One of the biggest killers of fitness is a lack of motivation. If it feels like nothing more than horrific torture that you have to get through in order to hate yourself a little less, it’s going to get increasingly difficult to maintain and exceedingly easy to find reasons to skip. It’s just not fun.

To be perfectly fair, some days you just aren’t going to feel it. Occasional difficulty finding the pump to go workout is not the same as dreading the gym with regularity. That’s just the infrequent drain of energy we all feel from time to time.

On the other hand, if the mere thought of your workout elicits an involuntary groan from you and you find yourself stalling or searching for other things that need to be done, there’s a good chance you have a flat routine that’s about as exciting as beige paint.

That wasn’t always a problem, though, was it? Remember being a kid and going to the playground? You ran around like a squirrel on caffeine, shrieking with delight to run, climb and jump.

That was exercise and you loved it. As soon as your parent, teacher or babysitter so much as mentioned the playground, your energy levels shot through the roof and you couldn’t wait to get out there and go nuts.

Somewhere along the way, so many people lose that feeling. Fitness has gone from exciting to boring, from fun to a chore. And that is why it gradually slips by the wayside.

If you are one of the people who has lost their zeal for exercise, you need to look inside and find your inner kid once more. The tyke is in there and just waiting for the chance to get out again.

One of the problems we face comes from our nature as human beings. We like to create neat, little categorized boxes and place everything inside its designated box. Round pegs go in round holes. Square pegs go in square holes. It’s all very neat, but it’s boring.

We fit exercise into its own box. Fitness becomes one-dimensional and we begin doing the same things the same way. We stop making any progress and we lose all enthusiasm for working out.

Going back to the playground, if you were only ever allowed to play on the monkey bars, they would gradually lose their enjoyment. Eventually, you would hear “playground” and groan. The idea would become synonymous with monkey bars; monkey bars would be synonymous with unrewarding work.

But we weren’t nearly so limited when we were children. We recognized that the playground had monkey bars, but there were also swings, slides, teeter-totters, etc. because we had variety, we never lost our enthusiasm for monkey bars.

We can look at the gym the same way. The gym is so much more than bench presses, dumbbells and treadmills. There are multiple machines for cardio or resistance training, TRX straps, powerlifting stations, a pool, group exercise classes and so much more.

Chris DeLeon | The Criterion

The Hamilton Recreation Center, located inside the Maverick Center (MC) is loaded with variety for those willing to find it. Next door to the MC, there’s a climbing wall inside the Pavillion. A person could exercise a new way every day for quite some time without repeating themselves.

In addition to breaking up the monotony and increasing enjoyment of exercise, variety goes a long way to overcoming fitness plateaus that result from doing the same thing so much the body stops benefitting from it.

Suddenly the body is confronted with something new and it responds by making itself fitter or stronger so as to better deal with it the next time. Muscles build back stronger, responses get faster, lungs get more efficient. All because the workout gets a little variety added to it.

If you find that you have lost all your motivation to workout, take a good look at what you do in the gym. Try taking new group exercise classes, jump in the pool, climb the wall; do something different to break the monotony. You just may remember how much fun exercise can be and that will make it easier to keep doing it.

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Chris DeLeon
Chris DeLeon is The Criterion's news editor for the 2017/2018 academic year and a certified personal trainer and military veteran. He is in his second year at CMU, working towards a bachelor of science degree in exercise science before going towards a doctorate in physical therapy. Chris began writing seven years ago but recently brought his love of the written word to journalism.

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