Finding your motivation to exercise

How do you find your motivation to exercise?

After my knee injury I seriously reflected on my exercise schedule. I had broken myself through inconsistent off skates training. An exercise regime led by my own notions of what exercise should look like and backed with a helpful handful of “I’m young and invulnerable”. My knee injury was likely largely caused by my long distance running converse, lack of stretching and the demands on the knee joint courtesy of roller derby.

After spending time off skates because of knee injury, battling my own feeling of failure and the realisation that I could get injured, it would be easy to assume that I was super motivated to exercise. This would be an incorrect assumption. My motivation was to get back on skates. The two tied nicely together for some time. I worked out and rehabilitated for that glorious day when I could strap skates back onto my feet and play a game of roller derby.

Motivation to exercise

In hindsight this really wasn’t a great motivation to exercise. What happened after my first game was that exercising became an obligation. And my personality is one that will do obligatory tasks until they fall out of habit or become inconvenient (nullifying all future obligation). That makes it sound as if once I was skating I stopped exercising, which isn’t true. But neither did I continue to exercise with the same sense of purpose. My gym routines became shorter. My morning rehab became a chore and I started to slip into bad habits of not stretching.

What I thought had been my motivation to exercise had been a false flag. I was not motivated to exercise I was motivated to skate again.

Shortly after this I started feeling guilty about not getting to the gym, and worrying about the possibility of re-injuring myself. I also knew that a move would be happening at some point away from the Lincolnshire Bombers Roller Girls, where my fitness levels were enough to perform, to the unknown and obviously intense London Rollergirls.

All these reasons caused me to pinball between super motivated to go to the gym and detesting the very thought of exercise. One week I would hit the gym 4 times and the next two not at all.

Insert further guilt here.

It was then that I started to reflect on why I paid for a gym every month. Why did these things motivate me to exercise sometimes but not consistently? And how was I going to overcome the exercise version of yoyo dieting?

Motivation to exercise

Since moving I’ve been pretty consistent with both my feelings towards the gym and my regularity in going. My motivation to exercise appears not to be fixed on any milestone. Roller derby, rehab, or even being skinny are not what I’m thinking about when I’m in the gym.

For me the key to my motivation and the answer to these questions was discovering that I enjoy the benefits of exercise to my everyday life. I understand the benefits of exercise to my daily life. I pushed passed the “I can’t be bothered to go to the gym”, or maybe “I’m not feeling it tonight”, into making it part of my routine. There is still fluidity in the nights I go to the gym. Or the intensity of the workout. But my emotions towards going to the gym no longer peak and trough. I have found a happy medium, and I’m already noticing the benefits.

Another thing that really helped me to find my motivation to exercise were James Clear’s tips on his blog. These are super useful anti-procrasination, pro-gym and creative tips. They were very easily applied to my life. It was also super reassuring to see I was already practiscing some of them.

I’m a London Rollergirl

Did you see? I’m a London Rollergirl.

I guess the title of the post really gives away the content of this blog post… I’m such an elusive writer!

If you follow me on social media then this news will not be new, as I have been shouting about it for the last week or so, but I genuinely cannot stop smiling about this. The reasons are twofold.

Aside from the obvious reason that I now regularly train with some of the best skaters in the country, have the opportunity to play at my most competitive within roller derby and fangirl in every session (no shame), there is also the return to security of having a league. I found being a transfer unusual and a little uncomfortable! But that’s for another blog post.

Roller Derby Number

I'm a London Rollergirl

For now, this short blog post, is a quick update on how happy I am to be able to say I’m a London Rollergirl. AND part of the Brawl Saints charter, which is by far better than I ever dreamed of entering London Rollergirls at! I can’t bout for a while but I can practice.

Becoming a Londoner: Tube Rage

During my daily commute to work this week I caught myself doing something typical of Londoners… I caught myself getting rageful on the tube.

I made a pact with myself when I moved to London. To not get caught up in some of the #FirstWorldProblems that Londoners experience. To not be that guy/gal/dude/other pronoun.

Becoming a Londoner: Tube Rage

Before moving to London I would say I already had particularly high stress levels when commuting. Lincoln, although a small city, has awful traffic problems and drivers that can only be likened to full time ‘Sunday Drivers’. My commute to work in Lincoln was too long to walk, but short enough that I could drive it in 15 minutes, on a good run. These good runs rarely happened and so insular car rage was a typical thing in my life.

Driving is not a typical way to commute to work in London, although I did bring Penny (my car).

My commute to work in London is actually relatively stress free. I travel to the tube station. I hop on a tube and I arrive in my work’s borough 10 minutes later. In total the experience takes me 30 minutes.

I say my commute is relatively stress free because neither aspect of the journey last long enough to cause travel rage. My commute to the tube is short. My tube journey is short.

However I’m now getting into my 7th week of this commute. I can walk to the tube and find the right train without looking at the underground map (achievement unlocked), I tap my contactless card like a pro and I even walk down the tube platforms with confidence that can only be likened to a catwalk model (exaggeration).

Aside from the surety and confidence gained in those seven weeks, it also appears that this week I had my first ever tube rage.

I am transforming into a tourist hating, tube competitor; full of rage and full time first-world-problem Londoner.

Average Adventures: Becoming a Londoner

After being cut up by some guy, who was clearly in more of a rush than anybody else in a packed tube station, whilst commuting home, I adopted the left hand lane to overtake the typical tourists decorating the right hand side of the escalator. I was seething because this guy had just rudely tapped his Oyster before I could tap mine and then maneuvered in front of me, without asking. Of course I had my headphones in so even if he had asked I wouldn’t have heard him, but the anger felt justified.

Upon reaching my platform, a small weight was applied to my shoulders as I witnessed how packed the platform was and how spread out the crowds were. I would not be getting my golden standing zone at the end of a tube carriage. Adopting a slumped stance I walked down the platform to a gap and waiting for the next train. As it arrived I was crowded, in particular by a thin, longhaired petite girl who looked to be feeling a mixture of anger and tiredness. THIS IS WHEN I TRULY BECAME A LONDONER FULL OF TUBE RAGE. Rather than practicing my pact of not getting caught up in petty London specific first world problems and competition, I practically fought this girl to get on the tube first, almost causing a blockage in the door.

Why? I don’t know.

I knew I could get on this train. There was no rush, there was space, but I felt this urge to be dominant and claim my place amongst all the available carriage spots there were, without sacrificing even one to this girl first.

You’ll be pleased to know that during my short tube ride home I woke up from my douchebag state of mind. I remembered my pact. I am going to practice my pact. I will not let tube rage become a thing in my life. I am taking the whole experience as something to learn from. There are more important things in this world than being the first one on the tube, or asserting some kind of fake dominance over those around you in doing so.