T Nation

Help. Loss of Motivation/Reasoning


#1

Lifting weights used to be my life a year ago. I used to give 110% every time, Until I injured my shoulders and couldn’t train for 6 months. I got really depressed as I couldn’t do the only thing I really loved.

All I could think about was the day I could train again, and when I finally could, It didn’t feel right anymore.

I’m no longer looking forward to my next session, dread it when i’m training, and cant wait for it to be over.

I used to love training, but somehow everything changed in the space of 6 months. I now feel demotivated, don’t see the point in getting stronger or bigger. The thought of deadlifting gives me anxiety, which makes me feel like a little bitch.

I have trained for 5 years, and loved every bit of it, until recently.

Has anyone else experienced anything similar to this?


#2

Yes. Right down to the shoulder injury that coincided with stressful times at work and in business. Depression and loss of motivation sucks and I’m nowhere near good enough at it yet.

I’d recommend you get busy and focus on goal oriented behaviour. If you’re too busy trying to reach your goals, you won’t have time to be depressed. That’s what I’m trying anyway, I’ve been fighting my case of the “fuck-its” for a while now.


#3

As a person who has been through some quite major mental health issues I can definitely say I’ve been through quite a few cycles of temporarily giving up on training OR the other classic: Giving myself PERMISSION to miss yet another trainimg sesh etc.

The only thing that really clicks my shit back into place is the pissed-off-ness which starts to kick-in, when, after a month or so my gains start to slowly fade away. That & the impetus of training in a slightly different way can also really help.


#4

I’ve had periods of multiple months off the gym cause of injury and surgery a few times. Came back and couldn’t do the lifts I grew to love, and ones that I could do didn’t feel right. It sucks, and took a surprising amount of mental effort to let go of how it used to be and accept how things are. Occasionally I’ll lapse into wishing for it again, but it’s rare these days.

My advice: Stop trying to do what you did before your injury. You aren’t the same person, your body isn’t the same, and mentally believe it or not you’re not the same. Accept it. It doesn’t matter if you used to love working out a certain way, doesn’t matter if you used to love certain lifts, doesn’t matter if you had no worries about injuries or whatever. If that way and those lifts aren’t working with your body, get rid of them. Maybe just temporarily, maybe forever, it just depends. Taking time off from certain lifts isn’t a bad thing, if you feel like you want to get back to them in a couple months do it. If you’ve found something else to replace them, no big deal.

Do something different. Take some time off from the gym. Or switch up your routine, something you haven’t done before. Always focused on the big 3 or big compound movements? Do a bunch of isolation exercises, go after the pump man, short rests and make it a goal to get as much blood as possible flowing. Been doing “bodybuilding” style training, split routines? Go to full body routines for a while focusing on a different goal. Or maybe just rotate out the lifts you normally do, if you usually do back squats, try front squats or leg press or whatever else you want. Maybe dedicate yourself to a cardio related goal instead and put the weights away for a while, maybe join a 5k club or cycling class or yoga or whatever. If you are getting anxiety from a workout routine, it’s not for you right now.

I really do recommend a break from the normal training and find another avenue to go after, whether that’s a drastically different weightlifting routine, yoga, running, pickup basketball/racquetball/swimming/whatever sport, a musically instrument, whatever man. Something different. Doesn’t have to be a permanent hobby change, but doesn’t need a set time on it.


#5

And also: “the only thing I really loved”. Man, I’m guessing your young by your screenname. And I felt that way too 7 years ago when my injuries started, and some days I still feel that way so maybe this comment is as much for me as it is for you. But there is a lot more to life than lifting weights. Spend more time with family, friends, get a pet, find more hobbies, travel, take up cooking, learn an instrument, develop a skill, do something fun and/or challenging that you think looks interesting. I get that lifting weights and making progress is/was important to you, but it is a hobby at the end of the day and hobbies should be something you enjoy and add value to your life.

This situation probably seems like a major deal, like an attack on how you’ve always viewed yourself and on some levels, the rest of the world. But as someone who’s felt that way, and said those things, and kind of made it to “the other side”, it’s not as significant as you or I make it out to be. It’s not as big of a deal as it seems in the moment. It just isn’t.

Maybe I’m reading more in to your post than you intended but your post reminded me of myself and sounds eerily similar to how I felt and thought.


#6

Yup. Still do. Zero love for training; I am only in it for the results. If you don’t like the results enough, don’t train. No shame in that.


#7
  • Easier weight management (and subsequent health -
    mental and physical - benefits)
  • You’re likely to live longer
  • You’re likely to live a better quality of life (fitness, Stronger bones/muscles, better mobility, etc)
  • You may look better to potential mates (though diet will get you far enough)
  • If you compete in a sport, you can get some performance benefits
  • people infer things from your training (positive- youre disciplined and negative- youre an obsessed idiot) which may carry over positively to other parts of your life

Noting other behaviour can completely nullify some or all of these benefits and the further away from dying you are, the less pronounced these benefits are.

