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  1. #1
    Registered User Andrew2886's Avatar
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    Getting and keeping yourself motivated in your 30s and beyond

    Hey all,

    Now that I have joined the over 35 crowd... I figured this might be the place for seeking wisdom in the arenas only we 35+ers are familiar. The biggest challenge I am facing is motivation. As life milestones hit and change, I'm finding it incredibly difficult to get myself to the gym, or to work out anywhere in general. It's not for lack of wanting to stay healthy and get back into better shape, it just feels like there's so much more to focus on and to worry about that it's a lot easier to say "I'll just go tomorrow" and then tomorrow becomes next week, and so on. What are some of the tricks people use to keep their motivation strong. Especially those of you that are married / in long term relationships, having kids, dealing with ****ty work schedules, etc. In my twenties I was uncompromising about getting some kind of workout in daily or at least 3-5 times a week. Now I can't seem to get myself out of my apartment, and the compounding effects of that mental block only gets exacerbated by the fact that I feel out of shape and weaker.

    Thanks in advance folks!
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    Registered User knightofday's Avatar
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    In for answers. Feeling some of the same op, motivation is definitely not what it was in my teens and 20s
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    Registered User friesbruh's Avatar
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    Went through a spell like this for a couple months about five years ago. It just went away. Anymore I just realize life may turn out to be a complete chit show in my case and if thats the case and i only have one thing to show for it, it'll be the gym.

    I struggle with career oriented chit, not going to the gym. For instance, i need to get like 3-4 certs to achieve the lifestyle i want (work from home .NET programmer) but cant bring myself to do the studying to get it done.
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    Registered User MG5's Avatar
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    This is what many people get wrong. Relying on motivation. It's a fleeting feeling that comes and goes all the time. You can watch a 5-minute motivational talk on YouTube and suddenly feel motivated, and 45-minutes later it can be completely gone.

    There are people in a similar situation to you who are still making it to the regularly, training hard, building a great body. You wouldn't be the first person to ever do this.

    NOBODY is motivated all of the time. But you build habits, routines, discipline, and you do what needs to be done whether you feel like it or not. Treat going to the gym like you would brushing your teeth, putting on your shoes before you go out, paying the bills, showing up to work - an absolute necessity. Something that must be done.

    You probably haven't been motivated every single day to go to work 5 days a week for decades, but you still do it. Because that's hardly a choice. You need to work and make money so bills can be paid and you can buy food.

    The gym is a choice, but there's no big consequences of not going (maybe besides some regret and getting down on yourself for not going), so it's easier to just say no to it and instead hang out at home.

    Motivation comes from taking action. Ever start on either a workout, some task, or project, and you REALLY didn't want to, but once you got started it wasn't so bad and you really got into it and finished it and felt great afterwards? That's usually how it works.

    Doing the things you say you're going to do, and stick to your word. Keep yourself accountable.

    Ask yourself what would a fit and healthy person with a great body do?

    They'd make it to the gym, not skip workouts, and do what needs to be done regardless of how they feel.

    Start doing small things in your day to day life that you don't feel like doing, but are better off being completed. Don't procrastinate. Count down from 5, and just take action and do it.

    Over time and as you get better at doing things you don't feel like doing, it should carry over to the gym setting as well.

    And lastly, seeing progress makes things fun and motivates you.

    Keep a workout log, take progress pics, set a short-term goal to go after - maybe a body weight goal, or a strength goal. Something that can be measured and tracked where you can see progress being made.

    I don't have a family and kids, so I'm sure that makes things much more difficult, but still. There are people with a packed schedule, 3, kids, a demanding job, a family, and they're still making it to the gym and doing great. It's not like no ones ever done this before.

    Even if you make it 4 times a week for 45 minutes, that's enough to make progress and build your body. If you need to start at 3 days a week for 45 minutes, start there.
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    Figure out your priorities and if the gym is high on your list, make it into a habit. If it doesn't rank anywhere near career, family, kids, watching a game, etc., be honest with yourself and don't worry about it.

    Personally I find that working out helps clear my mind, so I've gone out of my way to hit the gym when life has been the busiest and most stressful. But whatever the gym does for you - get healthy, look good, get away from the family for an hour, watch butts in yoga pants, etc. - decide logically if that's enough for you to take the time to do it regularly.
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    Your last sentence..... "the fact that I feel out of shape and weaker"

    Just remember that if you don't exercise and eat right.. this will just get worse. Obviously we all have priorities in life, but I think when you carve out 30-45 minutes and few days a week and even keep up with it for a few weeks it'll feel like second nature. When you start seeing results, you'll begin to look forward to working out.
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    Crawling back under rock OldFartTom's Avatar
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    Find a workout/whatever that you ENJOY.
    I trained this morning, I am already itching to be back in the gym. I know exactly what I need to do on Wednesday, but I don't like having to wait.

