Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I want to quit lifting.

There, I said it.

I'm sick of it.  I've lost motivation and I don't know how to get it back.  I'm desperate to get it back.  I've even toyed with the idea of doing bodybuilding again because I had so much motivation back then. Maybe I want the discipline I used to have but I don't want to put the work in.  Am I lazy or do I just have different interests now?  I don't know.

I do know that unlike most people I feel better physically when I don't work out.  I can actually get up in the morning for work without it being a huge struggle.  I enjoy that.  Mentally though, I feel so much better when I do work out.  I feel like I've accomplished something when I go to the gym and have a good weights session followed by a bit of heart pumping cardio.

One reason why I don't want to quit is because I've set myself some pretty big goals.  I wouldn't mind quitting lifting after I've met these goals but I would feel like a failure if I didn't reach these goals before I quit.
I have aimed to bench press 100kg raw for nearly two years now.  I've also set myself the goal of breaking the current Commonwealth record for the deadlift which at the moment is 190kg.  None of these goals can be reached if I sit on my ass.  They also cannot be reached if I go to the gym maybe once a week.  They require some commitment. Probably more than "some" commitment, more like a lot of commitment.

I don't know what to do.  I feel like I need a break for a month or two (at least) but I don't want to take one because if I do take a break my strength will dwindle and I don't want to spend a lot of time building my strength up.  I feel like I'm stuck!  I've thought about just sucking it up and making myself go to the gym but when it comes down to it I REALLY don't want to go.

These are my thoughts.  Do you have any thoughts or words of encouragement or wisdom? Help!


  1. Oh no! Hm, can you pinpoint what is it about training you REALLY don't want to do/experience/have to do? Is it the soreness, the palaver of going to the gym, the time...? Would any of these things be solved by visiting a different gym, getting a(nother?) training partner, buying yourself some new kit?

    Having said all that, all good things come to an end and I'm sure you could transfer your strengths to other sports...

    Nic at The Fit Writer

  2. I've often wondered myself what it is. Sometimes it's the time involved.... it does frustrate me that sometimes I eat dinner at 10:30-11pm because once I've got all my chores done after the gym I can finally eat something.

    I think it's also partly because the gym I do go to is boring. Problem is, the gym membership is free at the moment. The equipment is awesome.... it has strongman equipment and all the necessary goodies for anyone interested in strength sports BUT it is boring and has no atmosphere. I like a busy gym and because this gym has just really opened it isn't that busy and most of the time there are only 3 or 4 other people working out at the same time as you.

    I have contemplated switching gyms or getting another membership, but I still did struggle a bit when I went to a super upbeat gym. I might look into this though.

    The tiredness I get going to the gym is a bit of a downer. I'm not talking about the initial tiredness but the after-effects during the week. I find I enjoy my job more if I don't go to the gym (weird I know) because I'm not struggling to stay awake at work and getting out of breath from standing up.

    So yeah it's a combination of things I would say!

    Thanks for the comment Nic :-)

  3. Oh man...hmmm.

    Honestly, I don't think you should give it up completely. Maybe take a couple weeks off (1-2 weeks won't really hurt your strength, it might even help)...and then see how you feel after that. Do you take deloads? I find that after a week or two of relaxing and clearing my head, I'm ready to go again.

    You've come such a long way, it would be a shame to see you leave it all!

  4. Could it be burnout? Have you taken any time off recently? Maybe a week or two off is all you need! :)

  5. Christine: I have been doing deloads with 5-3-1. I've actually been skipping the deloads and every 3 weeks I've just not gone to the gym for a week.

    Genie: I don't think so. I do know that after I did that powerlifting competition I've been struggling mentally to get back into the groove. That was a year ago now though. I've taken plenty of time off during the year. I think I had about 6 weeks off lifting regularly around April, May. My lifting has been pretty sporadic too so it's not like I've been going 4-5 days a week regularly, more like 2 days here, 1 day there, 4 days here a week.

    Perhaps after 14 years of going to the gym I'm sick of it? LOL

  6. Cut one day out of working out for one month........you could always add it back...if you feel the need or that you want to.

  7. Maybe you need to do something different for a month or so.... A class or something. Until you feel like you want to go to the gym.... I too would suggest a break.

