Weekly Fitness Tips

from Jerry Pitman

7 Points for Finding Motivation to Exercise When We’re Dealing With Pain

“How to find motivation through the pain of fibromyalgia?”

1.) When I first read this question sent in by Kristina, I thought, “Oh wow, how in the world am I supposed to help someone figure out how to find motivation to train through the pain of fibromyalgia when I don’t even have it”. And, then I remembered that the fundamental truths, the realities we have to face in fitness, are still the same and among every person. When we train, we have to endure. When we endure, we get to live in the outcome of those efforts. That’s the simple reality for each person no matter what their individual set of circumstances.

I may be a bit “over the top” when it comes to fitness (I really don’t think so), but I think of the hardcore soldier that’s got to go through the mud and rock, bleeding from his wounds, over the barbed-wire, down a mountain side, falling and rolling, cut and bruised, then getting back up and keep on going, keep running, not for glory but for survival. When our attitude matches that, it’s tough to keep us from simply lifting some weights or going for a jog on a beautiful, sunny afternoon (at the beach?).

2.) Light lifting may well help with the fibro pain outside of the workout. Lifting does, after all, positively effect the body in countless ways. Not to mention the endorphins, the serotonin and the hormones released during exercise. While endorphins and serotonin help enhance our mood mostly during the exercise, the improved hormone balance, will help enhance mood long after the lifting is done. I suspect serotonin can do this as well. As a lifestyle, it’s like lifelong energy and enhanced mood. While evasion and justification is actually the norm, ultimately, there’s no actual such thing. Lest we evade the very thing that will help us to feel better.

3.) Lift lightly, not too heavily and slowly graduate yourself into it. Notice I didn’t use the wording “ease yourself.”  That’s very intentional; there’s nothing easy about fitness. It’s a mindset. But, gentle resistance training may prove to be your Godsend. While there is never a guarantee, I would not be in the LEAST bit surprised to learn that it ends up helping with the pain once you formed the habit of 2 to 4 times a week weight lifting or doing calisthenics (bodyweight resistance training).

4.) Look at the long term; again, this is the same for everyone. If we want to live fit, we’re kind of working out for tomorrow or even the next year or the next decade to be better, healthier and stronger not just of body, of mind! Increased blood flow to the brain also helps stimulate mental process. We all want to be a little smarter even if we don’t feel the need for beastmode. But, I very highly recommend you catch the bug. Definitely expose yourself to someone who has it. It’s not very highly contagious but if you manage to catch it, it’s almost incurable.

5.) Even those who don’t have fibro can have a similar “defeatist” mindset. A similar way of thinking, and that way is basically in a mode of continual “seeking of a ‘reason’ not to train.” They have the tendency to look for a revolving “back door” way out from what is simply the responsibility of self care. And, it’s all either purely psychological, spiritual or both and probably even has a genetic foundation. And it can come in any form because when you boil it down, it’s really just as simple as they don’t “like to exercise” but want to feel and look like they do. Life just isn’t that way. So, knowing that this is the norm can be helpful to you to try and avoid that kind of strange, self-defeating mentality.

In truth, for some it will be harder, and for some it will be less challenging to stay hooked up.. but, when push comes to shove, we all have to stay hooked up if we want the results. And, in nearly all of our cases, commitment to the lifestyle and having the “beastmode bug” tends to mean living with a lot less pain later on down life’s road, provided we’re training smart.

6.) Now, this is my own quote so don’t be too critical but, “We can’t appreciate a refreshing, cool breeze without the heat of the sun.” In other words, we tend to REALLY appreciate the times we can ride easy and lay back, chill and enjoy life when and if we’ve really endured through hardships and hard work, labor, etc. That truth is fundamental and, it’s a gross under-statement to say that I’m a LONG shot from the only person who’s learned this lesson. I’ve since read at least one other author who’s expressed the sentiment in almost the same words. That’s because it’s true!  If all we ever have comes easy, then we truly appreciate nothing.


7.) Everyone works through/with varying degrees of intensity anyway; some are very fine with enduring a whole lot of pain, while others are much more “philosophical” in methodology. We all will only push ourselves only so hard anyway; so, the point is that you’re getting in there and stepping up and realizing yourself for who you really want to be. Each time you do it, you’ll not only feel better about yourself but, eventually, you’ll get so accustomed to it that you won’t think as much about it.

Try starting only with shorter ranges of motion, lighter weights, and very mild intensity work, just don’t ever let yourself off the hook for not getting in there and doing something because the “justification thinking” is what lands us back in the same place.

P.s. I would love to hear a testimonial if you find that your pain either subsides or goes away almost entirely. I would consider that a really nice bonus. After all, the concept here is motivation and motivation can be “positive or negative” but tends to “stick”. While inspiration is nice, it makes us feel good, but tends to dissipate much more quickly. Look for both, but especially to be motivated. That can last a lifetime.


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