If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to see it fall does it make a sound?
If you work out at home away from the judgmental eyes of your fellow gym grunters, class participants, your trainer, your hot best friend from high school that you need to show up at the reunion, did you really work out hard enough?
I’ve been in a little motivational slump these days. I used to be able to put on my ING New York City Marathon “I’m Part of It” shirt and feel like a rock star who could do anything because, “I ran the marathon”! But these days I’ve been in search of new motivation and trying to determine if I really do work out hard enough when no one is watching. So what are the different ways I find that motivation and the feeling of satisfaction when it is all over? Let’s take a look.
I took a kettlebell class today taught by a good friend of mine Stephen Bel Davies (www.stephenbeldavies.net) at Equinox in Brooklyn Heights. I’m not really a fitness class person but thought, why not? I LOVE kettlebells and I was not in any mood to think of what I should be doing today. Classes are a great way to hand yourself over to the capable hands of a fitness professional who will motivate you for the 45 to 90 minutes you have with him/her. Do your homework. Find a good teacher who knows their stuff and a good workout will follow. Another thing about classes that I like? I can look around the room and see my fellow classmates struggling and working towards the common goal or movement and create little competitions with them in my own mind. No one needs to know that I’m trying to hold that plank longer than you. The parade happens for me in the privacy of my own mind as I saunter off to the locker room to shower.
On to working out at the gym. Everyone seems to be looking at you right? Why not use that to your advantage? I’m an over achiever by nature and I tend to think that everyone is judging me when I am out in public. I know it’s a little narcissistic to think that everyone is looking at me but why not use it to push myself? Sometimes I’ll even compete with my workout buddy if I happen to have one. Similarly to the way siblings have rivalries I find that friendly competition with a friend, even a silent one makes me think I am working harder.
So what if I get snowed in and have only my living room, a few implements and maybe a workout video or two? Here’s where I need to hold myself accountable and trust that I know what I am doing. My judgmental gym goers, competitive workout buddies and fellow class goers are not there to push me mentally and I need something I can measure to be sure I am working out at the right intensity. At this point I slap on my handy heart rate monitor, determine my target heart rate and let ‘er rip! I know that I have the knowledge and the ability to push myself alone and my heart rate monitor shows me a measurable number to follow to achieve those results.
We all try to push ourselves to our limits to ensure we achieve the goals we set. We all have different methods of motivation when it comes to exercise, be it staring at all of our flaws in the mirror, working out with a friend who we love to hate, taking a class and creating silent competitions with your fellow class takers, or just giving in to the narcissistic idea that everyone on the gym floor surrounding you is judging your every move, grunt, lift, squat and bend. But what really works? Can you get the same results alone, in the privacy of your own home with just your dogs staring at you while you squat, bend, grunt and lift? I think you can. Reach out to a fitness professional, learn a few new moves, master a few old ones and hold yourself accountable.
Because regardless of what external methods you use to motivate yourself there is nothing more rewarding than knowing you were able to do it all by yourself!