Why?

There have been A LOT of mornings lately where I’ve woken up and asked myself “Why?”“what was I thinking?”, etc.

Most mornings, I simply don’t want to get out of bed. Most mornings I’m seriously questioning my decisions. To train for a winter marathon…to train for a marathon period… to work out 6 days a week…

This isn’t the first time I’ve questioned myself like this though…and the answer is usually the same every time.

WHY?

WHY on God’s green earth would I choose to put myself through this? I have a perfectly good couch to sit on, lots of tv/movies to watch, games to play, and books to read. I don’t need to work out 6 days a week…I CERTAINLY don’t need to train for a freaking MARATHON…in the winter…in half the time people normally train…
Something must be wrong with me.

I mean, how can there NOT be? Every time I reach my goal…every time I achieve a new height…I just push right past and keep going higher.

Shouldn’t I be satisfied?
Shouldn’t we all be satisfied? I have lots of friends who have (I think I said this recently) had some great achievements lately. They’ve lost a ton of weight, they ran their first 5K! Shouldn’t that be it? I mean, they thought they’d never run a 5K…and they finally checked that off the list. WHY are we still going…and pushing…and refusing to be satisfied? Aren’t we done? Pack it up and go home? Did what we came here to do? 
No.

If that were the case, we wouldn’t have cars. Or planes. Or freaking bikes. Walking was enough, why push it and figure out how to go farther, higher, or faster?

We must continue to challenge ourselves. We owe it to ourselves. We deserve more. Why should we settle for mediocrity? If you have the drive, determination, and motivation to get where you are now, why wouldn’t you reach for that next level of achievement?

“Work like there is someone working twenty-four hours a day to take it all away from you” – Mark Cuban

You must be hungry for success. You must believe that you have not yet reached the mountain-top. This is one of those cheesy quotes, but your desire for success must be greater than your fear of failure.

I could go on for days.

The bottom line here is that the moment you stop trying and settle for where you’re at is the moment you have given up. It’s the moment where you forfeit all the hard work you’ve put in and begin to backslide into mediocrity. And y’know what? You deserve more than that. You were meant for more than that.

Always reach higher.

Making It Work – Time Management

There really just aren’t enough hours in the day. Life is busy! We have so many things we need to get done in 24 hours…and it’s just not enough. Work, sleep, eat, meetings, chores, errands, meet up with friends…before you know it you’re overdue on a whole laundry list of things…oh and there’s the laundry too! I have a whole screen of my phone (multiple homescreens) dedicated to my “To Do”. That’s it, right there! That’s not even the whole list…those widgets scroll. I even have to color-code it to keep it all straight. I’m sure some of you can relate.

Bottom line is…how are we supposed to be expected to juggle everything we’ve got going on AND get a workout in? It’s crazy! What if you work a 12 hour day? What if you’ve got the kids to worry about? It just. Doesn’t. WORK.

Well…On this lovely Motivational Monday morning…I’m here to tell you…We have to make it work. “BUT HOW?! I just can’t do it!” Yes. You CAN. And it’s not as daunting as it might seem.

OK… I know what you’re probably thinking.

You’re probably thinking I have no idea how busy you are, how much you have to get done, and  how much this just doesn’t work for you. Well…that’s just the thing. It’s not GOING to work for you. You have to make it work. You have to work. Nothing worthwhile in this world comes easy. Your ideal body is no exception to that rule. It’s never easy adding something else onto your plate, and that goes doubly so for a commitment of this magnitude. Last August, if I knew what this was going to become…300 lb me probably wouldn’t have gone for it. 300 lb me would think 188 lb me was insane.

Baby steps. 


What I find is that most people staring a workout regimen in the face aren’t looking at that big of a picture – they’re looking at day one. Or week one. They’re looking at 45 minutes squeezed into their day, or an hour, an hour and a half, even two hours when all’s said and done getting to the gym, working out, showering, coming home…oh no Darrell…that’s SO much time I don’t have!

That’s the thing…

If that’s the mentality…you probably just don’t want it bad enough yet. I know I know…I don’t know you, I have no idea what you want…

Truth of the matter is, when you want something bad enough, you will move mountains to make it happen. If not, you won’t move very far from the couch. I know plenty of people who say they don’t have time, they’re SO busy…but somehow find time to watch hours and hours of TV each day…(“I Don’t Feel Like It” Syndrome, anyone?)

The important thing to know is: There is ALWAYS a way to make it work.

So, I’ve done a lot of talking but I haven’t told you how yet.

You have to take a good hard look at what you’ve got going on in your life. Look at your daily schedule. You probably have a LOT of free time that you don’t even realize you have! My college fraternity – Delta Chi, has a part of their scholarship program dedicated to Time Management – I’m pulling this directly from that program…because it works. Take a blank weekly schedule like the one below (you can download it from http://www.time-management-abilities.com/printable-planners.html under “advanced planners”:

Fill it out in order of:
1. Work (include travel time and getting ready…be reasonable)
2. Sleep
3. Meals (including cook time)
We’ll pause here. All the remaining time, right now, is “free time”. Yes, I know, you have SO MUCH you need to do…that’s not free time. Well…here’s where the next step comes in…Prioritizing.

