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  1. #1
    Registered User sunsean's Avatar
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    Energy/motivation to lift

    I'm 39...been lifting regularly for the last decade. I'm not huge but in pretty good shape.

    Last few months - I can't seem to get motivated to work out. I mean, I still go 90% of the time, but it feels like I'm forcing myself rather than feeling that natural desire to lift that I'm used to.

    Don't know if it's just age catching up with me or what...no other big routine changes. Late 30s/early 40s guys: have you experienced a "slow down" and how did you deal with it?

    **I used to take PWO, but haven't been for a while...may go back on it. I didn't use it religiously 100% of the time I've been lifting, on/off, so I don't think that alone would account for it.
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    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Sometimes you just need a break. It wouldn't hurt you to do something else for a couple of weeks.

    The danger, of course, is you might not want to start back up again, and that's something to consider. Still, you may find that a short break will restore your desire and motivation.
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  3. #3
    Toronto Millz12323's Avatar
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    Pwo tends to get me in the mood. I'm not sure what your training is like but having fitness goals keeps me motivated.

    I have performance based goals that I'd like to hit by end of this year and next year and if I get to a point where those don't motivate me there's a tonne of Olympic lifts I'd like to learn and get good at. Got several years of goals in this sort of manner.
    Recent best lifts
    Bench - 250x5
    Squat - 295x8, 355x1
    Deadlift - 430x11, 445x8 455x7, 475x5, 485x2
    OHP - 145x10, 150x6, 170x 3, 190x1(@180 bw)
    3 mile run: 21:59 @ 170 bw.
    BW - 180 Getting fat mode
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  4. #4
    Weak and foolish OldFartTom's Avatar
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    When lots of **** happens, life gets tough or lose the enjoyment - what usually works for me is to simplify and intensify... get back to basics. What was it that you enjoyed when you first started? try to find that again. I'm nervous to agree with taking a break in case a 2 week break somehow becomes a 2 year break.

    Alternatively look for a challenge, the more "stupid" the better (sign up now for an OCR out in future, try to PR some lift and focus just on that, drop bodybuilding and learn Olly instead?). Do what you need to do to set a completely fresh challenge.

    Good luck. Enjoy...
    Faith in Jesus first and faith in squats second.
    Then other details will start to slot themselves into place.
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  5. #5
    Registered User grubman's Avatar
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    There are times when my primary focus is on lifting (I’m thinking about it 24/7)...but there are other times when I’m focused on something else (other hobbies), and lifting is in the background and primarily thought about only when I’m physically in the gym doing my thing for the day.

    I think it’s totally normal to have a wide range of interests and hobbies to occupy your time...and probably healthier for the average Joe than being obsessed with one thing.

    If you are talking, you feel like quitting...well, I’d just cut back to something manageable until you feel the love come back around (and it WILL come back around). I would avoid taking an extended break. Like Elrond said, sometimes breaks turn into years and years.

    I’m not sure how a preworkout fits into the mix. It sounds like your lack of energy is coming from a mental source, not a physical one.
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  6. #6
    Registered User Plateauplower's Avatar
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    That happens time to time. I’ve been in a rut for awhile. I’ve lost strength on bench due to a shoulder issue, lost ground on squats and deads due to a minor hamstring tear followed by some lower back issues. I just go in and do what I can. I took a week off of squatting last week and finally my back felt good enough to squat Tuesday, but only went to 315 for sets and my legs feel trashed. Adjust your training for awhile, focus on doing exercises you enjoy. I get mad personally when I can’t train optimally, but it is what it is. Use machines, rearrange your split, whatever it takes. I highly recommend continuing to train though even if your not feeling it at the moment. It’s way too easy for a “break” to result in not training for an extended period. I took a 10 year break from about 24-34. I don’t plan to do that again. I’ll drag my ass into the gym and do something, even if I can’t train as hard as I’d like or don’t feel like going in because I’m frustrated. Going to hit cardio in just a bit then my light-day midweek session tonight when the kids are in jujitsu class. Sometimes you just have to hold the line until things improve, whether it’s mental or physical things holding you back.
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  7. #7
    This too shall pass dazlittle's Avatar
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    controversial but have you thought about trying something different, even if its just for a while.

    Crossfit
    Olympic lifting
    Powerlifting
    Strongman.......

    I've recently started Crossfit and I'm absolutely hooked, ring musclups, handstand pushups, thrusters, burpees, snatch, jerk........
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  8. #8
    Registered User ajdahlheimer's Avatar
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    I'm 39 and have been lifting consistently since I was 16 w/o any breaks or lapses. For me, it is all about variety and changing things up. Whether it is mixing in completely new exercises, different forms of cardio, and dietary changes. As a home gym guy, I also change things up buy getting new types of equipment. Can be something as insignificant as a new attachment to an existing machine or something. Doesn't have to be expensive.