    Sure, this is only half the answer because there are times you have to make yourself go, but finding one you really enjoy is a huge piece of the puzzle
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  8. #8
    Registered User Andrew2886's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by OldFartTom View Post
    Find a workout/whatever that you ENJOY.
    I trained this morning, I am already itching to be back in the gym. I know exactly what I need to do on Wednesday, but I don't like having to wait.

    Sure, this is only half the answer because there are times you have to make yourself go, but finding one you really enjoy is a huge piece of the puzzle
    You know this has been a big part of it, too. Not adapting to my current state and finding workouts and routines that work for me / keep my mentally engaged. I just don't get as excited anymore with a monotonous routine of bodypart a + bodypart b + cardio on a prescribed schedule. 2 hour workouts built around that base model were everything to me in my 20s, but now I just don't have the time nor the attention span for it with so many things occupying my mind. I find that I get most excited to workout now when I change it up frequently, or am trying new things. For instance, I started doing F45 for a bit, and it was the most motivated I've felt in the last 2 years (but then Covid hit and the nearby one closed shop). It *is* important to find workouts that keep you engaged mentally as well as physically. Especially when your metabolism starts slowing, your energy levels drop in general, you recovery takes a bit longer, and you can't necessarily make a strictly prescribed routine work.
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    You need discipline.
    If you have a goal that is important to you make the time to do what will get you there.
    A book that could help you is "Discipline Equals Freedom"by Jocko Willink former navy seal.
    Lots of non nonsense advise and quotes to help your how your feeling.
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    Clearly Irrational blue9steel's Avatar
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    Create a habit. For me, it's "I work out every work day before work". That's not necessarily the optimal schedule for muscle building but psychologically it makes it so routine that I don't even think about it any more, it's just what I do in the morning, like brushing my teeth.
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    I've always felt like to achieve success in any venture you need a goal that's greater than your shortcomings. It's not a matter of if you'll lose motivation but when. Same goes for cheat meals or becoming discouraged from lack of progress, it will happen at some point if not again and again. What pulls you through is the reason deep down inside of you that got you started in the first place and that reason has to be so powerful that your slumps are mitigated. It might not be that you lack motivation but rather that you lack a defined goal.

    Also I find that it helps if I go to the gym as early as possible and just get it out of the way. I like to get up around 3:30-4:00am and immediately drink a preworkout followed by some coffee so there's no chance of going back to sleep. I feel like I have the gym to myself and I'm not waiting on equipment or feeling like I'm in other people's way. I have that sense of accomplishment as it's over and done with instead of it hanging over my head all day. It also seems to me that my body feels like a sponge soaking up food and nutrients throughout the day rather than when not having worked out yet and food feels like it just sits on my stomach bloating me up.

    One other thing I'll add is that I've gotten to the age where if I miss too many days in a row I get moody, cranky and depressed for no reason. I'm not educated enough on the inner workings of the human body to give a lecture but I'm gonna go out on a limb and say it has to do with test levels bottoming out and when I go regularly and lift HEAVY it seems to correct all of that and I feel balanced both physically and mentally. I don't take any Rx medication, never have and will do my best to avoid ever having to start on meds so as long as there's a natural way to cure what's wrong with me then that's one thing to help keep me motivated.
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    Registered User KenpachiZaraki's Avatar
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    What's working for me is I befriended some 20-somethings at my gym. They give me so much grief if I don't show up for a few days, it's shameful. And I do the same for them.

    Also, we compete against each other, pushing ourselves and each other to get better. Plus, you have friendly, 'ready to go' spotters if you need them.

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    Registered User AAOBob's Avatar
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    Ask me 5 years ago I would have thought I had the answer.

    I just restarted this whole thing for real today after basically being less than maintenance for 3 years.

    You can't really predict where you will end up.
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    Crawling back under rock OldFartTom's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by AAOBob View Post
    I just restarted this whole thing for real today after basically being ..
    Good for you. Keep on keeping on going
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    Originally Posted by Andrew2886 View Post
    Hey all,

    Now that I have joined the over 35 crowd... I figured this might be the place for seeking wisdom in the arenas only we 35+ers are familiar. The biggest challenge I am facing is motivation. As life milestones hit and change, I'm finding it incredibly difficult to get myself to the gym, or to work out anywhere in general. It's not for lack of wanting to stay healthy and get back into better shape, it just feels like there's so much more to focus on and to worry about that it's a lot easier to say "I'll just go tomorrow" and then tomorrow becomes next week, and so on. What are some of the tricks people use to keep their motivation strong. Especially those of you that are married / in long term relationships, having kids, dealing with ****ty work schedules, etc. In my twenties I was uncompromising about getting some kind of workout in daily or at least 3-5 times a week. Now I can't seem to get myself out of my apartment, and the compounding effects of that mental block only gets exacerbated by the fact that I feel out of shape and weaker.

