Motivation vs Discipline: which is more important in the success of consistent training?

Several people have asked me over the years, “how do you stay motivated to train day after day, year after year?” I have absolutely NOT been motivated to train for every single training session that I have done in my life. I have had to drag myself to the gym for more training sessions than I can even count. So if I wasn’t motivated to train, why did I even go? What made me put on my training clothes and make the trip to the gym? Discipline. Think about it like this, compare training to brushing your teeth. You know that brushing your teeth is going to keep your teeth healthy and clean right? If you go too many days in a row without brushing your teeth, they begin to build up plaque which can break down your tooth enamel and leave your teeth vulnerable to decay. They can begin to rot and fall out of your mouth. So without hesitation, most of us get up and brush our teeth before we leave the house and then once again before we go to bed. It’s not the funnest thing to do, but we do it anyway because we know what the consequences are if we don’t.

Our bodies need physical activity in order to stay healthy. There is no doubt about that. There is even substantial evidence that shows that physical activity is THE MOST IMPORTANT aspect when it comes to overall health. More important than mental training, and eating a completely healthy diet. What happens if we go too many days without training? With a long period of lack of physical activity comes weight gain, higher cholesterol levels, higher blood pressure, increased risk of getting cancer, diabetes, muscle loss, lower bone density, etc. The list of diseases goes on and on. The longer a person is inactive, the worse all of these problems get until it becomes catastrophic and life threatening. So why is it then that most people will brush their teeth to avoid losing them but won’t exercise in order to stay healthy?

The difference between us that train on a reqular basis and those that don’t is that we are quite in tune and connected with this fact. We simply prioritize our health much more and clearly understand the consequences of not training. We are aware that our bodies are living organisms, and in order to stay as healthy as we can so that we can live the best quality of life, physical activity must be a part of our lives. Physical activity makes us feel great and gives us energy to get through our days. The benefits of exercise outweigh any of the obstacles that come with training. So is it motivation that ultimately drives me to train? No, it’s discipline. I train because I want to stray strong and in great shape for my entire life so that I can enjoy my life as best I can.

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