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  • Evan McDaniel, CSCS

Your Willpower is Useless

If you only workout when life is perfect or your willpower and motivation are high I can guarantee your results will never be what you want.

You see, motivation and willpower are in the mental world. Results live in the physical world. Everything is great when life is perfect and you have not only the motivation to workout consistently but also the willpower to do so. These two factors do vary from person to person but generally the people who stick to programs longer have more than two mental factors holding them accountable. Several other factors can come into play and the ones based in the real world will help keep you accountable much longer. Things like working out with a trainer, or working out with a friend. These are two reason our bootcamp is trainer lead and in small groups. Real world factors to help keep you going on those days you truly want to stay in bed. Since motivation and willpower are in the mental world they can go up and down faster than you could possibly imagine. If you have a ton of coffee you might feel really motivated to workout. If you are well fed you might have a lot of energy to workout. If those two things are not in a good balance you might not have enough energy to walk up a flight of stairs let alone do 25 burpees.

The moral of this story is to make sure that you are grounding your program in the real world. Not just leaving your exercise routine up to when you feel great or get off work on time or are super motivated due to the Rocky movie you just watched last night. So if you find yourself struggling with starting and stopping consistently and never seeing results take a look at your real world anchors like working out with a trainer, working out with your friends or dialing in your diet to make sure you have enough energy to tackle some short but challenging workouts several days per week.

You can find all sorts of garbage advice about creating habits and it only taking 21 days. I have been at this fitness gig for a very long time now and can tell you that at this point I am not certain I believe in habits or not. Hear me out here. I have seen people workout 5-6 days per week for two or three years straight and then disappear only to see them on social media not working out at all. I understand that life gets in the way but as easily as a habit can be created a habit can be broken. These people are more than likely riding a high of motivation, albeit a longer high than most experience. Riding a motivational high can get you going easily as one workout can spawn interest in more. But just telling yourself to stick with it for 21 days and then it will all be rainbows and fairy tails is a crock.

And when you find that motivation or willpower going downhill like a run away freight train enlist a friend to help get you back on track. I am certain that you all have a friend who could use a little push just like you can from time to time. Be their motivation when the mornings are dark and cold. On those bad days for you then you can lean on them and help get through it together.

If you need a workout partner, we are always here to help! Email with any questions at all.