Keeping Myself Honest

Damer

Administrator
DAREBEE Team
Warrior Monk from Terra
Pronouns: He/Him
Posts: 89
I've been training all my life. This is no exaggeration. I discovered organized sport and martial arts at 13. I have, since that time trained virtually every day apart from one year when changing countries and struggling with a new language and a totally foreign culture led me to lock myself up in the house for a year and do nothing. I was 18. I snapped out of it and have used physical training as both my primary source of entertainment and a form of self-medication. If I am troubled by something I run. If I feel down I will exercise until the darkness lifts from my brain and I can see things more clearly. Some of my closest friends exercise and, occasionally, we workout together once a week as a means of keeping the connections alive and doing something that is physically and mentally good for us. Despite all this I struggle with motivation most days. Fitness is hard. Our bodies have been made to do physical work in order to remain healthy and keep our brains healthy but they have been programmed to do this as part of our struggle for survival. Today, that struggle for survival is no longer physical and this is where things go wrong.

I start each day with exercise. When it is just me, I probably feel like doing it two days out of ten. Before I start, my brain always gives me a ton of excuses not to exercise: "let's go tomorrow twice as hard", "last night's work wasn't finished and today is a tough day", "everything aches from yesterday's workout", "it's too hot/cold", the list is virtually endless. I've learnt to ignore those voices in my head. To get me in the mood I always use music and usually the same playlist as it signals to me that exercise is about to begin. To keep myself honest I always keep track of what I did the day before. I then try to build on it. If, for example, if I did a Darebee workout that was all speed, I know I now need to focus on strength. If, I'm so physically tired that strength is not on the cards, then I will do a tendon strength workout. If I have done strength work the day before, I will work on endurance.

I am sharing this here because we all struggle. Keeping a log of what I did keeps me honest otherwise I'd be tempted to cheat, do a lot less the next day or do something that comes easy to me (like martial arts moves). I have two aims in my log: First, build on the day before. Second, do something that takes me outside my comfort zone. So far all this is working.

How do you guys keep it going?
 

Heniek

Well-known member
Warrior Posts: 162
"A loving heart is the truest wisdom."
My last job was a general labourer for a builder, this kept me fit having a lot of different things to do on large detached condo sites. I got paid to work out and also trained at home in my basement gym. Now I'm retired I still get up at 5am and have my scheduled exercise. I start the day with my advanced Tai Chi Chuan forms. I walk to the senior centre weight room twice a week, other days I use the fitness centre in my apartment building, there's also an indoor pool.

My wife and I have our routines, she's really into hiking and goes out regular with her friends, has regular meet-ups, some weekends away. No matter what, I'm always happy.
 
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Fremen

Well-known member
Mercenary from Italy
Posts: 518
"“Keep an eye on the staircases. They like to change.” Percy Weasley, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone."
I need to change workouts from time to time, otherwise I get bored but I always like to start with a light warm up (Universal Warmup), it's the best way to make my body want to train a little more, then the road is downhill.
My two tricks are to start slow and do something that I really enjoy doing, not just that has some purpose :)
 

Anek

Well-known member
Sorceress from Bavaria, Germany
Pronouns: She/her
Posts: 397
I managed to build in my brain that after I get up I do my morning workout, I don't need to think about it. I just do what the ongoing program says. Afternoons are more of a gamble, I usually manage to not think about it and just roll out my mat, but if I start thinking about wether I feel like exercising or not, it's over :LOL:
I guess I'm a kind of soldier zombie, I just follow instructions :LOL:
 

Montserrat

Well-known member
Rogue from The Netherlands
Posts: 182
My strategy right now is to do at least something first thing in the morning. I've worked through a few of the lighter Darebee programs that way.

Usually this will get me motivated to do more later in the day. But when that's not possible because of limited time or lack of energy I will at least have kept my streak.
 

Redline

DAREBEE Team
DAREBEE Team
Ninja from Marseille, France
Posts: 35
"What is that button for?"
I always tell myself that when I don't feel like working out for whatever reason, then going easy is always an option. It's much better than doing nothing anyway.
So, I decide to focus on an easier exercise, or use lighter weights.

9 times out of 10, once I'm past the warmup stage, I usually feel my energy coming back to me and I end up doing something harder than what I'd initially planned. But really, the "something is better than nothing" approach has always worked wonders with me.
 

Kanary

Well-known member
Amazon Pronouns: she/her
Posts: 200
"For the Light! For Victory! For Cake!"
Anyone tracking my Infinity Days of Iaijutsu (today was day 188!) tracking may have guessed that it's the first thing I do for any workout. For me, the hardest part is starting, so if I can just get myself up to do that, I will probably actually work out. And if life is going to keep me from doing more, doing a little is better than doing none.

I use a related logic for workouts: I only need to do one set, right? If one set is hard, that's all I really need to do and there is no shame in that. But often, once I've done one set, I might as well do two more and have it at Level 1. And then it's one or two more to Level 2, so I might as well do that. And then? Just one or two more to Level 3 and I can feel like a badass.
 

Giant48

Well-known member
Guardian from Ankara-Turkey
Posts: 67
This is what i am lacking most.
İ'm glad that you made this post and i saw all of you guys routine's and ways to keep working out.
İ know it's not about motivation it should be about discipline and schedule.
Sometimes i manage it so good. for like 3-4-5 months some times years. But if i face any sort of setback (pysical or mental(depression) etc i find my self lost in a bad cycle of fast food and PC
Lİke for example last year i was going really good from july to november never skipped a gym session or gone out of my diet which was pretty loose actually (had a cheat meal once a week and even some alcohol was using to let my body loose on that social latin dance nights :cool::party:).
But after that i was diagnosed with corona which left some spots. And i ate a little extra and let my self loose during two weeks quarantine time. This was ok after that quarantine i hit the gym and couldnt even lift half the weights that i was doing 2 weeks prior due to the spots on my lungs from the virus.
Of course it hit me hard and it didnt help that My doctor forbade me going to gym due to health issues and as i lost gym time on the schedule it slowly broke apart and i lost my discipline. Therefor my food habits as well.
Should have kept eating healthy and keep walking daily i know it. but like i said lost the discipline.
Now İ still order my meals at dinners but took out fast food from my order's and eating home cooked meals for the last 2 weeks, trying to walk on my commute to work and started skipping station on the subway so i add more walking time.
Started sleeping early around 11-12, my next goal is waking up early. İm waking up around 7,30 but gonna try to take it to 6,30 first and start cooking my daily meals in the extra hour, maybe do a warm up while rice cook's and see how it goes from there.
Not exactly a post for this thread but i just wanted to rent a bit about my past failure's/(experience's ??) maybe writing them down will help me get rid of them and help me open up a new page
 
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Damer

Administrator
DAREBEE Team
Warrior Monk from Terra
Pronouns: He/Him
Posts: 89
@Giant48 not a problem at all and I am glad you posted this. 'Bad' behavior, i.e. doing things we know are not helping us is a comfort zone thing. The moment a setback happens physical or psychological we automatically seek to revert to something that comforts us. Smoking, drinking, over-eating, sleeping badly are all activities we engage in because they make us feel 'safe' even though we know they're not good for us. Some of these (drinking and eating, for example) are so socially acceptable that we barely notice when we slip into them. There is no real answer here that will cover everything. Keeping a log helps. Accepting that setbacks are natural also helps. We cannot be at the top of our game every single day, all the time. At some point we make mistakes, have bad days, get ill, get depressed, all of that at once sometimes. The key thing here is if we accept it that it's OK, that these things do happen and that we haven't failed in any irreparable way, then we are more likely to brush it off. Having a support network to share things with (this place, for instance - or close friends) lightens the load and changes our perspective.

We are all fallible. No worries there. Practicing a little self-compassion however is something we now need to learn because we have come to realize how important it is.
 

JohnStrong

Well-known member
Guardian from Vancouver, BC
Posts: 161
"No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable. -Socrates"
"something is better than nothing"
100%, this approach is working well for me. In the past I'd often attack myself for not sticking to the plan or failing to meet my self-imposed, fixed expectations of an exercise plan. No matter how bored I was. Very destination-based thinking. I think Journey-based thinking says, "Hey, let's try a little, see how we feel." or, "Say, how about we cut the reps in half. How about now?". You're just concerned with making progress.

Regarding OP's question; I've definitely had luck with picking a location outside the home. I try to do as many of my workouts outside as possible. If I'm hesitating, and I'm near the computer, or my phone, or a myriad of other distractions that my home offers, I'm fighting a tough battle. If I walk 5-10 minutes to a vacant parking lot (which I sometimes do), I'm like, "well, guess there's nothing to do but exercise now."
 

Sólveig

Well-known member
Pirate from Cabudare - Venezuela
Pronouns: She/Her
Posts: 250
"Ars longa, vita brevis"
Like @Kanary I think my biggest struggle is starting too.