If none of that interests you, I’d say not wanting to train is very sensible.


#8

What made you lose interest? or did you hate it from the start?


#9

Never cared about training. Just liked the results. I honestly can’t understand how people like training, but apparently some do.

Treat it like brushing your teeth. Just a thing that you do because you like the results.


#10

That’s a good analogy. I like it.


#11

The motivation has to be intrinsic. That’s the only one that sticks with you throughout life.

Set up a goal for yourself. WHY do you work out? What is your goal?
What was your goal when you first started?

It could be anything

You want to:

  • look good
  • become stronger
  • live healthy
  • build a foundation to resist all of the common old-age problems
  • become a better version of yourself
  • relieve stress, anger, pain

Find the true reason for why you want to lift and it will come back. But it needs to come from within.

Have you never felt the excitement or happiness during a heavy ass workout?
Never felt great for being able to lift such a high weight off the floor?
Compare it to a runner’s high. It’s been proven that exercise makes people happier.
We all get addicted to highs. Be it from running, pumping iron, sex, etc.


#12

I think T3hPwisher’s comments are correct.

And he trains consistently insanely for the results, not the training experience.


#13

During? No. Just a lot of pain and pressure.

I greatly enjoy being strong, yes. But again, those are the results of training, not the training itself. If a genie granted me a wish of being super strong, I would have zero love loss that I got that way without training.


#14

Everyone here has great points. One thing I’ll tack on: if it’s injury that has you down, just remove yourself from it. When I have had injuries that actually change what I can do, I forget my pre-injury numbers, milestones, etc. Then you’re able to progress against where you are, without some mental blocks that are either going to have you do something dumb or be down about what you’re doing.


#15

There’s quite a few articles on here that deal with feelings such as this.

Most of them state that people hit a stumbling block in the first place from thinking they need motivation. like NEED it. Which you probably don’t, depending on how committed you are.

@T3hPwnisher has an excellent way of viewing it. It’s just something you do, ends justifying the means. For lack of a better anaology on my behalf.

I too have an injury, and if anything, it’s taught me to be even more self aware, not to mention it’s also served as a catalyst to take warming up, and mobility work seriously even if I feel like it’s pointless.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with adding motivation into the mix, I just think it’s bound to crumble if it’s the basis for you getting up and going versus not going. If the situation has to be optimal for people emotionally, mentally, and physically every single time, that’s where the problem is.

I think the parts of training that bring out your true self, or rather the part of you that deserves to reap the benefits of training, is what counts. I too, most times, find training slightly irritating. It’s not even the barbell, or the weights, or the other equipment that irritates me, it’s usually whatever predicament I’m in, and how said predicaments shape how I feel when it comes time to move these pieces of equipment around.

It’ll be 11 at night and I’ll still get my preworkout, my belt, backpack, water, and jacket and drag myself to the gym when I’ve been doing nothing but crying the entire day, and still have tears welling up in my eyes.

I owe it to my former self who was screaming for some type of help. Some type of stability, nourishment, and healthy challenge. In essence, you owe it to yourself OP.

Yea I have a herniated lower back, and sciatica flare ups, but I’m ten times stronger than what I used to be, I have knowledge of how to properly program training on a basic level, I understand nutrition a heck of a lot better, and I get to actively watch myself change for the better, which I will always pick over being 88lbs, shivering, thinking I’m fat when People can see damn near every segment of my spine, losing my hair, missing a period, trying to survive on 100 calories a day, and being one step away from trying to finish an entire bottle of ibuprofen.

It’s okay if you don’t want to, or even like training. You don’t have to like training, and training doesn’t have to like you either. You just get in and keep moving.


#16

Earphones and Motley Crue.


#17

I was going to buy a friend of mine a Motley Crue dildo as a souvenir last time I was on holiday, but it was like £40 so I bought him a little Motorhead vibrator instead.

Totally relevant to this thread.


#18

Come on, it was on holiday, you should have treated yourse… err… your friend


#19

i’m really sorry to hear that, and thanks for the reply.


#20

Some really good answers in here, and they actually helped me out a lot too…so Thanks!!
It really is hard to train after injury and to get past ‘the way it was’ it’s been a MAJOR struggle for me as well.
The why? I think I’m older than you so maby my ‘Why’ has a bigger effect but it will catch you eventually.
Use it or loose it.
I swear when I regularly trained I could do anything! insert super woman and I took it for granted I guess. Fast forward to 2 years of inconsistent training and an injury etc and I can feel myself loosing mobility and strength in everyday situations, I can feel my injury complaining more, and It sucks big donkey balls and has my alarm bells going off!

OR how about this why… fast forward to my sedentary parents (and many of the aging population) who have troubles getting in and out of a car. <——- that right there is your motivation.

Use it or loose it.

For me, the alarm bells are going off and that’s my motivation. I’m not going to be a weak fat fuck when the zombies come :wink: