Language is a powerful tool

and, when used with intent, it can shape our moods and outcomes.

Consider this…

Sometimes when I’m coaching on the gym floor, I will ask a member what exercise is next on their program. Often I will get a familiar response, such as “I HAVE to do sandbag cleans,” or something similar. Inevitably I use the opportunity to humorously prod the member by saying, “Don’t you mean you GET to do sandbag cleans?”

At that moment I’m not trying to be annoying—although my members might beg to differ.

In truth, I’m attempting to help that person reorient their viewpoint, and rewire their brain, through the power of language.

You see, that word have, carries a lot of baggage. It’s full of responsibility. Of demand. I HAVE to go to the doctor. I HAVE to go to work. I HAVE to pay my taxes. After all, if you HAVE to take your car to the repair shop, there’s not much to look forward to except you spending the time and money to deal with an auto repair.

So you can see why I don’t want you, or any of our members, to ever feel like their workout is a “HAVE to” task.

Ask Yourself “Why?”
All of us probably have a pretty good reason for exercising. You want to look better, live more healthfully, feel better, achieve more out of life. And many times, these reasons are linked to those who are most important in our lives, like our partner, spouse, or kids.

So you’ve chosen to do something about it by working out. Congratulations! While that recognition and a dollar may get you a cheap cup of coffee, it’s not going to make it much easier to get up at 5 AM on a winter morning to head to the gym.

From time to time I might want to say “Suck it up, Buttercup! You chose this!” Unfortunately, this type of “motivation” will only go so far. Instead, there are two techniques I want you to try to generate a little motivation on your own:

  1. Substitution. Banish the “have-to” from your exercise vocabulary so you can rewrite your fitness journey narrative. The next time you feel a have-to creeping in, swap it with get-to.
  2. Gratitude. It might sound cliche but stick with me. Movement is wonderful. Every day I am inspired by our members overcoming and accomplishing goals. Whether it’s losing fat, staying active as they age, rehabbing after injury or surgery, or hitting a new max on their deadlift, I see the benefits of exercise daily. Not everyone has the ability to even get out of bed. So be grateful that you get to exercise. As my friend Andy Dufresne from Shawshank Redemption used to say, “Get busy living or get busy dying.”

So I challenge you to take these two tips to heart the next time you are having a hard time motivating yourself for your workout. Sometimes just the right words, and a different perspective can make a world of difference.

Let me know how it goes.

–Coach Brad


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