How can I discipline myself to stay fit in my 30's with a total lack of desire for fitness anymore

How can I discipline myself to stay fit in my 30’s with a total lack of desire for fitness anymore

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I have been weight lifting since I was 16 but since then have gone through strange, biyearly cycles of fitness. For two straight years I will be strong, lean, muscular and have great cardio endurance followed by another two year cycle of complete laziness (think working out once or twice a week) and gaining massive amounts of weight (went from 12% bf to being clinically overweight in the matter of 6 months because of my lack of exercise and poor eating habits). I write all of this to say that in my lazy seasons I find that I feel so much better than I do when I am in my fit seasons. I have always been told that being fit and strong once you reach you 30’s+ will have so many benefits: less risk of injury, energy, latency, etc. but from my personal experience, fitness in my 30’s and even late 20’s has done nothing but make me sore, low on energy, stiff, aching, injured, etc. I am aware that even though I feel that way, my body is better prepared to take on beatings as I get older but how do I get over the mental hump and just get myself back in the gym despite those feelings?

6 thoughts on “How can I discipline myself to stay fit in my 30’s with a total lack of desire for fitness anymore

  1. Maybe you’re overdoing it during your fit seasons? If that’s the case ramp down the intensity I guess. Other than that without getting inside your head this is a tough question to answer.

  2. I commiserate with this deeply. I never get a runner’s high. I don’t feel better after working out. If anything, exercise can trigger deep emotional lows. That mental drain is exhausting.

    Some things that have helped me actually stick to fitness this year.

    Changing my objectives from aesthetics to performance. Strength is relatively black and white. I can do more reps at more weight than I could before. I track my reps. I have a whiteboard with my PRs for each of my main lifts and cardio. On the days I have the mental fortitude to challenge my whiteboard, I go for it. I celebrate when I can update my board. My mantra has been lately, “F*** aesthetics, just get strong.” Compared to where I was a year ago, also clinically overweight, this approach has also improved my aesthetics. But that’s a symptom, not the objective.

    I take notes on my daily pains and mood. Last year, my back hurt non-stop. My shoulder really started being a problem. All due to nonstop desk work. This year, even though I may be sore from a workout here and there, my residual pain is significantly less, or even gone. I remind myself that I suffer less by sweating more. Again data.

    I give myself the permission to stop. I’m allowed to stop a workout at any time. I still worked out. I checked that box.
    But I am not allowed to skip.
    Somedays that means I do 2 pull ups, and say, yah, that’s enough, I’m done. Other days, I do 2 pull ups, then do 2 more, then do 10. Then see what my max is. Then say y’know, while I’m here, I might as well actually do my full routine.

    I treat each day that I workout, whether it be a 2 up and done day, or a full 90 minute PR smashing session, as an investment. I have three “goals” I ascribe my fitness activities to:

    Live Longer -> Muscle retention, heart health

    Live Better -> Reduce pain, be mobile, be healthy enough to do fun things, throw my niece in the air

    Be Useful -> Stamina and Strength

    So I see each of those workout days, those checked boxes as another dollar in the fitness savings box. It’s not the workout that I enjoy, it’s my life. And I want access to everything it offers. When I’m 60 and retired and finally have time to live… I want to be able to live. I want to hike and camp and load my truck, and maybe throw my grand-niece in the air. I hate my time in the gym today, but I know I’ll appreciate it tomorrow. And I already see the compound interest growing.

  3. Many people start exercising because they want to see a change in their body. Be it to slim down or to get ripped.

    Working out is hard. When you keep at it for awhile and you don’t see or feel any difference, naturally you get discouraged and lose the motivation to continue. However, if you can see results very quickly you would be convinced that what you are doing works. This would give you the impetus to keep it up longer.

    I learned this after I read Marie Kondo’s Life Changing Magic Of Tidying. If you tidy only a bit everyday, you will never finish tidying. You must treat tidying as a life event. Only then will you see big change very quickly, get motivated to finish up the job and feel strongly about not returning to untidiness.