Yes, there’s a lot you need to get done. Ok, great. This is the time where you need to decide what is ACTUALLY important. You might surprise yourself. Things like doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping (gotta have food to eat, right?) picking the kids up from school or bringing them to sports/activities/etc are going to be high priorities. Many of these things likely have to happen at a certain time, so that’s going to bump them a little higher up on the priority list as well. All of the other little things you need to get done are probably lower priority items. So, let’s go ahead and put those high priority items on the calendar. So now we have

1. Work | 2. Sleep | 3. Meals | 4. High Priority Items

And the rest is free time. There’s still probably a good bit of free time left each day, right? It might be occurring at strange times, but it’s there. This is the part where you can shimmy a workout in.

Yes, I know…you still have SO MUCH you need to get done. That’s what prioritizing is about. If you’re still reading this, you’ve already decided that getting your health and fitness straightened out is a high enough priority that you can shuffle some lower-priority things around. So, let’s find a convenient place to stick that workout. I like to work out first thing in the morning…energizes me, gives me a boost for my day, gets it out of the way and…frankly…at the end of a long day I’m worn out and there’s a good chance I could lose motivation. I recommend you work out as early as you can. The earlier you work out, the more energy you’ll have and the more successful your workout will be.

So now we’ve got
1. Work | 2. Sleep | 3. Meals | 4. High Priority | 5. Workout | 6. Low Priority

Now you can fit all of those other lower-priority items into your day. Throughout the course of the week, I’m sure there’s enough free time to get everything done that you need to get done. You probably even STILL have some free time left after that! This will even work for the people who work crazy shifts.

Yes, this is not a fool-proof system. There are some people out there who work two jobs, three jobs, are going non-stop, and might not think they have time. Well, these are the people who need to take “make it work” to heart. I know plenty of people who will sacrifice something to make the workout happen. Sleep just a little bit less, get up a little bit earlier, go to bed a little earlier or later, take a little less time to eat, get ready for work a little bit faster…You need to look at your schedule once you’ve gone through the list of work, sleep, meals, and high priority items and think hard about what or how you can shuffle, squeeze or re-arrange to make it work.

I challenge you to stay strong and put the workout into the schedule before the low priority items. The only reason I wouldn’t count the workout as a “high priority item” is because it doesn’t have to happen at a particular time. High priority items should be the kind of thing that either HAS TO happen first, or has to happen at a particular time (such as a doctors appt., or getting to a business before it closes, etc).

I’ve gone through a lot of trial and error getting my schedule to work. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs. Working in a restaurant, my schedule is different week to week…I have to make it work. As I’ve gone through these 5 different programs I’ve done, I’ve gotten a little better at it each time. But, as I get more and more dedicated to my fitness I have to look a little harder at my schedule. I’ve designed an endurance training schedule for my half-marathon run that is pretty involved…I’m juggling a workout program, running, and yoga. I have commitments with Delta Chi, my Masonic Lodge, work, my fiancee, etc etc. I’m making it work. You can too.

In almost every case there is a way to make it work. You just have to find it. If you can’t, reach out to me at Darrell@SoTHISIsFitness.com and I will do my best to help you figure it out. If you find you’re having a hard time keeping your priorities straight (or doing the prioritizing in the first place) or want a community to help keep you accountable and share your struggles, please feel free to join the “So Fit” Family on Facebook. It’s a special community within the “So THIS Is Fitness…” world where we share our successes, seek support during tough days, seek and share advice and keep each other motivated to be and do our best and get to the goal we’re all chasing.

Just remember…

Conquer – The Truth About Motivation

6:20 AM. Only slept about 5 hours. Do I want to work out right now? No. Is it Leg Day again? Yes.

Sh!t. It’s gonna be one of those days.

I would honestly love nothing more right now than to just go back to bed, pretend it’s a rest day, and just relax. I’m tired. I don’t feel like it. Wah. I just lack motivation right now. As I sit here writing an article for my fitness blog. Ironic.

Or is it? How many people out there in fitness land suffer from this exact same issue at LEAST every once in a while? How about every day? How do people motivate themselves to continually plug away at it. Day in and day out. Throwing themselves at a workout, hurling themselves down the pavement, turning on that motor that never seems to run out of gas?

Maybe it’s the knowledge that if we don’t get moving – if we don’t kick-start ourselves – we’ll regret it later. This is a post both for the fitness freaks and the workout newbies. Why? Because we all fight the Siren‘s Call of our pillow, of the couch, of anything that ISN’T our running shoes, dumbbells, bike…or otherwise sweat-related item.

In my last post (Defeating Demotivators #1 – The Fear Monster) I mentioned that for newbies or pre-newbies suffering from The Fear Monster being surrounded by positivity and encouragement was key to getting them to stick with it. I said it was incredibly important to be gentle. What about for those of us who are already hardcore into fitness? Or who have broken past the fear barrier and do work?