    Thanks in advance folks!
    Is it really motivation that's lacking or is it just having the energy to workout in those time slots when you're free of other commitements? Buy a weight set, a chin up bar and some parallets for dips and workout at home. You don't have to exercise for a set amount of time on specific days. You can spread a workout throughout the day. That's how we evolved. Pick the big bang for energy buck exercises.
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    I’ve only ever missed a workout because of some emergency of injury. I actually, like doing routines that have a couple days off because “if” on the rare occasion something happens I can make the workout up later in the week.

    That’s not optimal but drastic times and all that.

    I do have a little hack I’ve used a couple times on the days I just didn’t feel like putting in the work.

    Tell yourself “F-it” I’m not going to work out today, I’ll just go to the gym but not workout.

    I went to the gym and never have I not ended up working out and being glad I went.
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    Originally Posted by GrumpyLumpy View Post
    I’ve only ever missed a workout because of some emergency of injury. I actually, like doing routines that have a couple days off because “if” on the rare occasion something happens I can make the workout up later in the week.

    That’s not optimal but drastic times and all that.

    I do have a little hack I’ve used a couple times on the days I just didn’t feel like putting in the work.

    Tell yourself “F-it” I’m not going to work out today, I’ll just go to the gym but not workout.

    I went to the gym and never have I not ended up working out and being glad I went.
    That's a fantastic idea
    Also, sounds like you are in the fantastic place that working out is an internal (vs external) reward most days.
    BUT I like your backup plan for when you are just 'not feeling it.'
    It's never too late!

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    No offense, but people who don't have kids just have no freaking clue.

    I used to say the same stuff, and had my first kid at 36, which was okay. Had my 2nd kid at 38, and 2 is just ridiculous. It's a COMPLETELY different world.

    Especially being married as well.

    Not complaining, but with kids, time just evaporates into the ether (like when it takes an hour just to get them ready & out the door).
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    Registered User Tenor2020's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lowkey122 View Post
    I've always felt like to achieve success in any venture you need a goal that's greater than your shortcomings. It's not a matter of if you'll lose motivation but when. Same goes for cheat meals or becoming discouraged from lack of progress, it will happen at some point if not again and again. What pulls you through is the reason deep down inside of you that got you started in the first place and that reason has to be so powerful that your slumps are mitigated. It might not be that you lack motivation but rather that you lack a defined goal.

    Also I find that it helps if I go to the gym as early as possible and just get it out of the way. I like to get up around 3:30-4:00am and immediately drink a preworkout followed by some coffee so there's no chance of going back to sleep. I feel like I have the gym to myself and I'm not waiting on equipment or feeling like I'm in other people's way. I have that sense of accomplishment as it's over and done with instead of it hanging over my head all day. It also seems to me that my body feels like a sponge soaking up food and nutrients throughout the day rather than when not having worked out yet and food feels like it just sits on my stomach bloating me up.

    One other thing I'll add is that I've gotten to the age where if I miss too many days in a row I get moody, cranky and depressed for no reason. I'm not educated enough on the inner workings of the human body to give a lecture but I'm gonna go out on a limb and say it has to do with test levels bottoming out and when I go regularly and lift HEAVY it seems to correct all of that and I feel balanced both physically and mentally. I don't take any Rx medication, never have and will do my best to avoid ever having to start on meds so as long as there's a natural way to cure what's wrong with me then that's one thing to help keep me motivated.
    I guess building a strong routine that you stay focused and dedicated to is key.
    As you say motivation comes and goes depending on mood.
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    You gotta switch to activity based exercise that you actually enjoy and doesn't feel like just going to the gym.

    94kg 12% bf right now have not set foot in a proper gym since about when Covid hit.

    Hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, quick workouts in parks on bars etc. - find a sport or activity you actually enjoy but happens to also be a workout if you go hard at it you'll get results.

    For me getting older this has been a game changer the gym doesn't appeal at all anymore.
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    rsneller08 -- Lots of us have kids (and many of us have >2) stressful jobs, stressful wives and close to zero spare time, not enough time to sleep properly. I'm not saying it's easy or pleasant but you've got to try. What's the alternative?... Give up and blame circumstances and others?

