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San Diego, CA

To Get in Better Shape, Start Acting Like the Ocean

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Devin Arrigo
Devin Arrigo

Photo Via Unsplash

Getting in better shape is very much like the ocean. It comes, and it goes. Sometimes it’s high-tide, and others it’s low-tide. Sometimes the motivation is there, and sometimes it’s nowhere to be found.

But the one thing you can always count on is the ocean being there. Regardless of the tides, water level, or time of the day, it’s always there. Wave, after wave, after wave.

The ocean is incredibly consistent. It’s dependable. Each wave rolls in one after another, in a pattern so cyclical that you can predict exactly when the next one is coming.

To get in shape, you have to be the same way — dependable and consistent — despite waves of motivation or inspiration.

Learn to Ride the Waves to Accomplish Big Things

I recently completed my first ever Ironman 70.3 in San Diego — a long-distance triathlon consisting of a:

  • 1.2-mile swim,
  • a 56-mile bike,
  • and a 13.1-mile run

It’s a grueling race that took me more than 4 months to prepare for and nearly 6 hours to complete on race day.

Those 4 months of training were my high-tide

Nearly all of my energy and time outside of work was spent running, cycling, swimming, preparing meals, and focusing on recovery and stretching.

I loved every second of it.

My motivation and inspiration were at an all time high. Training was easy for me. Frictionless. It was something I wanted to do, not something I had to do.

When the race was over, I was incredibly proud to experience the fruits of my labor. My more than 15 hours per week of training paid off big time. I demolished my goal, finishing nearly 20 minutes under the 6-hour mark.

I rode the wave of motivation and inspiration during those 4 months. And it fueled me to finished what I started.

But then, with no new race upcoming….

Learn to Weather the Low-Tide Periods

Because I wasn’t preparing for any specific upcoming race, I didn’t have a structured training plan to follow. I was working out when I felt the motivation to do so.

When I was training for Ironman 70.3, I had to work out if I wanted to be able to finish. After completing the race, I had the option to work out, only if, and when, I wanted to.

After finishing the 70.3, with no specific goal in sight, my motivation was at an all-time low. This is my low-tide.

While this period of little motivation was definitely tough, I quickly learned to embrace it. Knowing that I have race preparations beginning at the start of 2021, I’m enjoying the ability to chose when I workout. Or even if I workout.

Fitness is a long-term game. I know that a short period of less workouts will be a tiny blip on the radar in a few years.

The more easily you can learn to accept and embrace periods of little motivation, the better off you’ll be in the long-term. Fitness is won over years, not days or weeks.

The Key to Getting in Better Shape is Leaning Into the Cycles

Just like the ocean, your motivation will come and go. Some days it will be high-tide, and others, it will be low-tide. The key to staying consistent over the long term is to embrace these cycles rather than stress over them.

It’s not uncommon to experience periods of intense motivation immediately followed by periods of zero motivation.

This is completely normal. Fitness motivation is cyclical. It will come, and it will go. Some days it’s there, and others, it’s nowhere to be found.

It’s okay if your motivation is lacking temporarily. Embrace it. Enjoy it even. A small period of fewer workouts will be a pebble on your road to fitness success.

Final Thoughts

Getting in shape is just like the ocean — you’ll experience high-tides of motivation and also low-tides. Both have their place in training.

Learn to embrace them, not fight them.

The key to fitness success is consistency over the long-term. One small bout of no motivation will not harm your overall progress.

Lean into the waves, embrace the lack of motivation, and do your best to work through it. In the end, fitness success is achieved over the long term. So don’ be discouraged if the motivation is lacking in the short term.