Like Brushing Your Teeth


Someone asked me recently how I stay "motivated" to workout all the time. From inside my bubble of people who workout day in and day out as a matter of routine, it struck me as such an odd question. It got me thinking for days on end... Why do I workout almost every day? MOTIVATION?


Gym Motivation is a huge industry, a sub-category on Pinterest full of black and white images of fitness models overlaid with tired old quotes like

Pain is weakness leaving the body

Don't wish for it. Work for it.

Champions are not born. They are made.

Maybe I'm old and cynical, but none of that is getting me amped up. My mirror isn't plastered with magazine cutouts of girls I want to look like and the background on my phone doesn't remind me "When you feel like quitting, remember why you started". Frankly I think that's all ridiculous and doomed to failure. Motivation is fleeting. It's the stuff of enthusiastic New Year's Resolutions that fizzle and die before January is over. DISCIPLINE?


Ok. So perhaps it's not "motivation", but discipline that has made fitness part of my life for more than a decade. A quick google search of the definition of discipline yields:

"the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of

behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience."

That doesn't feel like it captures my attitude towards fitness either. The word invokes a daily suffering, or at least something I'm doing to avoid punishment. So discipline isn't it either. ROUTINE

Fitness is as much a part of my daily life as is brushing my teeth or having a shower. I don't have to get motivated to do those things and I wouldn't even put them in the category of something that requires discipline. Asking "how do you stay motivated to workout all the time?" sounds as absurd as asking "how do you stay motivated to brush your teeth every day?". I don't know. I just do. Having a shower, brushing your teeth, tidying your house, and doing some fitness are all just regular parts of adulting - maintaining your physical body and your physical environment because you are not a dirtbag. Maybe a day goes by where you stay in your pajamas and don't shower, but you certainly wouldn't let that go on for days (or weeks, or years) on end. Working out provides that bit of satisfaction in the same way that having a shower makes me feel fresh and clean. I feel better when it's done. There's some positive reinforcement I suppose, but the option of not doing it is so far gone that it doesn't even enter my brain as a possibility. If fitness isn't currently part of your daily life, you need to find an activity that you enjoy enough that you don't regard it as punishment and then make it such a routine part of your life that the thought of not doing it is as ridiculous as not brushing your teeth.