photo of text on a wall that reads "a one hour workout is only 4% of your day NO EXCUSES"

I assume most gyms have motivational things on the walls. My gym has some nice ones like “Do something that future you will thank you for” and stuff like that.

It also has this piece of garbage.

I hate this. Not just because it’s shaming me into working out, which is counter-productive because I don’t respond well to that sort of behaviour (see also: reasons I would fail in the military), but also because it’s incorrect.

A one hour workout is a little over 4% of 24 hours. There aren’t 24 usable hours in a day unless you’re on speed. Let’s math this out.

24 hours, less 8 hours for sleep (16), less 8 hours for work (8), less 2 hours for commute (6), less 2 hours for meals and prep (4). That leaves you with 4 hours. 4 hours that are your own time to do whatever you want. A one hour workout is more like 25% of your personal time.

I can think of plenty of reasons to not dedicate 25% of your free time (not counting commute to/from the gym and showering after) to working out. Illness. Social engagements. Other hobbies. Exhaustion. Working late. Snowbound. Reasons to not work out.

I really do hate this. I know there are other people out there like me, who don’t respond well to being shamed or goaded into doing something. It’s this sort of rhetoric that actually makes me not want to visit the gym. I keep going because I like working out. I like how I feel afterward. I like that I’m being active and building strength. I like finding my muscles under the fat. I like stretching and lifting weights, cycling and elliptical.

I’m starting back at the gym after a month-long hibernation. It’s going well so far, but I remembered that this piece of wall “art” exists, and I needed to vent about it.

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3 Replies to “How to kill motivation”

  1. You at least have good motives that allow you to (mostly) ignore this BS. When one already hates exercising but does it because “I have to,” things like this are guaranteed to kill any desire to work out.

    I read a thing some years ago that really resonated: that most exercise regimes are designed by ectomorphs to punish mesomorphs.

    1. Thinking more on this has left me with a lot to unpack about it.

      That’s essentially my whole point with this shaming nonsense. If you’re going to have a gym-going lifestyle, or even workout, you need to want it for yourself. This comes across as bullying to me. I might be overly sensitive, having been bullied a lot, but it really feels like being bullied for daring to have a life outside the gym, or for needing to take days/weeks/months/years off from going to the gym because of health issues (including mental health!), or even just for poor time management. And with that last in mind, it’s disingenuous, which leads into the other, and possibly more frustrating, half of my problem with this signage/wall art/garbage.

      1 hour is only 4% of your day if there are 24 usable hours in every day, which only happens if you’re taking uppers. So it’s not only shaming patrons with this “NO EXCUSES” rhetoric, it’s also just poor math, which feels more like I’m being lied to. Like, it’s one thing if it’s a close estimate, but this is really off from a realistic standpoint. No one should feel bad about not giving up 25% (a generously low estimate, also, since most people I know that work work more than 8 hours a day) of their free time to something they don’t really want to do, which ties back in with my earlier point: if you’re going to the gym, you need to go for yourself. If you have other obligations/commitments/just not feeling it, that’s okay.

      As for exercise/workout regimes, I agree. That’s why I don’t use one created by anyone else, or use a trainer. My goal isn’t to punish my body for past problems, but strengthen it for future challenges. No “whipping myself into shape” or any other violent thought process. I’m rewarding myself for making it this far, and helping make sure I can keep going. My routine started with a month or so of familiarizing myself with the equipment and what muscle groups each machine worked (all of the machines have a nice diagram of how to use the machine and what muscle groups it exercises), then thinking about what I wanted for my body and used the machines that focused on those areas. Personally, I wanted to work my back and arms because a strong back is important for basically everything, and I had noodle arms. I started with machines and have mostly moved to basically a full body workout with free weights. I’m still working on my arms and back, but also the rest of me too.

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