    As with exercise, the change must be big and drastic if you want to stand a good chance of turning regular exercise into a habit.

    6 mths ago I was only hitting the gym once a week, doing yoga and working the gym machines. I wasn’t fat or anything. In fact I was considerably fit. But my body doesn’t look it. Then I decided that I want to look toned and my abs to show. That’s when I started the Insanity Max30 program, doing HIIT 5 times a week in the comforts of my room.

    It was crazy tough. My sleep suffered and thoughts of quitting came up very often. But only about a little more than 1 week into the program I could see the difference in my body in the mirror. The change was significant enough to convince me that if I keep at it, I would eventually get to my goal. On top of that, because the workouts are so tough, I wanted to maximise its effects. So I started to follow its prescribed meal plans as well.

    It was mind blowing how quickly I start losing the body fats. My abs begin to show about a month into the program. The only issue is that I wasn’t taking enough protein so I was losing muscle as well. By then working out becomes a habit and I would actually feel uncomfortable whenever I miss a session.

    By the end of the 2 months program, i was so motivated and into fitness and nutrition that I even started to meal prep.

    Today I’m in the final 2 weeks of P90X3. Now I exercise almost every morning before work, 6 times a week. Meal prep every Sunday. It’s like clockwork.

  4. My one weird trick – don’t allow yourself to shower until after your daily workout. Even if you’re not in the mood, if you stick to this rule, the desire to wash up before bed will trump your laziness. I view workouts like brushing my teeth – something that needs to get done, no matter what.
    Plan and schedule specific movements / workouts ahead of time.
    Stay within your limits so that you can stay healthy and maintain your planned schedule.
    If mitigating circumstances (e.g. illness, lack of sleep) make the full planned workout impractical, do what you can. Something is better than nothing.

  5. For me, it was realizing that I am not a “gym” person. I had a membership at a gym, and barely ever went (especially when it was -45C with a wind chill in the winter time…UGH!). Basically I threw my money down the drain. So my answer to that was to make sure I had everything I needed at HOME. Free weights, step with three levels, yoga mat, exercise bands, and nearly every video known to humanity for exercising (T25, P90X3, Jillian Michaels, Tae Bo, etc., plus everything you can find on YouTube for free). In my mind this gave me the reasoning of “no excuses, because it’s all RIGHT HERE.” And now I work out every day. But remember the most important thing—even a 10 minute exercise session on a day when you’re swamped is better than doing nothing at all. And if you can’t find the time to do a half-hour/forty minute workout all at once, sneak in those little 10 minute sessions wherever you can—find a workout to follow on YouTube, or do something on your own. If it’s nice out, go walk as briskly as you can during your lunch hour. If you have a dog, take it out after work—dogs love being taken for a run. What it boils down to is this—if it is IMPORTANT to you, you WILL do it. If it does not mean enough to you, you won’t.

  6. For me, it was realizing that I am not a “gym” person. I had a membership at a gym, and barely ever went (especially when it was -45C with a wind chill in the winter time…UGH!). Basically I threw my money down the drain. So my answer to that was to make sure I had everything I needed at HOME. Free weights, step with three levels, yoga mat, exercise bands, and nearly every video known to humanity for exercising (T25, P90X3, Jillian Michaels, Tae Bo, etc., plus everything you can find on YouTube for free). In my mind this gave me the reasoning of “no excuses, because it’s all RIGHT HERE.” And now I work out every day. But remember the most important thing—even a 10 minute exercise session on a day when you’re swamped is better than doing nothing at all. And if you can’t find the time to do a half-hour/forty minute workout all at once, sneak in those little 10 minute sessions wherever you can—find a workout to follow on YouTube, or do something on your own. If it’s nice out, go walk as briskly as you can during your lunch hour. If you have a dog, take it out after work—dogs love being taken for a run. What it boils down to is this—if it is IMPORTANT to you, you WILL do it. If it does not mean enough to you, you won’t.

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