2004/05 clients used to ask me and my staff how to stay on the elliptical/treadmill/stepmill/bike for cardio when you want to get off. I’d say, “when you’re ready to quit, pinch two spots on your body you wanted to get rid of all the fat, and ask yourself, ‘is there still some left?’.” It’s a little silly but a profoundly effective tool once you’re regularly at the gym, working steps, etc. You may be thinking, however, “how do I keep going, as in showing up?” Pinch-pinch may help when you’re asking yourself, “should I forgo food X, go for a run, go and lift, etc.?” But it’s probably not enough on its own. Add three other tricks:
1.) double dip - the average American spends an almost unbelievable amount of hours on media per day. Some estimates place it around 12 hours, between tv, radio, and online media. You may be at the low end, like 2-3 hours. That can be done while on a stationary bike, treadmill, etc. It’s interesting that as coaching clients integrate this, they end up spending less time altogether on screens and end up emotionally more stable. In some cases, that’s the only time they’re camped out on an iPad or phone.
2.) get perspective - watch this before, during or after a workout effort:
When you take the time to genuinely compare someone with real restrictions and challenges to your excuses you hold up, it is rather sobering. Some may call it motivation. Some may call it inspiration. If a guy who died on the operating table 3 times can go for world record lifts, you can show up to sweat a little.
Moreover, whatever else it is you may be aiming to do in life, CT Fletcher never fails to put some perspective on effort and drive.
3.) remember that “doing” precedes “energy” - Simply sitting for 20 minutes raises insulin resistance in all people. This means cells in your body are literally less capable of obtaining mitochondrial fuel when sedentary for short periods. Trying to evaluate whether you have the “energy” for a workout while inactive makes about as much sense as awaiting a paycheck to begin going to work. The equation is precisely inverted.
This one is tough. So place Post-It notes around the house if need be. Your intuition will direly mislead you on this one. Start by doing. THEN the energy comes. People with the worst sleep and energy issues are the ones who “rest” in a chair all day. Your body is 100% dead wrong on this one. No more inaction required. Go. Do. Move. THEN receive the stimulus to exercise. Show up for work. Do the work. THEN receive the paycheck.
Sitting and waiting for enough energy cannot physiologically work. But people get so good and skilled at avoiding effort that they even continue sitting still when a flood of nervous or anxious energy hits. Go burn it off. Don’t hide in a corner. In fact, a friend of mine and I were talking this week about how we’ve both utilized 24 hour gyms to burn off anxious energy at 1am. Some of the best-feeling days of our lives were when I had so much on my plate I “couldn’t sleep.” We’d go do sprints in the middle of the night and then sleep like a baby afterward. People will report having incredible exploding energy when they should be sleeping. Of course you do. You refused to move the human body during the waking hours. It needs to move. So go do so. Re-right your circadian rhythm. Don’t lie there with head pounding and suffering dread.
Pinch-pinch may help. But double-dip, perspective, and the reminder that “do” precedes “energy” are how you’ll keep going.