Vicious Cycle

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    Vicious Cycle

    I have a pattern. I often get super into fitness, work out religiously, research every aspect of it all that I can, etc. This is a phase, and it tends to last about a week or two. Then comes the drop off. Slowly I lose motivation. I tell myself, "it's okay to not have had the energy to work out today. You can always do it tomorrow," but I know it is a lie. I won't work out tomorrow. I probably won't even work out for the rest of the week, and at that point, I'm already a failure so what is the point of trying to start it back up? Then follows at least a month (usually more) of sedentary life. Maybe I walk 6,000 plus steps for work, but if I'm not there, odds are I am in bed and doing nothing. I spend this time thinking about all the things I could be, should be doing, but cannot find the energy to care, let alone do them. And then one day, suddenly I have energy again. I get up, log onto darebee, and decide, "Ya know what, I'm gonna work out today!" And then I get stuck in a rabbit hole of "No, this workout has too many things that I don't want to do right now. No, this one seems too hard. No, I hate pushups, and I refuse to do them." Finally, after two hours, I've found a workout I'm willing to do. But now it's been about two months since I last worked out, and I'm not as fit as I was. I can't do all the exercises , or I'm way more out of breath than I think I should be, or I can't do them all in one go anymore. Again, I feel like a failure. I try to stick with it, doing more research, workout out more often in an effort to improve, and the cycle continues. I've been doing this for years, this cycle of mild successes and seemingly insurmountable failures. The cycles are getting shorter though, and I find myself having done more exercise this year already than in the past several year. Maybe one day it won't be a cycle of failure, but a habit of heath and improvement. Here's hoping.

    Welcome to the Hive

    For sure your story is the same for lot of people. But it doesn't mean that it can't be changed. You have some programs specially designed to anyone who is new into training (foundation, foundation light, baseline), maybe you should try one of them. The idea is to create the habit of training and doing affordable exercises can help avoid despair. Maybe one day you could see that instead of thinking in training tomorrow you'll be eager to do it today.

    Courage and go for it !!!

    Regards, kisses & hugs from Spain.



      A quote from a training plan I used in the past which stuck in my head is "Missing one workout because you need to recover is not failiure, just try not to make a habbit of it "


        First, welcome to the hive!
        I also would suggest to maybe try out doing a simple program. This would give you a workout every day, so there is no need to do research by your own. This could give some mental relieve, you don't have to think so much about working out, just do the workout for the given day. On the other hand i would also suggest that you accept the workout and try your best to finish it. We grow and improve ourselves by pushing past the boundaries.
        This way you probably get out of this hard-grind-crash-and-burn mode you described (at least that's how i interpreted of it, i definitely may be wrong).


          Lots of good advice above. I think that there is a lot to be said about how to approach this, but in a lot of ways fitness has to be a personal journey.

          Based on what you wrote though, a few suggestions:

          -If you are getting dissuaded by particular exercises, don't avoid them embrace them. Or at least front load them on your week, so if you see a workout with say pushups, that you can tell yourself "I hate doing pushups, good thing I did them yesterday." Also it helps to make a weakness into a strength.

          -Maybe establish yourself some kind of a must-do rule for exercise. If you find yourself being sedentary too much, then set yourself markers, everytime you finish a television show or a chapter in a game, get up and do a quick workout before starting the next. Other people do stuff like putting a pullup bar in a prominent place in their house, and just do a pullup every tie they pass. This can of course be anything - 5 situps, 5 jumping jacks, etc.

          -Accept that exercise is not really supposed to be easy. It can sometimes be fun, but not always. People probably think that I like pushups (I average over 100 per day) but in truth I don't, I just like what they do for me. Which leads into the most important point.

          -The main motivation I have for exercise is living each day knowing what I can do now versus what I could do before. I was not exactly wasting my life before, but I get so much more out of it now, that when I lose 1 or 2 hours to exercise per day, that I feel like I am getting more than that back in the deal. When I consider that I was very out of shape for about a decade, I look back and wonder what more I could have gotten out of life in those years.

          -Also don't forget that it doesnt come all at once. My own recent path started out auspiciously. I started going to the gym and swimming 8 laps (400m) of the pool. That would take me 25 minutes. Then I added in rowing for 10, then I added in more and more alps, until I was doing 40 every time. Then I added weights. Then I added boxing. Then I had to add a second day for calisthenics, as I couldn't get every thing done in one day that I wanted, then I added in a leg day for the same reason. If you look at the lower level programs here (Foundation, Baseline, Vitality) they purposefully don't challenge you very much, but that is for a reason. Part of the learning process of physical literacy is for us to know that it is a great accomplishment just to get up and say to ourselves "I am going to be active today". I think that a lot of people start to exercise and think that they need to do an hour a day. What they really need to do is to establish a pattern so that it can be done every day. Time is not so much the matter at the start, rather the discipline.


            When I start falling off I look for inspiration externally. David Goggins is pretty inspiring for me personally:

            Also make a lowest common denominator. Part of my success at getting into a habit has been having a minimum that I'll do each day. When I started it was "Classic Warmup" workout; just enough to get the body moving and lymph systems circulating and I knew it only took me 3-4 minutes. By the time I was warmed up, I'd be ready to do more some days. Some days just the warmup is what I did but it was consistent.

            Keeping a log here for accountability might also help. It's huge for me. People will cheer you on and help you find your way through tough times.

            Sounds like you're really searching for consistency and reliability which is what brings me here too.