Burpees take a lot of willpower to do. Sometimes I stand up and do nothing but walk around, listening to music and brainstorming. I think the longest I've done that is 60 minutes, tops. It is hard to that first Burpee, but once it's done, the other 99 come quick. 100 Burpees take me like, what? 10 minutes? The very little times I did 100 without even stopping for 30 seconds took me 5 minutes total.

This also happens to me with long workouts, like the ones that last for 45 minutes or more. I don't find them challenging, I find them to be a slog. While I do enjoy working out, and I do not want to stop because I'll lose my mind if I do (it's one of the very few thinks that kept me from literally going insane during the nation-wide 5 days long blackout that happened back in 2019), I get so horribly bored from sessions that drag out. Instead of training, they feel repetitive, no matter how much I crank up the music, or change the scenery. Thus, I always end up spending more time putting off the workout than actually doing the workout.

That puts me at odds too, because taking 2 minutes of rest makes me impatient. Even 30 seconds make me feel that way too. I always vary my resting time, though I usually go for EC or 1 minute total... unless the workout is really tiring, I always take the full rest.

This is why I love HIIT the most, especially if it has combat movements on it. Not only it forces me to go all out, but it also forces me to keep good technique, no matter what. It works on a very similar logic to one of the methods of teaching music I've learned back in the University.
 

PetiteSheWolf

Well-known member
Alchemist from France
Posts: 158
Force of habit, and fun, are my two motors. I had periods of forced rest, and really didn't like that at all! Remember my post on the first rehab sessions after my heart surgery? Still laughing about it!
Basically, it's the first thing I do in the morning (after feeding Mademoiselle Luna, of course !), and I try to keep it fun - add the bokken and combat workouts, put on music, do it but without taking myself seriously.
 
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SkorpionUK

Well-known member
Sorceress from Germany
Posts: 130
"Building good habits"
I don't have a good answer to the question, because my super power is procrastinating until the thing is a crisis, and that just doesn't work with exercise! I can stick to finite programs relatively well - I once did 30 days of Hot Yoga (from a standing start of inactivity), but after the challenge element is gone, I drift off.

But I've learned how to develop better habits so hopefully that will carry across here. And this thread is helpful! If nothing else, to knock the idea down that fit people are also really motivated all the time.
 

Damer

Administrator
DAREBEE Team
Warrior Monk from Terra
Pronouns: He/Him
Posts: 89
@SkorpionUK we are so not! Motivation is really hard. We need to help ourselves, always, by lowering the resistance threshold around us and making it easier to exercise. Procrastination (since you brought it up) is a neuro-reaction issue. The brain, in these cases, focuses on the perceived load of the work that needs to be done and not the reward that will be derived from its outcome. What it does then it 'strategizes' to put it off until it becomes imperative to put in the work itself or face severe consequences. Just about every student who's crammed for exams the night before the big day, has felt that feeling. Project managers facing deadlines and speakers doing presentations also experience the same thing for the same reasons. The problem is really widespread. We are, to put it mildly, a neural mess. It can be mitigated if we carefully rethink the value/reward of what we attain and make it part of who we are as our avowed (i.e. curated) identity, in which case it helps. But each time, with each project, it has to be re-affirmed. :LOL:
 

SkorpionUK

Well-known member
Sorceress from Germany
Posts: 130
"Building good habits"
@Damer yeah, that seems true, relative to my own experience. Of course I've landed myself in a career that I describe as a "permanent essay crisis"! Which... doesn't exactly help even if it is extremely on-brand, haha.

There are two things that help counteract the tendency: one, to disengage from crisis mode or fire-fighting or procrastinating until the last minute, or whatever you want to call it, because it's also a really costly way to live (both in money and energy terms) and it's clear I won't be able to deliver on that forever even though I'm excellent in a crisis, which means accepting that going slow and gentle can be... at least as effective as going hard and fast (shh, I'm not willing to spook my brain more than this!), with a side order of not postponing everything for some mythical Future Me to deal with but maybe working towards Future Me having an easier time; and two, increasing the reward and lowering the hurdles in every way possible. It seems stupid to smart minds to reward things we "should" do anyway, but that just means I'm less smart than I think: even silly rewards give a dopamine kick (as any game dev knows, too well), and the fear of letting down accountability partners isn't actually nearly as effective as getting their approval and praise. If social media have taught us anything, in other words, is that most of us will do almost anything for approval, so it's wise to utilise that tendency. Also I sure do love setting goals and hitting them: is there a better high than accomplishment plus approval? (Yes, but none so easily attained.)
 
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