9 Reasons You Can't Stay Motivated To Get In Shape - Dean McMenamin

9 Reasons You Can’t Stay Motivated To Get In Shape

Struggle with motivation? Good at getting started with fitness and eating better, but always fall back to old ways? Wish you could just stay motivated for long enough to see the body you want in the mirror?

After a decade of coaching hundreds of men to better bodies, and formerly training Infantry soldiers to high standards of fitness, I’ve gained valuable insights on what impacts our mood, motivation, and ultimately our levels of action which leads to a result (or lack of).

Here’s 9 reasons your levels motivation might be a stopping you from getting in shape (and how to fix it):

1)You’re expecting to feel motivated.

Motivation is just a feeling. It comes and goes.

If you rely on that feeling to take consistent action towards a healthier, stronger version of you, you’ll only show up around 50% of the time.

No one feels motivated to get after it all the time.

Anyone who lives the fit lifestyle knows there will be times they can’t be arsed showing up.


They show up anyway, despite how they feel. This is why they’re successful.

So, rather than hoping to stay motivated, expect motivation to dip, and practice DISCIPLINE instead. Even if that means showing up in smaller efforts.

Consistency trumps perfection.

2)You have an energy problem.

Most guys actually don’t have a motivation problem.

They have an energy problem.

And that shows up as low mood and feeling lethargic, which is mistaken for ‘no motivation’.

No’s 3-7 covers everything impacting your energy.

3)You’re not active enough.

“I feel fucking awful after that workout” said no one ever.

Ever notice how good you feel after exercise?

Your body is designed to be a workhorse. Movement and physical work makes us feel energised.

But people are less active in modern society. Inactive jobs are more common, cars are now a household essential, food is so convenient, and a mind-numbing amounts of entertainment is on your TV.

Take stock of your daily screen time, find more ways to walk for errands, and prioritise physical exercise at least a few times per week.

4)You’re dehydrated.

Our brain thrives on that liquidy environment. Yet we can suvive on and get by on less than we need.

So many guys I’ve helped have formerly got by on a few cups of water per day.

Dehydration shows up as low mood, hunger, rubbish performance in workouts, and cravings for crap food and drinks.

It’s an easy fix:

Drink 2-3 litres of water per day.

5) You’re sleep deprived.

Honestly, this is probably the biggest reason so many men consistently make poor choices that sabotage their goals.

I could write multiple articles on the serious health dangers of chronically poor sleep.

To keep it brief, if you’r under slept (because you’re getting hours of TV time at night instead) you’ll be a moody git around your family, eat shit food and take the easy road more often.

Set a screen curfew. Start a bedtime ritual that helps you wind down. Get at least 7 hours sleep in a pitch black room.

6) Your diet is crap.

Eating lots of processed and convenient foods is one problem.

Not eating enough nutrient-dense whole foods is another.

A diet high in processed foods can lead to chronic inflamation, blood sugar issues and that shows up as feeling tired and lethargic.

Nutirent defieciencies can also show up as feeling tired and crap recovery from workouts.

Make sure you’re eating enough protein from real food, and a veriety of colourful plants every day.

Keep processed foods and takeaways to a minimum.

7) You drink too much booze.

Yes, said it. Your drinking habit is keeping you fat and stuck where you are.

I won’t get into a big boring science lesson about all the empty calories from alcohol that you’ll never burn off.

Or, how it’s practically like volunteering to be ill for days afterwards, making you less effective in your profession, tired, and demotivated.

If you have a drinking habit (if you would struggle to take an alcohol break for 1 month, you have a drinking habit, and potentially a drink problem), I’m guessing you already suspect it’s keeping you stuck in a body you don’t like.

Now’s as good a time as any to rethink it.

8) Your people are demotivating.

“You are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with”

I don’t know who said that, but it fully believe in it.

If the people in your close circles never set goals, are happy staying the same, and encourage you maintain low standard of behaviours that align with a body and life you don’t want?

You’re gonna struggle.

I’m not saying those are bad people. They’re just not the people to help you make the changes you want.

You don’t have to get rid of those people. But you DO have to seek out others who DO align with where you want to go, who you want to be, by encouraging you to raise your standards.

Join a gym. Go hiking. Get coaching. Join groups, online or in-person communities.

There’s endless oppertunities for you to recruit the right friends, mentors, and support into your life.

9) You’re unorganised.

Men are wired to provide and support their families.

Making time for ourselves can sometimes feel selfish, and so many guys put themselves on the back-burner.

So if you don’t operate off a schedule or book in your workouts or food prep like appointments, other stuff always comes up and you end up neglecting your health.

This creates the false illusion that you don’t have time and life always gets in the way.

But more time doesn’t just show up. You have to make time.

Planning ahead and treating your workouts like dentist appointments is essential.

Not actively making time actually creates more stress and energy problems, because your health and fitness is always an after thought.

When you map out your week and block off ‘you time’ consistently, everyone else gets the best of you…

  • You’re a more energetic role model.
  • More effective in your profession.
  • Potentially make more money through better productivity.
  • When you get ill, you bounce back quicker because you’re healthier and more resilient.
  • And you’re more physically desirable for the missus.

Making time for fitness and healthier eating is never a disadvantage.

Sit down every week and map your whole life out on a schedule, including time for workouts and food shopping, etc.

You’ll probably find that you actually have more time than you think.

Lets Recap:

  1. Don’t expect to feel motivated all the time. Instead, practice discipline.
  2. Fill up your energy with good sleep, nutrition, daily movement and exercise.
  3. People in your circles influence your behaviour. Find your tribe.
  4. Be ruthless at making time for you, and everything else falls into place.

If you got some value from this article, it would help me incredibly if you shared it with anyone else you think it would help.

Thanks for reading.


About the Author Dean McMenamin

Dean McMenamin is an Army veteran, father, dog-lover and body transformation coach to every day men all over the UK & Ireland. He's also a big eater of ice-cream.

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