How Time Constraints Can Help Increase Your Workout Motivation and Enjoyment

I fully recognize that you may not be having this issue. You might be flying by easily, crushing lifts day-in-and-day-out.

But, my DM’s tell me that I’m not the only one to struggle with working out as a former athlete.

Many friends, acquaintances, and strangers have messaged me to tell me that something in these articles is striking a chord with them.

If you’ve reached out to me, I want to express my gratitude for you. Thank you for taking the time to connect with me. Please know that you’re always welcome to reach out with comments, questions, or even suggestions.


Today, I want to offer two practical tips that you can use to drive home your new identity. I discussed the need to take on a new identity in my recent article, The Difficulty of Working Out as a Former Athlete.


Set an Upper Time Limit

As a baseball player, training was the most important part of my day. 4 hour training days were common on top of team practice and research. I was used to spending hours in the gym with no second thought. It takes what it takes.

Going from 81–95 MPH took what it took.

But now, my desires are much different. I no longer want to spend hours in the gym. I want to get a good workout in and then be out of there.

One way I’ve found to encourage this is to set an upper time limit for my training sessions.

Most people will try to do something for a minimum amount of time.

  • I’m going to run for at least 30 minutes
  • I want to train 3x each week

What if, instead of trying to work for a specific timeframe, you put a constraint on your time in the gym?

How might your workout sessions be different? How might your motivation increase?

For me, if I set a 30-minute time limit on my workout, I know that I can do it. I know that I’m only going to be in there for 30 minutes and then leave. I might not be able to finish all the exercises in my program for that day and you know what? That’s okay.

Your identity is no longer the athlete you used to be.

I received a message from a friend yesterday who is having quite the opposite experience. He said he loves working out now because he can finally do what he wants to do. I think that is great. I’m striving to get there myself!

But, I am not yet there and you might not be either. That’s why we can try different strategies like this time constraint to increase motivation and engagement in the weight room.

This can be a big motivating factor for you as you think about your workout throughout the day. Instead of dreading the hour or more you’re going to spend in the gym, you might be energized by the fact that you’re only going to spend 30 minutes in the gym that day. Surely, you can use 30 minutes of your day in the gym. It’s a much more welcoming thought and has the potential to drastically increase motivation and engagement while you’re there.


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