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Ask the Trainer: Getting the Right Mindset for Your Workout

By Billy Locke
Published: Friday, February 27, 2009, at 10:40AM
Billy Locke

Billy Locke

It is so nice to hear how people are incorporating exercise into their daily lives. Thank you for writing in to askthetrainer@blogdowntown.com with your workout glory stories. I would also welcome people writing in to discuss their difficulties with adopting a regular workout routine. That's the topic we deal with this week. How do you create the motivation necessary to maintain a workout?

Trainer Tip of the Week

This week’s question comes from Don, who wrote in and asked, “What can I do to stay motivated? I hate working out…it’s boring.”

I love this question because motivation is the springboard for everything. I have been grappling with this issue for my entire personal training career. How do I motivate my clients to maintain consistency in the their workouts, with or without me? As a result, I have come up with a number of motivational anecdotes that will help the most exercise challenged.

Anecdotes to Motivate:

First, look at working out as more than working out. Instead, consider it caring for yourself. After all, you only care for the things that you love the most.

For example, I knew this guy named, let’s say Joe, who loved Harley Davidson motorcycles. Joe would build them from scratch. Buying only the best and most expensive parts. He would invest easily 80 to 100 grand in each bike and worked on them for hours every day after work. Harleys were his hobby and passion.

Joe was horribly overweight, borderline hypertensive, diabetic and had high cholesterol. He never worked out and epitomizes my statement of caring for only the things that you love.

Then there is Mary, who obsessed over cleaning her home. Not a spec of dust or a pillow was out of place. Once again, Mary never worked out and was obese with a number of medical conditions. The summary of these stories is that these two people invested their good time and energy in what they valued most and ignored their health. Care for yourself because there is no more important investment of your time than working out to preserve your health.

Another good example of motivation is told to us by the flight attendant every time we fly. They tell passengers flying with small children to attend to themselves first before putting the oxygen mask on their child. The point is that you cannot effectively help your child if you are unconscious.

The same is true of your health. You cannot effectively take care of your children, go to work or be there for a friend when you are sick. You realize how important your health is when you lose it. At that point you will do anything to get it back.

A recently published study said that Americans spend more of their money on health in the last five years of their life than they do their entire life. This is attributed to the fact that we do little to preserve our good health when we are well and we throw our life's savings at it when we get sick.

And then there is our friendly neighborhood doctor, charged with caring for our health. The funny thing is that we do not go to see doctors when we are healthy, only when we are sick. Modern medicine is not designed to keep us healthy, instead it is set up to treat people who are sick and suffer from disease. If more people practiced preventative maintaince and the medical establishment turned more attention toward fitness and wellness, fewer people would get sick and need to go to the doctor. When this happens we won’t be spending our hard earned money on cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes and antacids medications - or $2.5 trillion annually as a nation for healthcare.

The last (but not least) motivational tip, relates to the notion that being truly happy is directly proportionate to your health not the amount of material possessions, job or job title, wealth, etc, you have obtained. Happiness depends largely on the state of your mental and physical health, period. I like to say, “Happiness is the product of how well we care for ourselves.” If you truly want to be happy start incorporating these components into your life on a daily basis:

  • Workout (see February 13 & 20 Ask the Trainer)
  • Eat good tasting nutrient dense foods plus take a food based multivitamin daily
  • Drink at least two liters of water a day
  • Get adequate amounts of sleep
  • Practice daily meditative breathing

Motivation is in the doing. Don’t wait for it to come to you. 9 times out of 10 it will not.

I like to equate it to walking. If you have a goal to achieve, all you need to do is walk your way there, one step at a time. It's no different than how you walk yourself to your kitchen everyday. All you have to do is know what you want (the goal), figure out the steps to get there, and then do it. Just like the good old Nike slogan, “Just Do It.” Motivation is in the doing.

Downtown Exercise Spots

To test your newly formed motivational foundation, try hitting one of these local spots and workout until your heart’s content.

Pilates Plus Downtown LA / 845 South Broadway / 213.746.9021 / May 2008 blogdowntown Writeup

The Nine Mixed Martial Arts & Fitness Studio / 1335 South Flower Street / Across from the Convention Center

Check back next Friday as we continue to spotlight more workout spots Downtown and we’ll answer another email from askthetrainer@blogdowntown.com.

Til next time—Exercise More, Play Hard, Work Smart.

Billy Locke


Extreme Natural Fitness Trainer

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