gym motivation

If there’s one key to achieving success in the gym and building the body you want, it’s this – consistency.

Consistent, sustained effort trumps everything else you can do.

If you need an example of this, think back to last January, and the hoards of newbies are piling in to start their new workouts after New Year’s Eve.  

If you’ve spent any time in the gym, you know that during those first few weeks it’s damn near impossible to get your workout finished without a good 45 minutes of waiting for all the equipment. And then February arrives. 

Then the gym turns into a ghost town.

Why?  Because all the “resolutioners” thought they could get ripped in just “six short weeks,” went hard at it…and burned themselves out.

So, given that a great physique is the result of consistent effort, what do you do if you’ve been at it for a while and are struggling to stay motivated?  

What should you do if you find yourself thinking of new and creative ways to not get to the gym every week?  

Today we’re going to be talking about motivation and boredom, why it happens, and what you can do to fix it.

Why Am I So Bored With Working Out?

Before we dive in and talk about some tactics, let’s talk about why you’re getting bored to begin with.  

There are any number of reasons you may not be loving the gym, but a few of the most common are:

  • You’re new, and it sucks
  • You’re worn Out (overtraining)
  • You’re not making progress
  • You are making progress, but you’re still bored

Let’s talk about the first two reasons.  Contrary to what you may think, it’s possible you’re not bored per se.  A lot of times guys confuse “boredom” with the simple, physical drudgery of it all.

Let’s look at the first scenario – you’re a newbie.  Maybe you’ve been working out for a few months, and while you’ve seen some progress that you’re happy with, you still hate it.  

gym motivation

You hate getting yourself into the gym, you hate going through the motions, and you hate the feeling of being sore afterward.

If this is you, you have two options.  The first is to grind it out.  

Everyone hates working out at first.  Over time though, most guys come to enjoy the discomfort, and after a while, you’ll even start to look forward to it.

That’s the first option.  The second option (for those of you who are suffering) is to change up your workout routine to something you somewhat enjoy.

This is absolutely a legitimate strategy.   We talk a lot in these fitness guides about heavy, compound weightlifting being the optimal strategy for muscle growth.   

But the reality is this – a lot of newbies don’t like compound weightlifting (at least, not at first).  

And if you genuinely hate it, there’s nothing wrong with taking a break and trying something else (a lighter weight, higher volume routine, for example).  

You can always come back to heavy weight lifting in a few months.  But the point is to stay in the gym.  That’s what matters.

The second scenario is for the guys who aren’t newbies but are still feeling worn down from the grind.

If this is you, and you’re feeling both physically and mentally exhausted from your workouts, AND you’ve been consistently grinding away at, it may be time to take a break.

Seriously, chill. Take a week off the gym. Or do a “de-load week” where you bring all your weights down and only do the bare minimum. You’ve earned it.  

You’ll often notice that when you come back, you’ll not only be stronger, but you’ll actually start liking it again.

Now, let’s talk about the third reason – progress (or lack thereof).  This is one of the biggest reasons guys get stuck in ruts.  

You’re working out and consistently showing up, but you’re spinning their wheels.  Weeks, months, and even sometimes years go by, with little to no progress to show for it.

No wonder you feel bored and unmotivated.

How To Keep Making Progress

One of the best ways to stay motivated in the gym is to see consistent results.  You may not love every second you spend in the weight room, but the feeling of accomplishment you get when you hit a personal record, or when you see new lines and striations on your body more than makes up for it.

Here are a few solutions to help make sure that keeps happening.

Keep A Training Journal: It’s amazing how many guys have no idea how much weight they’re lifting each week.  Hell, a lot of them don’t even have a workout plan.

If you’re finding yourself flailing around haphazardly from exercise to exercise in the gym, try taking a more systematic approach.  Develop a plan, and meticulously track what you’re doing each workout (sets, weights, rest time – the whole nine yards).  

Go in each week with the mentality of breaking last weeks record, and you’re guaranteed to start seeing progress a whole lot faster.

Make Sure You’re Sleeping (Seriously): After your workouts, the biggest factor that determines your muscle gains isn’t your supplements.  Or your creatine.  Or even your protein.

It’s the quality of your sleep.

Remember, muscle growth happens after your workout when your body is recovering, and sleep is the biggest factor, so don’t skimp on it. Shoot for at least 8 hours. 

Get Your Diet On Point: Whether you’re trying to gain muscle or lose fat (or both), a good diet is crucial.  This means not only making sure you’re a good boy and hitting your calories for the day but making an effort to eat quality, healthy foods that will fuel your workouts and help you push yourself.

A little more broccoli and kale and a little less Krispy Kreme’s.

gym motivation

When (And How To Switch Things Up)

Those are the three most common causes of boredom and plummeting motivation that guys face.

But what about number 4.  What if you’re hitting the gym, feeling good, making progress, and you’re still bored?

If that’s the case, give the following tips a try.

Change Up The Exercises (Not The Routine): A lot of guys get bored in the gym and assume that they need to throw their whole workout routine out in order to “shake things up”.

While this might help keep it interesting, it can definitely derail your progress.  A more conservative solution might be to swap the exercises you’re doing with something similar.

For example, if you do the incline bench press for your chest, try switching to dumbbells.  If you’re back squatting, try the front squat.  

You can also play around with working out in a different rep range (8-10 reps instead of 4-6 reps, for example).

It may sound like a small change, but it really can make a big difference in how you feel.

Get A Gym Buddy: There’s nothing like a little comradery and teamwork to beat the boredom.  A good workout partner will not only help you push yourself, but he’ll make you accountable to the process.  

And when you find yourself getting lazy and would rather lay on the couch eating Chipotle than lifting legs, the knowledge that your partner is counting on you to show up is enough to keep you going.

And on top of all that, a good gym buddy will just plain, straight up keep you company and lighten the mood.

Consider Group Classes: Finally, if you’ve made it this far and all of this still isn’t getting you fired up, you may want to consider joining a group class.

Group classes can be really great because of the atmosphere that they create (this is particularly helpful if you’re an extrovert).

These can be classes that are offered at your local gym.  But you can also get creative with it.  

For example, you could take up a martial art (you’d be shocked at how many gay-friendly Ju-Jitsu gyms you can find in major cities).  Or, if you really want to shake things up, join a powerlifting gym.

Anything to break you out of that rut.

Remember guys, working out isn’t supposed to be fun 100% of the time- but you should be getting something out of it.  If you’re finding yourself stuck and lacking motivation, dig a little deeper, figure out what the root cause is, and then apply a few of these tips to get you back on your game.