For the first time in years, I found myself unmotivated to go to the gym. I know for some people this might even sound like borderline mocking. If you never have the motivation, how can you possibly relate to someone who not only goes religiously, but consistently loves the experience?
Nevertheless, most folk out there know the frustration of having something great in their life, and then coping with what happens when it’s no longer there. I’ve had this time and time again, none so dramatically as when I moved back to Israel this last time. I knew I was saying goodbye to the occasional Chiefs games. And there would be no more fight nights at the local sports bar on Saturday night.
I still had my constant stream of guests… until Covid had me temporarily saying sayonara to them for quite some time. (Thank goodness, slowly but surely the guest experience is returning!)
The Gym Kept Me Alive
But nothing has kept me alive and breathing as much as exercise. I try to go right after I finish work, and the longer I stall, the more frustrating of an experience it will be. I’ve remarked countless times that the hardest part of working out is getting out the door. After that, it’s always amazing. There’s no problem building up the motivation once I’ve arrived. And once the workout begins to flow, it just gets better and better. And I don’t want it to end.The hardest part of working out is getting out the door. Click To Tweet
But something awful and unfortunate happened recently. My motivation has been dipping. And it’s been harder and harder for me to kick that door open and run over to destroy at the gym. And as much as I like to think of myself as highly introspective, it is baffling me why this is happening. The gym isn’t just something I enjoy. The year I was apart from my children, the gym sustained me. Without it I would have withered. And I still need it, both physically and mentally. Any day I get to the gym is a better day than when I don’t. I can feel it in every inch of my being.
So I’m not sure why the dip. But here are a few of my theories:
I’m really, really tired.
I don’t sleep much. Some of it’s related to just how life plays out. I have been a father for over 18 years. In the early stages of all four kids, sleep was rare and really low quality. I’m not certain I ever caught up from those days. It’s more like I just got used to being tired. So much so, I’m not really sure what being extremely energetic would even feel like.
But then there’s that part of me that doesn’t like being asleep. There just don’t seem to be enough hours in a day to do everything I want to do, and the only way I can seem to find them is to sacrifice sleep. I know it’s a bad idea, but it’s what I do. And very consistently.
It’s not that I don’t think it’s possible to function on little sleep. Or that I haven’t been holding my own despite the minimal nighty nighttime. It’s that it eventually catches up with you. And I’m finally starting to feel it. I’m yawning more while working. I’m doing the infamous head bob.
How do I muster up the strength to burst out my front door… when all I want to do is watch TV and take a nap?
But I think my exhaustion is only a piece of the puzzle.
I’m starting, for the first time in who knows how long, to feel a tinge of boredom. I found patterns I like. It’s not that I don’t mix up my exercises. I most certainly do. I just have a general routine and system, and because of that, it’s harder to generate excitement that will help push me up the street and over to the gym.
It’s in my nature to jump around. It’s a weird contradiction. I love and thrive on routine. However, for only so long before I need to jump away and try something drastically different. I’ve been going to the same gym now for over three years. Same job for over five. Living in the same city as well. And I can feel this burning need in me to shake things up dramatically. And it’s affecting my time in the old faithful gym.
I look around and I see the same weights, people, and machines. And like I mentioned earlier, I found what I like, and I know what I avoid for all sorts of reasons. Some are uncomfortable. Some are too challenging. Others intimidate me.
Maybe I just need a full and complete shakeup of what I do. Perhaps the time has come, no, not to abandon physical fitness, God forbid. But to find a new path. Something that can renew that wondrous feeling of excitement I used to receive every time I stepped in the gym.
I have other smaller theories. I can’t say for sure that they are the reason, but I imagine they’re contributing. For example, my gym has gotten much more crowded lately. There’s a certain perfect amount of people at the gym. Enough that you feel the positive energy of everyone else around you, and you get the sense of motivation of the like-minded fitness freaks. However, not so many that you can’t move around freely and use the equipment you want to use.
If the number goes too low, you feel lonely. Like you’re exercising in an abandoned village. If it goes too high, you feel cramped and gross.
Sadly, the numbers have been high lately. Very high. And it’s filled with young people. And they’re the worst. They haven’t yet learned how to behave in a room with a large number of people. They think the gym equipment is a bunch of toys. And they’re loud, annoying, and have no sense that there are other people around them.
Whatever the reason, something’s broken and needs to be mended. Because it’s damn near impossible for me to fathom a world without my precious gym.