Trick Your Brain Into Loving Your Workout And Reap the Rewards

Trick Your Brain Into Loving Your Workout And Reap the Rewards

An object (and person) in motion, stays in motion

I hated physics class in school. I didn’t like having to memorize all the equations and keep up with what the variables stood for…BUT I always loved the physics concepts. I later utilized them as a professional dancer — while working with a partner to rehearse a difficult lift — and I still use them with personal training clients today, lining up direction of force with cables and with regard to gravity.

I also call on Newton’s first law of motion: the Law of Inertia when peeling myself off the sofa to go for a run. If talking physics isn’t enough to send you running already, that’s OK: stay put for how getting started is the hardest part.

Sure, she looks relaxed, but her body is screaming for exercise.
Sure, she looks relaxed, but her body is screaming for exercise.

The Law of Inertia states that a body in motion tends to stay in motion, unless an external force is applied to it. So, in laymen’s terms: once you get moving, you are likely to STAY moving until SOMETHING makes you stop. Why do I start with this? Because when folks complain about wooooorking oooooouuuut, they spend a lot of negative thought on how hard/uncomfortable/long the activity will feel. But, that’s jumping ahead of things. According to this physics principle, the HARDEST part is actually just getting started: which takes mere seconds. And, once we are moving, we are likely to stay moving until time’s up or we finish or something gets in our way. So, what we should be DREADING in working out is actually something that last only seconds. If you think of powering through something difficult that really takes only seconds, does it seem a little easier to tackle?

This is where another concept comes into play: the feeling of accomplishment. Accomplishment is something I talk with clients about a lot. I am someone who likes to gets stuff done. I like to go to bed at night having checked stuff off my (sometimes only figurative) to-do list. This all started when I was in high school. I realized that while my friends didn’t seem to need to devote much time to studying in order to make good grades, I did. My solution was to stack my folders up in the order of my classes (first class on top), complete the necessary homework for the first class, and then put that material on the bottom of the stack. I’d continue until I had cycled through and the first books were on top again. That was my first to-do list. The FEELING of ACCOMPLISHMENT in seeing that first textbook appear on top of the pile again began to out-weigh my sluggish “I don’t want to do my homework,” whining, AND my drive to not fail out of the classes I had with my friends.

The “start” for me each afternoon was to stack the books. That’s all. Simple enough.

Mere seconds. Stacking the books was enough to propel me into doing my homework, and then into finishing it, which led me to discover the joy of accomplishment.

Organizing is your friend

So, if you are planning to work out three times in a week, make three stacks of your workout clothes, and once they are sweaty and in the hamper, you can feel and see (and maybe smell?) the accomplishment. Do it.

OK, back to the physics law from the beginning. Why do I care so much about getting started? Because, even if the workout is not your best, and even your effort level doesn’t get above 50%, you still did it—which is more than not doing it — and that is accomplishment. BUT, maybe the workout is a little more than mediocre…maybe it’s mind-blowingly awesome, and once you hit your stride, you discover that you ran farther than ever before, or did five extra push-ups or lifted 10 more pounds than you ever thought possible. If you had never gotten started, you would have never allowed your potential to shine.


    S. Fogleman

    Excellent article – well written – and most important “makes sense”. Well done, Cheri Fogleman


    Boy you hit the nail on the head, Cheri! I have long thought of Newton’s Laws of Motion as a paradigm for life…get up and go, don’t stop, go over, under, around or through to get where you are going! The only place I have fallen down on this Motional Mantra is physical training, where I have never seemed to be able to get out of my own way. But I’m proud of myself for working with my great trainer, Dr. Brad, for 6.5 years now! Now with your blog to read between training appointments, and it’s a seriously great start!, I’ll stay motivated. Thank you Cheri…for all you bring to all of us who know and love you!


    Thanks for identifying the biggest hurdle most of us face — inertia. Often just putting a name on something is the first step because it then doesn’t seem so overwhelming!


    Great article. I agree with the concept of the “feeling of accomplishment”.
    My Trainer Says: “Inertia”


    This is exactly what I needed to read today. I’ve always said (as an excuse I now realise) that I hate starting the first day of an exercise regime. This has always resulted in me simply not exercising. Now, thanks to this awesome article, I know that I only have to fight my lazy self for the first few seconds. I can do this. I will do this. Thank you!


      Awesome, Brooke!!! I’m so happy that this article made such a difference for you. Sending you lots of strength and drive!! You CAN do this!!!!


    This article has inspired me to return to my workouts. It’s just what I needed.

    Thank You!

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