    Also, consider adopting new goals for yourself. Losing weight/shredding up, chasing a particular # on a certain lift, improving your cardio stamina, flexibility, etc. Lots of different things to attack during your workouts.

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  9. #9
    Registered User grubman's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ajdahlheimer View Post
    As a home gym guy
    A good home gym makes it easier in EVERY way to make it habitual and stay consistent. For me, it’s:

    Get up...work out

    There is never even time to consider NOT doing it (not that I would, because I love the activity)...it’s like eating breakfast, sh*t, shower, shave, brush teeth, go to work.
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  10. #10
    Registered User ajdahlheimer's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by grubman View Post
    A good home gym makes it easier in EVERY way to make it habitual and stay consistent. For me, it’s:

    Get up...work out

    There is never even time to consider NOT doing it (not that I would, because I love the activity)...it’s like eating breakfast, sh*t, shower, shave, brush teeth, go to work.
    I am pretty much a lift right after work guy, so normally around 3:30. With the exception of Sunday, where I will try and hit it around 10:00 am.

    I did go to a commercial gym (huge Lifetime place) once this summer as a guest of a buddy of mine. NOT my thing. Way too much going on for me. Couldn't get in my zone. But the last time I was in a commercial gym was pre-smart phone era (2003) if that tells you anything.
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  11. #11
    Weak and foolish OldFartTom's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dazlittle View Post
    ...I've recently started Crossfit........
    NEGGED!




    (just kidding)
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  12. #12
    This too shall pass dazlittle's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by OldFartTom View Post
    NEGGED!




    (just kidding)
    LOL I was waiting for that!!
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  13. #13
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    A few days off will usually re-charge the battery, even more if you feel like it. Taking a week off would be even better, you don't lose gains or fitness with a week off.

    I'm not a fan PWO, but do take IN-Kaged by Kaged Muscle. It's an intra-workout. Awesome taste and all natural ingredients, the 124 mg of caffeine definitely helps me. When I don't take it I do notice a little slack in the boost I get.
    Last edited by KidFreeze; 09-05-2019 at 10:38 AM.
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  14. #14
    Registered User sunsean's Avatar
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    Great responses guys - thank you, reps all around til I'm out.

    After posting this thread last night I hit the gym for my 'push' day and had a good workout. Usually, once I'm in the gym and lifting, I'm happy I made it in and get the most of my workout and feel good afterwards. It's the motivation to go in the first place I'm struggling with lol.

    And yeah - I've tried different things over the years, got into rock climbing, did some crossfit style classes with a friend, etc. My personal goal I've set for myself now is to get in the 'best shape of my life' by the time I turn 40 in May 2020...which is vague, but essentially involves bulking as much as possible over the next few months then cutting down as much as possible by the birthday.

    I love the idea of a home gym, but I'm in a 1BR apartment and don't really have the space. But that would make it much more accessible and not feeling like I have to go out of my way to work out. Someday, maybe.

    Really, the thing that keeps me going most of the time is the mental knowledge that if I stop, all the work I've put in over the years will be for nothing...I hate the idea of letting myself go, and as we get older, staying active is more important than ever. This is also why I fear "taking a break" lol. I mean I'll take a few days off here and there but have never taken a week or longer off...maybe I should just to "reset." I just need a way to relight the fire I guess so it doesn't feel like a chore.
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  15. #15
    Registered User grubman's Avatar
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    1 bedroom apartment?...simple...get rid of the bed! Plenty of room for a rack.
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  16. #16
    Registered User waknickm's Avatar
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    Food also can come into play. Some people when they are full (bulking) don't have the same mental desire to go as when they are hungry. I feel more of the workout pump when I lift after a long fast and that gives me the push I need to go hard. Others may need food for the energy to lift, so it is different for everyone.
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  17. #17
    Registered User ajdahlheimer's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by grubman View Post
    1 bedroom apartment?...simple...get rid of the bed! Plenty of room for a rack.
    LOL, I actually had my first Olympic bench in the one bedroom apartment I rented after college. It was in my living room. Srs.
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  18. #18
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by OldFartTom View Post
    I'm nervous to agree with taking a break in case a 2 week break somehow becomes a 2 year break.
    That’s definitely a concern, and one has to have a pretty good understanding of personal priorities to take that risk. I know when I was younger I was susceptible to (and fell for) that kind of mental lapse... my break lasted for 22 years. But then, I didn’t really know what I was doing or why I was doing it. Now, if I take a break for whatever reason, I’m always psyched to get back into it, it increases my motivation rather than killing it.

