Fitness column: What motivates you to exercise? |

Fitness column: What motivates you to exercise?

I asked fitness veterans this question not too long ago and I thought that their answers were great. I think that collectively, they represent the real-life reasons why we exercise and try to pursue a healthy lifestyle.

However, lack of motivation is a common complaint that I hear from beginners who are struggling to get fit. Perhaps it is more of a lack of focus.

As we succumb to the world’s distractions, exercise often goes to the wayside. Recognizing this and refocusing on what is truly important is a way to stay motivated.

If you are so distracted that any degree of fitness is impossible, you’re doing it wrong. You’re not motivated because you are overloaded and distracted with other really important stuff like fantasy football and online shopping.

Mindfulness is a recently popular new discovery for some. Focusing on what is truly important and concentrating on executing what it takes to get there is something everyone should try. Living in the moment and paying attention has gone out the window in our culture. We’re much too busy chasing the latest, shiny trinket that comes along — and then the next thing you know you are caught up in behavior that is tough to reverse.

Fly fishing has taught me a lot about this concept. The trout attempt to discern between real flies and the fake ones that will land them in my net. Sometimes they can’t resist the brilliantly crafted marketing campaign I throw at them and fall prey to their own instincts. Sound familiar?

How much time per day are you wasting mindlessly surfing the web, checking email or developing a better case of tech-neck gazing into your dumbphone? Are you chasing the wrong flies? There is just no time to exercise with all this mindful activity.

As adults, there are many things that we hate to do. Perhaps the consequences of not doing them is motivating. Consequences should beat excuses, but they often don’t. We live in a society that embraces excuses and stuffs consequences in the closet.

If the benefits of exercise-discipline are not appealing enough, look at what happens when you don’t exercise and eat right. Are you spending as much time maintaining your temple as you are tearing it down?

Decide if it’s a lack of motivation or an exceptional excuse-making ability that is keeping you from taking care of your body.

Hopefully the following Top 10 Motivational Phrases from Real People will help to motivate you or someone you love to exercise enough to enjoy a healthy and purposeful life.

1. My warranty has expired.

2. To be there for my 7-year-old daughter.

3. So I can eat desserts and bacon.

4. The mirror.

5. Boys … and to stay healthy.

6. To stay vertical.

7. Menopause … not mine.

8. Being able to stick around for my family.

9. My kids, my wife, my life.

10. A deepening sofa sag.

Steve Wells has more than 20 years of experience in fitness and nutrition and is the head trainer and co-owner of Midland Fitness. His blog, “According to Steve” can be found at In his “Where in the Health are We” speaking series, he addresses fitness and nutrition topics such as office ergonomics, stress management and real-world nutrition. Reach him at 970-945-4440.

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