 We reach a point where “gentle” doesn’t WORK anymore.

Sometimes a soft nudge doesn’t do it anymore. Let’s be real – if you’re that guy on the lookout for people who can’t get the courage to work out, if you’re the person helping others…and YOU can’t get yourself to the gym / road / mat / etc…maybe a shove is more like it.

Or maybe it’s not.

What really motivates people?

I am not a psychologist, but there is a real psychological science to motivation. This, above, is called Maslow’s Hierarcy of Needs (created by Abraham Maslow – an American Psychologist). It breaks down the structure of people’s motivation. It’s not designed around fitness, but we can definitely apply it for our purposes. People work out for different reasons, and I would say these reasons all fall into the top four parts of the pyramid. Moving forward, an important principle of this hierarchy is to understand that Maslow said people will be more motivated to fulfill lower-order needs before higher-order ones – we’ll also assume that you’re properly fed, hydrated and rested so we can ignore the bottom tier (I’m REALLY simplifying this).

Safety Needs – This is INTENDED to talk about people taking care of their own personal safety and security – ensuring they are not in immediate danger. Makes sense, right? Tough to paint a picture if someone’s pointing a gun at your head. That’s the idea here. Let’s adapt this tier for fitness.

This is where people who have a dire health issue from lack of fitness/nutrition get their motivation. When your doctor looks you in the face and tells you that you’re so overweight you’re going to get diabetes and potentially lose your sight or your foot…well I think that’s enough motivation to get to the gym, don’t you? These people generally don’t need much more of a kick in the pants than that. I was not quite that large, so this wasn’t enough for me.

Belongingness and Love Needs – This is people’s need for friends, intimate relationships, love, etc. We are social creatures, and once we’ve taken care of the basic “survival” needs of food/water/rest and the safety need of not being in immediate danger we move on to the need for other people.

This is one of the biggest motivators out there. This is why Crossfit is so successful. This is why so many people can’t get off their butts and do work without a workout partner. People need people. So many people can’t/won’t do it for themselves, but if they can become accepted and part of a community…we have found the key to the kingdom. Crossfit (from my outsider perspective) is a community of people helping each other and kicking each other’s butts into gear. People like to be a part of something. That’s why people join clubs in school. If you know the other guy is going to give you a whole world of hassle for not showing up at the gym today, YOU’RE GONNA GO. People who feel they are physically unattractive and want to be able to land a girlfriend/boyfriend would also fall into this category, but I am inclined to think most people who feel they are physically unattractive fall into the next tier.

Esteem Needs – This tier is about people who have met the basic survival needs, who feel like they belong and have their people-needs met (for the most part, at least) and can focus on themselves. They can make themselves feel better. They can focus on their own self-esteem.

These are the people who are not happy with the picture in the mirror. These are the people who want that ripped six-pack and are tired of the gut. The people who want to accomplish something. These people sometimes need the MOST motivation of all, because in general…they’re pretty satisfied. I’m pretty sure I fall into this category. The health issue wasn’t enough for me, I was already in a committed relationship and had friends and family all around me, so I know it wasn’t the other two tiers. So how do I know I’m not the next tier? There are days when I’m just not feeling it. I don’t WANNA. I’ll be bold and say that these are the people who, when they don’t get off their butts, need a swift kick in the tail to get moving. These are the people who can do it, who usually want to do it, and generally are doing it – for themselves. When you’re not doing it for someone else, for acceptance, for belonging…it’s easy to skip a day. When you’re the only one holding you accountable you’re more inclined to cut yourself some slack. It’s OK…you’ve been working hard. You deserve a break. I won’t tell the boss.

GARBAGE.

Get up. GET OUT. And do work.  You’re not going to feel TRULY FULFILLED unless you go do that workout! Run that 5 miler. Whatever it is, it’s for you. Make you happy. Because, really…

Your excuse is invalid.
Self-Actualization – This tier is my favorite. The whole rest of the pyramid has been “extrinsic” motivation – people getting their motivation from outside sources. Something is pushing them to do their workout. People who are in the self-actualization tier are doing it from a completely intrinsic motivation. 

These people love to work out. They are doing it for the sheer joy of it. They’re trying to reach their full potential. They’re trying to make their masterpiece. They don’t need a self-esteem boost – they’re already awesome. They don’t need acceptance. They’re not facing a health risk. These are the “obsessed nutballs” who do an hour workout, run 5 miles in record time then come back and DO ANOTHER WORKOUT. They are climbing Mt. Freaking Everest and loving every minute of it. If you are one of these people, congratulations my friend – 
You have reached the mountaintop.
I HOPE that I get to this point. Yes, I really enjoy the workout program I’m doing right now. Body Beast is freaking AWESOME. It is, however, still work. And work sucks. For the “obsessed nutballs”, workouts are not work at all. They are fun. They are playtime. They are recreation.
Whatever tier you fall into, whatever it is that motivates you…one thing holds true for everyone:
You need to get out there and DO IT. 
Be healthy. Be accepted. Be happy. Be awesome.  
 Take today by the balls and own it.