    Your idea of alternative short term goals is also good— and might even make any break easier to return from.

    OP should also look at diet, sleep patterns, emotional fatigue, or other things going on in his life that might make training feel harder than it is.
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  19. #19
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by waknickm View Post
    Food also can come into play. Some people when they are full (bulking) don't have the same mental desire to go as when they are hungry. I feel more of the workout pump when I lift after a long fast and that gives me the push I need to go hard. Others may need food for the energy to lift, so it is different for everyone.
    Sure is. I’m one of those opposite folks, I lose all courage and emotional resilience when I’m hungry, when I have a satisfied stomach I feel like I can take on the world!
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  20. #20
    Registered User Desparado's Avatar
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    For some, taking a week or two off do wonders for them. I am not one of those people. You have to know your habits and pattern and if you've been lifting for awhile you should know how you respond to breaks. I tend to get lazy and 2 weeks has turned into 2 months. What works for me is I change my routine, maybe do all machines instead of free weights, until I get my mojo back. That way, I'm still in a routine, still going to the gym, and still feeding the habit.
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    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sunsean View Post
    Great responses guys - thank you, reps all around til I'm out.

    After posting this thread last night I hit the gym for my 'push' day and had a good workout. Usually, once I'm in the gym and lifting, I'm happy I made it in and get the most of my workout and feel good afterwards. It's the motivation to go in the first place I'm struggling with lol.

    And yeah - I've tried different things over the years, got into rock climbing, did some crossfit style classes with a friend, etc. My personal goal I've set for myself now is to get in the 'best shape of my life' by the time I turn 40 in May 2020...which is vague, but essentially involves bulking as much as possible over the next few months then cutting down as much as possible by the birthday.

    I love the idea of a home gym, but I'm in a 1BR apartment and don't really have the space. But that would make it much more accessible and not feeling like I have to go out of my way to work out. Someday, maybe.

    Really, the thing that keeps me going most of the time is the mental knowledge that if I stop, all the work I've put in over the years will be for nothing...I hate the idea of letting myself go, and as we get older, staying active is more important than ever. This is also why I fear "taking a break" lol. I mean I'll take a few days off here and there but have never taken a week or longer off...maybe I should just to "reset." I just need a way to relight the fire I guess so it doesn't feel like a chore.
    There’s two ways to interpret this, I think. One is that your reluctance runs deep, and you just don’t want to give into it and maybe quit forever. The second is that you want a temporary break for some reason, but you need reassurance that you won’t lose everything you’ve worked for and have to start over.
    You won’t. Your gains won’t go away quickly, and they’ll come back quickly. There’s a lot of literature out there showing that an occasional break in training might even be beneficial long term.

    In my case, I had a medical break and I did lose everything and more. All I had left was the desire to start training again as soon as possible. So I started over from scratch, at 62, and eventually surpassed everything I had done prior to that. You’ll be fine.
    Relax! The fact that you’ve tried other things before and always come back to lifting hints that this is really what you want to do. I don’t think you’ll just up and quit. And don’t worry about losing it all.
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    It’s funny I think typing that out this morning somehow helped me. I hit my cardio session this morning on the elliptical then just got back from training while my kids were in their class. I’m doing full-body sessions right now, today for what should be my “light” day for periodization I did all machine work. We have really good machines at my current gym but I don’t typically use many at all. I think that will be the plan going forward for my light day. I felt like I got some good work in and didn’t beat myself to a pulp. New weekly split will be day 1 - heavy barbell day, day 2 machine madness, day 3 diabolical dumbbell day. Just like that new motivation. Didn’t do legs today though, can barely walk from Tuesday’s return to squats. I hate DOMS.
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    I dont take 'breaks'. Last 'break' I took turned into being out of the gym for a decade. Now a decade back, I have only missed about 3 or 4 workouts unplanned. This past year I was in a bad car wreck and had a fractured spine and multiple disk injuries. Training has not been all that fun. I maybe have enjoyed a handfull of workouts over the past year. But I understand the alternative.

    Considering I derive my primary motivation from pushing myself to lift heavier and heavier weights, I knew at some point it would have to come to an end. While I dont enjoy my workouts as much, I DO enjoy the other 99% of my life and what the gym gives me. Currently, in the best shape, I have ever been. Sometimes it takes a bigger picture to "enjoy" the pursuit. I am discovering that.
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    Originally Posted by dazlittle View Post
    controversial but have you thought about trying something different, even if its just for a while.

