Today, I'm going to talk about motivation and effort. We all have our own reasons to goto the gym, to get stronger, look better, get bigger, sports performance, etc. Whatever your reason or goal, it's not always easy to set aside the time, get up, pack your gym bag and head out the door to get in a workout. To me, that's the hardest part. There is always something pressing, something more important that I should focus my attention on instead, but I can usually recognize that mental trap and make it happen anyway. Although getting to the gym is the biggest obstacle, the challenge doesn't stop there.

I want to talk about something I notice occasionally at the gym, something I've fallen victim to myself, and that is going through the motions (literally in this case) in an activity where concentration and effort are important. The dictionary defines this idiom as "making a feeble effort to do something" or "to do something insincerely or in cursory fashion." It manifests it's self in the gym by sloppy form, half reps, lack of progression, weak will power or even skipping sets or exercises entirely.

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Does he look focused on the task at hand, or is he going through the motions?

Don't get me wrong, there are times to take your foot off of the gas, take a step back and deload. You won't set PRs on every workout and you shouldn't push yourself to failure every set. But if you overcome that mental hurdle and get to the gym and don't put in any effort while you're there; if you never feel sore, tired or even break a sweat, you're doing yourself a big disservice and you won't get the results you wanted.

This idea isn't exclusive to the gym, but since working out takes physical effort, it's easier to identify when your willpower is breaking down when it comes to exerting energy. Next time you workout, look for the warning signs. Are you focused on the set at hand or is your mind racing? Are you lifting with proper form, or are you shoving the weight around as quickly as possible to get it over with? Do you ever push yourself to develop that mind-muscle connection, or do you always leave with reserve in the tank?

They say we invest time in the things that are important to us. Take it a step further and if it's truly important to you, make sure you're putting in both time and energy to reap the full rewards.

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Bryan Alger

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Bryan is the Co-Founder & CTO of Gravitus. A Marine Corps Veteran, the only thing he likes more than hacking on code is pumping iron.