Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Working out? Whats your motivation?

In the packed gym (but numbers are already dwindling) this morning I overheard a conversation that really got me thinking...thinking enough to blog about it. The conversation went something like this:
Really Muscular Guy: "Good to see you at the gym this morning"
Groggy slightly overweight guy: "Yea"
Really Muscular Guy: "Whats your motivation?"
Groggy slightly overweight guy: "To lose weight"

So, this was at the start of my workout, about 5:45 AM. I had the rest of the workout, the time getting ready for work, and the commute into work to think about this question...about another 2 hours. You hear a lot that losing weight is the most popular New Year's drop. So, why is that?

Judging from my personal experience over the past 5 years, I think the problem is one of motivation. If you goal is to lose weight, what happens when you have done that? Or what happens when you hit that first wall. Anyone could watch the Biggest Loser and tell you that everyone, even with personal trainers, will hit walls when trying to lose weight. If that is your only goal, I think you can plan on having that goal pop up on your radar every couple years for the rest of your life.

In my own personal life, I have jumped on and off the workout wagon about 6 times in the past 5 yrs. On my current track, I have been going at 5:30 AM every morning for the past 4 months. Its probably the second longest streak in my short life, the longest was solidly from April 2001 to about January 2002. I stopped after that 1.5 years because more of my time was being spent with my then bride-to-be and I wanted to keep her as number one in my life. Plus, with everything I had going on, it was the lowest priority and I guess I just no longer had the motivation.

I started up from time to time with the motivation of losing weight or getting in shape, with no real goals. Those typically failed from the start as I failed to establish a routine. When my daughter was born in October of 2006, I started to again thought about working out but couldn't fit it in the weekdays as I didn't want to lose what precious time I had with her. I mean, she is awake from 8 AM to 1 PM and 3 PM to 8 PM roughly...that means I only get about 5-8 PM with her if I am lucky and then the rest of the night with my wife!

But, this fall I found new motivation. I realized that the lifestyle I wanted for my new growing family was a lifestyle of fun activity. I didn't want to risk getting into a position where I was too out of shape to go hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, or biking with my family. I want my family to be a family of adventure and a family of activity, not one that watches a TV show together but one that explores God's great creation with one another. I want to be as healthy as possible so in the years I have with them, we can do these things with one another. There is my motivation, its all I need. I don't care what weight I am, I just want to be in shape to experience life with my family to the extreme. I don't want to be the man on the couch, I want to be this man:
Erik hiking with Anna on his back

Over this Christmas vacation I had, we were blessed to have my mother here for a bit. Together, we looked through thousands of pictures my father had scanned from slide format. With long time friends of my parents over one day after Christmas, we showed them some of the old pictures. They commented about how our family was the family always at parks, camping and hiking. I have many fond memories of camping with my family. Here are some from when I was 5 months old and my sister 4 yrs old...
Erik on his mom's back hiking at about 5 months old
Erik on his dad's back hiking at about 5 months old

I am motivated to have the same for my family. I want to be in the physical condition such that my children can experience that. There is my motivation for the new year.

1 comment:

Cindy said...

Good for you Erik. I really like your thoughts on this topic.