    Crossfit
    Olympic lifting
    Powerlifting
    Strongman.......

    I've recently started Crossfit and I'm absolutely hooked, ring musclups, handstand pushups, thrusters, burpees, snatch, jerk........
    This.

    Learning calisthenics and Olympic lifts got me excited again. Still lift weights, but starting with something fun like clean and jerk interests me more.
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    Originally Posted by induced_drag View Post
    I dont take 'breaks'. Last 'break' I took turned into being out of the gym for a decade. Now a decade back, I have only missed about 3 or 4 workouts unplanned. This past year I was in a bad car wreck and had a fractured spine and multiple disk injuries. Training has not been all that fun. I maybe have enjoyed a handfull of workouts over the past year. But I understand the alternative.

    Considering I derive my primary motivation from pushing myself to lift heavier and heavier weights, I knew at some point it would have to come to an end. While I dont enjoy my workouts as much, I DO enjoy the other 99% of my life and what the gym gives me. Currently, in the best shape, I have ever been. Sometimes it takes a bigger picture to "enjoy" the pursuit. I am discovering that.
    This! I don't enjoy lifting at all. I DO enjoy what it does for me outside the gym.

    Nowadays I lift to supplement another sport I do. It does mean I can't lift as heavy as I once did but it gives my training more of a purpose.
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    Originally Posted by Jtbny View Post
    This! I don't enjoy lifting at all. I DO enjoy what it does for me outside the gym.

    Nowadays I lift to supplement another sport I do. It does mean I can't lift as heavy as I once did but it gives my training more of a purpose.
    On spread.

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    Originally Posted by Jtbny View Post
    I don't enjoy lifting at all.
    Man, I must be sick in the head, I absolutely LOVE everything about the act of lifting. I always have. There has literally never been 1 day that I thought “man, I don’t want to be doing this”...but there have been plenty of rest days I wish I was! It’s almost like cumming every time I work out...ok, it’s not, but you get the idea.

    I took a 17 year break...which just goes to show how easy it is to stop doing something you are ridiculously religious about. Got out of the army, took a week to move, another to find a job, found the local gym but couldn’t afford it while Supporting the family ...1 month... 1 year....17 years later.
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    Originally Posted by grubman View Post
    1 bedroom apartment?...simple...get rid of the bed! Plenty of room for a rack.
    1 bedroom? no problem, no excuses


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    Originally Posted by induced_drag View Post
    While I dont enjoy my workouts as much, I DO enjoy the other 99% of my life and what the gym gives me. Currently, in the best shape, I have ever been. Sometimes it takes a bigger picture to "enjoy" the pursuit. I am discovering that.
    Repped. This is honestly as close to anything that keeps me motivated and going even when I'm not "feeling" it. I was 'skinny fat' for my teens and 20s until I got serious about training/diet, and I can't imagine going back to just "meh" now that I enjoy the benefits of being fit. I feel better about myself and notice positive feedback from society, and it's nice knowing that I'm in better shape than most other guys out there (especially as we get older). Not to mention they are coming out with more and more studies showing how important an active lifestyle is to age healthily.

    I honestly think for me it's a mental hurdle more than anything - I feel okay physically and usually hit my weight/rep goals for the workout, it's just getting my arse there that feels like a struggle some days.

    And re: home gym - the Murphy bed is a nice idea, will consider...the gym is it for now.
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    Originally Posted by ajdahlheimer View Post
    On spread.

    I lift cuz I like being distinguishable from others for something other than things like dress, face, hair, beard, and behavior.
    Yup. I do like to look I keep myself in shape for a 44 year old guy

    Originally Posted by grubman View Post
    Man, I must be sick in the head, I absolutely LOVE everything about the act of lifting. I always have. There has literally never been 1 day that I thought “man, I don’t want to be doing this”...but there have been plenty of rest days I wish I was! It’s almost like cumming every time I work out...ok, it’s not, but you get the idea.

    I took a 17 year break...which just goes to show how easy it is to stop doing something you are ridiculously religious about. Got out of the army, took a week to move, another to find a job, found the local gym but couldn’t afford it while Supporting the family ...1 month... 1 year....17 years later.
    Not at all, we all like what we like. I've never really loved it. Sure, there's been times it's been fun (lifting with folks from here for example) and I like to challenge myself but I simply look at it as a means to an end. I probably do less in the gym now than anytime in the last ten years or so and even that is a drag However, I NEVER miss my scheduled days. It's like brushing my teeth; I don't do it with enthusiasm but I still do it on schedule.
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