Friday, November 1, 2013

High-Five Yourself. You Just Got Out Of Bed.

Even cougars need a little motivation sometimes.
I was thinking the other day - maybe a little too much. I was thinking that pretty much every tiny thing we do each and every day requires some sort of motivation. Am I right? If we couldn't motivate ourselves to take care of our daily shit the entire world would be populated by a bunch of couch slacking losers. Really.

EVERYTHING we do - every simple, boring, stressful, easy, stupid, big, small, tedious, difficult or fun task requires us to get off our asses to do.  Ok... with the exception of activities which we literally have to sit on our asses to do and may not have total control over like, well, pooping. Yeah. I said that. Pooping. That shit is controlled by its own processes. Literally. The only motivation you need is to find a toilet.

But really, when it comes down to it even dragging your ass out of bed in the morning requires some level of motivation. Some of us are better at this than others but I have yet to meet a person who hasn't dragged their ass out of bed. No really. It's pretty much like everyone I see every day has achieved the goal of dragging their ass out of bed at some point during that day. Right? I don't doubt that there are probably people who hit the snooze button ten or twelve times or who still have yet to drag their ass out of bed, but if people like that exist then I probably haven't met them because their ass is still in bed. Follow? And I've met a lot of people... soooo...

I was thinking... what if we applied the drag-your-ass-outa-bed-motivational-theory to other things in life? We could achieve so much!! In fact, it would be hard NOT to achieve every single goal we have some reasonable control over. Fitness and athletic goals are prime for this theory. Why? Because they involve a personal choice about something we have the power to control. What we do with our bodies. How we move. How we train. How we eat.

For those of us who have managed to escape the seductive post alarm lure (or for some of us post snooze alarm lure) of a pre-warmed bed we should high-five ourselves. I just did.

But in order to implement the drag-your-ass-outa-bed-motivational-theory to our fitness and athletic goals its important to find out what exactly motivates us to do anything. Understanding what motivates us might help us achieve our goals. Then maybe we can apply this to other aspects of our life.

So what is it exactly that motivates you to get your ass out of bed in the morning? Is it a reward? Is it a fear? Is it because the person next to you just kicked your ass out of bed? If you just got kicked out of bed you need some serious internal motivation, man. Do me a favor. Work on that. You might need medication.

I can say that, for me, coffee usually lures me out of bed in the morning. So does the thought (or smell) of bacon for breakfast, or because I have to pee, or because if I don't get out of bed a little someone will probably be screaming "MOM!" or lifting my eyelids with their crusted oatmeal fingers to see if I'm awake. Frankly, I'd rather not have to deal with oatmeal bits in my eye at 7am so yeah... maybe I fear oatmeal encrusted eyeballs and that's why I get my ass out of bed. But in the end one final fact remains: I GET MY ASS OUT OF BED. EVERY SINGLE FUCKING DAY.

Amazing.

So maybe you just discovered that there's a cute chick or totally hot guy who works at the cafe that happens to be at the end of your running route. Or maybe there's a rock that's perfect for climbing or jumping off into a river along the trail. Or maybe you just found the perfect mix of music to run or hike to. You just found a little motivation. But, let's face it. Even the most committed of us go through cycles where we have little to no motivation. So how do we find the motivation to run, or train, or even eat better day in and day out?

Here are a few things that help me stay motivated especially when I was training for my 100 miler.


  1. Make yourself a priority - Moms, I know this one feels like a bottomless pit of impossibility but hear me out. If you don't make yourself a priority nobody else will. Period. Understand that sometimes in order to be a good mom or spouse or significant other you need to fulfill your passion. Your passion and achieving your goals are what make you awesome. If you neglect that part of you it will be obvious to those around you. Bitterness is not sexy nor is it nurturing. Find a balance but make sure to stoke your own fiyah!
  2. Get together with people - Friends who share our passions or train the way we do keep us accountable and are fun to hang out with. It's one of the reasons I love The Ranch Athletics so much. The people there are like my family. They train the way I do and they push themselves hard. Sometimes all I need is to see someone else digging deep to be inspired. Find people who like to push themselves and train with them. Support and encourage each other. Celebrate each other's accomplishments.
  3. Give yourself permission to take it easy - Don't feel like going for a run? Think you're too sore for training? Are you making stupid excuses? Something is better than nothing. Get off your ass and go do it, but tell yourself it's just going to be a light day. Whenever I do this I almost always end up pushing myself anyway, but there are times when I don't. That's OK too. Getting off my ass and DOING is far better than not getting off my ass at all. Even a day dedicated to foam rolling, flexibility, and mobility work is a day well spent in my opinion.
  4. Continually remind yourself of your goal - I had to remind myself that every time I pushed myself just a little bit harder during my training or running it was going to make running 100 miles just a little bit easier. There were times my coaches would scream "100 miles!!" during a workout and it would help me focus and push a little harder. There were also times I had to remind myself that I would rather run a hundred miles than do 300 fucking burpees. Burpees suck.
  5. DON'T GIVE UP - Maybe your current motivation isn't working anymore. Change it up. You love to run trails but don't feel like running? Find a local coffee shop or breakfast place to run to then stop in for your favorite cup of coffee or meet your family there for breakfast.
  6. Monitor your negative thinking - Ok. Three words. KILL. THE. BITCH. She doesn't belong in your head and she WILL take you down. Your negative thoughts DO affect your performance AND your motivation. Trust me. I have experience with this. If you want to achieve something you have to convince yourself you can and then shut the negative thinking the fuck up. You have to be your own ultra peppy cheerleader in your own head during training because that's the only cheering section that will get your ass motivated and make you work hard.
  7. Reward yourself with ritual - I live for a long hot bath after every hard workout. Not only is it good for my muscles, but it's so rewarding after a hard training session. Looking forward to the post hard work reward is often my biggest motivation. Be sure the reward won't sabotage your hard work though. For example, I've replaced post workout beer carbs with my hot baths. I would also suggest you not include and entire package of oreos as your post training reward. That's just fucking gluttony. Don't be stupid.
  8. Know the difference between true burnout and laziness - Motivation comes and goes. Sometimes we burn out and need to take a break. Recognize the difference between true burnout and laziness. True burnout or over training is when we've worked our asses off so much that we've lost interest, motivation and depleted our bodies of important resources. You might feel lethargic or fatigued or lack strength. You might even be turning down sex (GASP!!) or struggle with insomnia. Often times that's our body's way of saying "Yo Bro!!! Simmer down with the training now!" Learn to balance your training with deload weeks or days off to get your body and mind back in balance so burnout doesn't happen and you can consistently stay motivated.
Above all, be honest with yourself and don't cheat yourself. If you're making shitty excuses every single day to not get off your ass and run or bike or train or do whatever it is you love doing to stay fit then reconsider your passion. Find that thing that makes you love living and get off your ass and do it.
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