show up there, and do like 3 machines, and leave. 10 minutes. That’s all I’m asking, and then you can leave.” And then you get there, and you work through those 3 machines, and then you’re in the groove, so it’s like, “Hey, why don’t I do a couple more machines, while I’m here? And next thing you know, it’s an hour later and you’re dripping with sweat, and you feel amazing.” And so, you’ve outsmarted yourself – you’ve tricked yourself into doing something nice for yourself.

5. Getting Enough Sleep

I don’t know why we have this macho thing in our culture where it’s so cool not to get enough sleep. If that works for you, great. But I need sleep. I came across this great article in Muscle & Fitness magazine, talking about actor Henry Cavill’s training program for the 2013 movie, “Man of Steel,” and I thought it was pretty cool how his personal trainer, Mark Twight, demanded that he get enough sleep as part of his program. Here's the quote from the article:

“But before the design of a training and nutrition program could even begin, Twight laid down the central rule of the prep period, the specifics of which he refused to negotiate: Cavill needed to get nine to 10 hours of sleep every night for the next five months, no exceptions….It’s like, ‘Hey, guy, you want to be f—king Superman? Then do this one other thing, which might be the most important piece of it,’ Twight says. ‘If you don’t get the sleep, if you can’t recover, then we can’t continue with this training and we won’t achieve the objective. The predatory effect that a lack of sleep has on the rest of the work you do is shockingly powerful. The HGH and testosterone secretion that happens during these deep-sleep cycles is super-important.’”

- Muscle & Fitness Magazine, "Man of Steel: How Henry Cavill Got Superhero-shredded"

So, if you ever think that “sleep is for wimps,” just remember that frickin’ Superman is getting 9-10 hours per night. Why aren’t you getting at least 8 hours?

Okay, that's enough talk for now. I have to stop blogging, and actually hit the gym. Until next time.

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