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Why we lose motivation after we start going to the gym and working out?

Research has shown that there are many reasons, both physical and psychological, that cause a decline in gym attendance over time

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While of course the idea of self-love and learning to accept who you are is at an all-time high this century, a study undertaken by the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research has found that 95% of college-age males are unhappy about their body appearance.

That’s a pretty big number.

Enter the world of fitness and lifting weights. Pretty sure many college students have had the chance to go to the gym, even for a short period of time. But what causes people to stop going to the gym?

Have you ever started going to the gym, done bench-presses, lifted weights, felt great about yourself, and then suddenly…stopped?

Well, apparently, this is a common phenomenon in the fitness world, and there are many reasons why.

  1. You’re under the wrong kinds of pressure

An important indicator of how much you’ll be doing workouts and attending a gym is the intention of starting it in the first place.

Studies have shown that those who attend a gym to enhance their physical strength and for better health, have been much more active and consistent with their attendance than those who went there to increase their self-esteem.

In fact, the concept of ‘motivation’ itself has been broken down into ‘autonomous’ and ‘controlled’. While autonomous motivation is more free and positive, controlled motivation depends on certain rewards (like money, fame, or just feeling better about how you look).

Studies have shown that people with the latter form of motivation have been studied to have a negative correlation with gym attendance, or in order words, have eventually dropped out of the gym.

This is also important because people with autonomous motivation tend to have more concrete goals in mind (for example: I want to work on my upper body to gain muscle), which are easier to attain than those with controlled motivation, who might just want to start going to the gym to “look like’’ The Rock” for example. Nothing wrong with looking like The Rock, of course, you just need to know what you’re working on and how you’ll get there, otherwise, you’ll only eventually get demotivated.

  1. You’re bored of the same old routine

Yes. That’s actually a thing.

An article in Men’s Journal states that many people have dropped out of gyms because they got tired of the same routine, which eventually demotivated them.

Working on only certain muscle fibers with the same intensity tends to tire out the person as they start getting used to the mundane routine until they eventually just lose the excitement of working out all-together.

This is important to actually change up your routine from time to time and even if it’s focusing on certain body parts, do it with varying intensities and in different methods to keep you motivated and enthusiastic!

  1. There’s a lack of social support

Especially when it comes to females, being dominated in a ‘masculine gym world’ many women have discontinued their time at the gym because of the lack of social support.

Studies have shown the environment of the gym plays a vital role in attendance at the gym, as it has a negative correlation with females with poor body satisfaction, who were trying to get in shape.

This is important to note how motivation is strictly influenced by the environment and support one receives from their community.

  1. You got a friend in me!

A study done at the University of Aberdeen has actually shown, a gym partner significantly increases people’s attendance to the gym and the amount of exercise taken by a person, by showing emotional support and increasing motivation. So go and grab a gym pal!

  1. Lack of results compared to the models you’re exposed to

Picture this. You’re working out, working hard, going to the gym every day, doing everything your trainer is telling you to, and sweating like crazy at the gym.

But you see no results! You still look nothing like that Calvin Klein model in the posters you’ve stuck up in your bedroom!

Yes. That is certainly demotivating indeed. Especially when studies done by the U.S. National Library of Medicine on Body Image, have shown that exposure to male models has caused demotivation in people who were recently starting the gym, or were non-regulars, and many even eventually dropped out!

However, interestingly enough, the regulars at the gym were only positively motivated to keep up their works and get more fit. Talk about healthy, autonomous motivation right there.

Okay, but why are we not seeing results though? You may ask.

Let’s picture something else then. Imagine doing all the work-out mentioned above, and then going home to be greeted by Big Macs, lots of processed foods, lots of sugars and fats.

Yeah. That ain’t gonna work, bro.

(unless you’re The Rock, of course)

The lack of proper nutrition and dietary intake (and ALSO the lack of good sleep, kids) play a very vital role in the lack of muscular building at the gym.

You could be lifting for hours, but with the wrong nutrition and caloric intake, it could be all done in vain. So while you’ve decided to start working out, make sure you’re maintaining a healthy lifestyle outside the gym as well, to actually see progress and stay motivated!

Basically, us humans are pretty complex when it comes to many things, but to understand these reasons is important so we can work on ourselves and the environment around us in order to actually adapt, and also work on our lifestyles and get healthier (with a healthier mindset and goals, of course!)


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Thanks for sharing this, you are awesome !

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