    It helps the more time you have but if you look at the bare minimum time required, it's actually less than 1 hour 3 times a week including warmups shower after etc.
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    Then other details will start to slot themselves into place.
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    Originally Posted by blue9steel View Post
    Create a habit. For me, it's "I work out every work day before work". That's not necessarily the optimal schedule for muscle building but psychologically it makes it so routine that I don't even think about it any more, it's just what I do in the morning, like brushing my teeth.
    This.
    I always get 3 miles of cardio in before I go to work. You really have to force yourself some days and make it non negotiable! I switched from evening runs to morning runs about a month ago so I'd have the evenings after work to get chores done and enjoy the weather
    *teampunishment negged crew*
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    In regards to kids, they look up to you. And your actions are bigger than your words. You need to show them that health and fitness is a very high priority. Being healthy and fit makes every other good thing in your life even better. Sex is better when you're fit. Doing stuff with your kids is better when you're fit. Standing around drinking beer and barbecuing is better when you're fit. Checking out your wife's ass is better when she's fit. This last year should seal the deal, look at who was most adversely affected from the China virus. It wasn't healthy fit people.
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    Originally Posted by Andrew2886 View Post
    Hey all,

    Now that I have joined the over 35 crowd... I figured this might be the place for seeking wisdom in the arenas only we 35+ers are familiar. The biggest challenge I am facing is motivation. As life milestones hit and change, I'm finding it incredibly difficult to get myself to the gym, or to work out anywhere in general. It's not for lack of wanting to stay healthy and get back into better shape, it just feels like there's so much more to focus on and to worry about that it's a lot easier to say "I'll just go tomorrow" and then tomorrow becomes next week, and so on. What are some of the tricks people use to keep their motivation strong. Especially those of you that are married / in long term relationships, having kids, dealing with ****ty work schedules, etc. In my twenties I was uncompromising about getting some kind of workout in daily or at least 3-5 times a week. Now I can't seem to get myself out of my apartment, and the compounding effects of that mental block only gets exacerbated by the fact that I feel out of shape and weaker.

    Thanks in advance folks!

    buy a bench some dumbells and a pullup bar.
    arrange a place, you don't need that much space.
    you'll have everything at hand 24/7 then you'll have no excuses no to exercise.
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    I've also joined over 35 crew and I also feel like this from time to time. I agree with everyone, we've to make it a habit. It reminds me of the quote, "The only bad workout is the one that you didn't do." Whether you like it or not, just go and workout. Just keep your body moving. Priorities comes in life, but to give our best in other areas of our life, first we've to stay healthy. If body is healthy then we can run around for other things...
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    For me, I hit a decent goal in lean mass and started getting bored of bodybuilding… now for the last 5 years I’ve been powerlifting mixed with bodybuilding (Powerbuilding). Strength numbers keep me motivated.
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    I think what MG5 said is a great answer. I don't feel motivated everyday to go to work, or to brush my teeth, but I still do it.

    More often than not these days I feel like it would be easier and save some time if I skipped the gym today. But I still go, and more often than not I feel motivated once I'm there. I keep a workout journal so I can see that I'm making progress.

    My gym also has these mystical mirrors which somehow make me better looking than when I'm at home, so there's that too.
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    When i started my new business/job last year, I was so interested that I let my fitness go away.

    Now I put fitness first. I also imagine that I am a personal trainer, then I have to wokout.
    I also like to watch how other people push themselves hard to get inspiration from them. For example the guy said he would drink coffee right after he gets up, I love the idea.

    Regarding family, I try to be a good mother. I try my best to be patient with my son and praise him more and help him build a good habit. I try my best to control my temper when I am tired. I also think that as a good parent, it is important to be a good role model rather than do everything for my child.

    I also read 5 am club book and since then I start to get up at 5 am.
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    Originally Posted by rsneller08 View Post
    No offense, but people who don't have kids just have no freaking clue.

    I used to say the same stuff, and had my first kid at 36, which was okay. Had my 2nd kid at 38, and 2 is just ridiculous. It's a COMPLETELY different world.

    Especially being married as well.

    Not complaining, but with kids, time just evaporates into the ether (like when it takes an hour just to get them ready & out the door).
    Oh no no no, those of us without kids (by choice) understand. Why do you think we don't have kids? I'm 36 and people are having kids right and left around me, and it's always the same story "I knew it would be hard but not THIS hard!". Well what did they think, that everyone else is lying?
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    Pre-COVID..............335 / 295 / 499..............185 lbs
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    Registered User jademonkey's Avatar
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    As for motivation, maybe come up with a new active hobby. I've always had active hobbies, and they tend to change over the years as I get bored of one and pick up another. Nothing wrong with that unless it's your job. I did martial arts as a kid, street hockey and aggressive inline skating when I was a bit older, gymnastics as a teen and young adult, a stint of trail running/Spartan Race, 5 years bike racing, and now a couple years of lifting.

    You could try hiking or cycling, and just tack on some bodyweight stuff at home to get some upper body movement in.
    April 2021.................16 week cut.................168 lbs
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    Pre-COVID..............335 / 295 / 499..............185 lbs
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