Motivate yourself to exercise

When schedules are overloaded with too many responsibilities, chores and tasks, it can become daunting to add exercise to the daily routine.

by Matt Schoeneberger — 

Exercise can be boring, and living a healthy lifestyle requires motivation. It’s easy to slip into a cycle of laziness and gluttony, which means your health is not the priority it should be. When schedules are overloaded with too many responsibilities, chores and tasks, it can become daunting to add exercise to the daily routine. We know we feel better when we exercise, but that alone is rarely enough to get us to the gym after a stressful, tiring day.

What if there were a cure for this motivation problem? In fact, there is; it just takes an adjustment in the way we approach exercise.

Exercise is the modern-day replacement of survival activities of the past. We know we need it, but many of us have no real desire to carry it out. Health alone is rarely a motivator.

We often admire sports figures. We devote chunks of time and energy to our fanaticism, while letting our own athleticism slip away. This is our mistake, our wrong turn on the path to health and happiness. We stop playing.

The excitement we feel when watching one of our favorite sports teams or athletes compete is tame compared to the feeling of our own involvement in competition, even though many of us haven’t competed much since childhood. We can get that exhilarated feeling back: the butterflies prior to competition, the level of unparalleled focus, and the feeling of satisfaction after playing your hardest and knowing you performed to the best of your ability.

These feelings of accomplishment and involvement are important for health and happiness. The athlete inside of us demands increased performance each time we compete, and this is our new motivation, our source of drive.

Training involves a focus, a drive and a desire that is fueled by the need for performance and victory. Training allows you to achieve feats you never thought possible and acquire a new level of confidence that carries over to all aspects of your life. Our natural competitiveness makes getting to the gym after a stressful, tiresome day a no-brainer, a non-decision.

There are recreational leagues for many sports and many age groups. If we feel we’re not in shape to begin playing in a local league, our time in the gym should be focused on regaining the athleticism needed to compete at the most basic level. Once able to join the games, our training focus shifts to increasing performance for our sport and position. Remember, we’re athletes. We train. Get to it.


Matt Schoeneberger, B.A., C.P.T., is a NASM-certified personal trainer and co-owner of L.E.A.N. Wellness Center in Mesa, Ariz. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in exercise science and health promotion with a focus in rehabilitation. 480-200-4206, or

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 28, Number 2, Apr/May 2009.

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