Motivation is a Myth

You know what really grinds my gears?


It's not something people should be concerned about when it comes to exercise. I never mention it in training sessions, I never worry about it myself, and the only time it comes up in conversation is when I tell people to ignore it.

And yet despite Motivation having nothing to do with progress, the fitness industry seems inundated with ads and products and this and that, all promising to KEEP YOU MOTIVATED! I understand why this happens. Training is hard, and it requires a lot sometimes to get up and do it. Some days you are tired and worn out. Some days you've had a terrible day at work, and just don't give a crap anymore. This happens to everyone. And so in these moments we look to....Motivation! We look to that area of our psyche that keeps us going towards the things we want. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is dead wrong.

Have you ever seen someone working out like this? Me neither.

I don't know where the idea came from that fitness is supposed to be fun, or is something that everyone enjoys. It's not by a long shot. Successful training involves doing the same things over and over again, and they are always hard and never get easier. Sounds tempting right? It takes a certain kind of someone to keep their head down, and keep working even through the hard times. But this idea that training only happens when you are "in the mood" is nonsense at best, and detrimental in most cases. This idea that Motivation must be high before training can occur implies that when it wanes, the loss must be rectified before training can continue. In other words, wait until you feel like it. Allow me to apply the same logic to another similar endeavor; going to work.

What if you only went into work when you were Motivated? What if you woke up in the morning, discovered that you weren't in the mood to go into work that day, and so scoured the internet for pics and quotes to get you fired up about your commute? You'd never go. That's because sometimes work can really suck. Bosses can be mean, traffic can be awful, and sometimes the tasks at hand are boring and soul sucking. And yet we go, every day for years and years. How is it that we can make this happen in the working world, and yet in fitness we think we always have to be Motivated?

So if Motivation isn't real (at least not in fitness) how do people overcome the slog and stick to it even when times are tough? You just do it. The same way you go to work when you don't want to. You must do it, so you do it, and you make a habit of it. Training is not something you do, it is a part of you. You would never forget to eat for a week, or skip work for a month. Training is the work for your body, and work that needs to be done whether you're in the mood or not.

"Motivation" isn't real, and you don't need it. You've had it in you all along. There is no spoon.