Four years ago, when I made my first visit to a local rock gym, I found my motivation to live a healthy life. Prior to that, I had written off most physical activity as not worthy of my time. I mostly thought of exercise as that painful, awful thing you muster up the will to do when you start feeling guilty about how many cookies you just ate. Sure, I did a good amount of walking, but really I was a reader, a gamer, and eventually – a baker. I enjoyed these things immensely, and I decided that they were how I defined myself. Many an attempt at going for a run with my college roommate and trying cardio classes at my gym convinced me – I was not athletic. Trudging home after a miserable hour of forced exercise certainly wasn’t motivating me to live a healthy life.
What I didn’t understand was that the motivation to live healthfully doesn’t come from some great willpower from within. The people I saw who used their lunch breaks to go for a run, or dutifully went to those cardio classes three times a week weren’t white-knuckling it through every class, thinking about how they couldn’t wait to get out. The difference between them and me was that they had a motivation to be there, while I didn’t. All I had was some vague desire to try to be healthier. This was why I would repeatedly find myself opting for a day sitting on the couch reading instead of healthy movement. Without realizing this key point, I continued to fail at my attempts to get healthy, until I found climbing.
I knew from the first time I tried climbing that it was for me. Mostly because it didn’t require me to lace up running shoes or try to hit a ball with a stick of some kind. But most importantly, it made me feel strong, coordinated, and confident. I found myself looking forward to going to the gym to climb, which had never happened to me. After a few months of climbing, I actually found myself wanting to change my nutrition, and I discovered weight lifting to help me get stronger so I could climb harder routes. In short, I had found the motivation to be healthy. Just completely by accident.
Intrinsic motivation is a powerful thing
The important thing to realize here is that I now exercise and have great nutrition (of my own free will!) because I found my intrinsic motivator. The joy and empowerment I feel when I climb is the motivation that I needed to seek out a healthy lifestyle. I wanted to learn about how to optimize my nutrition because I noticed how badly I would climb after a night of eating junk. I started strength training because I wanted to climb harder routes, which meant I needed to get stronger. It’s just a (fantastic) side effect that I’m healthier and stronger than I ever was. I’m lucky I stumbled upon this sport, because it completely changed my life for the better.
The rest is easy
Finding your own motivation to make these changes will be so much more effective than searching for that perfect exercise protocol or resigning to never eat a cookie again (and I’m not giving up cookies. Or donuts.). When you enjoy the movement you’re doing, you’ll do that movement more, and healthy habits will definitely follow. What’s your motivation for living a healthy life? Let’s discuss in the comments below!
Bloglovin: Come join me!
Are you on Bloglovin? Follow climb lift eat there to stay up to date on all new posts including recipes, and all things nutrition and fitness!Click here to follow the blog!