  8. I experienced something similar back in June. It likely started earlier, like March but I kept dragging my feet through the motions. Finally in June I started taking time of. ALOT of time off. I went into the gym maybe 1-2 days a week and putsed around. I don't think I ever took more than a week off but I really didnt push it at all. I felt so much better! More energy, day to day I felt like I hadn't in maybe a year. I worried I would lose my strength too but mentally I just couldn't take it anymore. I dabbled with black box for about a month in August and then went back to a couple times a week again of a lift or a crossfit WOD. Finally, I started going mentally crazy in October and decided to get back at it. Initially the working out was simply saving me from my crazy self, I had a new mission. Then I really started getting my motivation back. And guess what... I am even stronger now than I was when I stopped. MUCH stronger.

  9. Nothing wrong with that, I actually smiled at the thought. I just don't see it as an option though.

    I'mn in the same situation, I'm sticking to 2 days a week at the moment, with the long hours I have to do at work, I don't have the energy.

    I wish I could tell you where the motivation is, but I find I have been faking it for so long. Why don't you reach your goals and have a 6mo - 1 yr break.. see if you miss it? you have soccer baking, husband and pets as hobbies - you wont get bored.

  10. Take two weeks off and and then get a free, cheap trial at the more upbeat gym.

  11. Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I think I will try and go at least once a week or at the very least once every two weeks to try and maintain or stay around about my current strength level.

    Shan: I too have been faking it for ages. I'll get a burst of motivation and it will last at most a month. I've just been struggling for so long and feel pressured to go to the gym which is absolutely stupid.

    Lauren: what's black box? Interesting to hear that you are stronger now. Did you build your strength back up or were you just stronger straight away?

  12. When I started training again I started where I left off and it took 2wks to 1 month to start hitting numbers I hadn't been able to achieve previously. I feel good and I know I can do more. I really feel that refreshing both your body and your mind with some much needed rest is imperative to regaining motivation mentally and strength. I don't think you can do as well with only one or the other. As to your question on Black Box I had my fiance put in his two cents as he knows more than me about it (he also put in his experience with 5-3-1):
    The Black Box (or Max Effort Black Box -MEBB-) is a weightlifting compliment to a simple CrossFit regimen developed by Michael Rutherford. In it's most basic form it is designed to develop strength for those doing CrossFit as this seems to be the greatest variable in workout perfomances. Black box is usually done two or three days a week as a supplement to CrossFit, although this is not necessary. The workout consist of workouts pulled from three workout pools-Upper Body(UB), Lower Body(LB), or Total Body(TB). Lower body would be squats of any type or deads. Upper body would be presses or dips or pulling movements if not done as part of TB or LB exercises. Total body would be snatches-all forms, cleans-all forms, or dead lifts-all forms if not used as LB or UB for that cycle. Sets are typically done in pyramid sets of 5,5,5,3,3,3 for the first round and 3,3,3,1,1,1 for the second round. A typical cycle would be three weeks if workouts were twice weekly. Posterior chain exercises are typically performed also-GHR's, good mornings, RDL's, etc as accessory work. If doing CrossFit with this program workouts are usually in the under 12 minute or less range with the occasional longer met-con if applicable for sport. The benefit here is that you can work on lifts that you want to improve and also those you want to maintain. The last round of a given exercise would be done at max effort so new PR's can be obtained. This system works well for variety as well as maintaining strength and conditioning.
    On another note, i have been doing 5-3-1 for six months now and feel your pain. For the last two months I have been wanting to switch programs. There is no rational for this as my lifts are steadily increasing. Variety is something that 5-3-1 does lack, except for the accesory work. I would encourage you to try your hand at some olympic lifts or some kettlebell work. There is no reason to abandon your love of strength training. I suggest looking to Greg Everett's blog and website at ww.cathletics.com to obtain Mike Rutherford's article's and CD's on MEBB. There is also programming for this at www.bootcampfitnesskc.com.

  13. Interesting, thanks.

    You know, I'm not actually bored of 5-3-1, I actually really like the program and I have been doing really well on it; I'm just bored of lifting. I don't think a new program or switching things up will work. That kinda think makes me excited for a week then I start to feel the dread again. I either just need time away totally from the gym or just go down to a barebones program or maybe just go when I feel like it.