Don’t Want to Exercise? Use the Braveheart Technique

Ben Southerland - Lego Braveheart

We all have those moments when we don’t feel like exercising.

If you’re a New Year’s resolutioner, “it” tends to happen right around this part of January.  Some have already given up, while others didn’t even bother starting.  Not Nerd Fitness Rebels though!

We know that when building habits, missing more than a day in a row is recipe for disaster.  This is why we follow through with our Hard Hat Challenges and make sure we stay on target until that habit becomes automatic.

But what do we do on those days when it seems like everything is working against us?

  • It’s REALLY cold outside, and we don’t feel like running.
  • We just got home from a long day of work, and don’t feel like doing the Star Wars Workout.
  • The alarm clock is going off, it’s dark outside, and it’s all warm and cozy in our beds.

How do you get from that point of lethargy to exercising, when you just don’t feel like it?  You know you should, you know it’s good for you, and you know you need to…but you just struggle to put one foot in front of the other.

Use the Braveheart Technique.

What is The Braveheart Technique?

braveheart sword

In Braveheart, one of my favorite movies ever (which also happens to have one of the best soundtracks and endings ever), William Wallace and his clan join their countrymen for a potential skirmish with the English.  

They’re decked out in epic war paint, giant weapons, on massive horses, and ready to cause mayhem.

After Wallace delivers a speech that has the entire Scottish Army going berserk, he saunters out to the middle of the battlefield to hear the “negotiations” from the English about a truce.  Ultimately, he picks a fight, the English are pissed, and a battle is imminent.

Wallace’s buddy, Hamish, looks at his friends and says, “Well, we didn’t get dressed up for nothing.”

Although the line was uttered in jest, I’ve come to realize just how important that mindset can be when it comes to getting healthy (which is slightly less dangerous than picking a fight with a whole army).

These guys put on warpaint, sharpened their weapons, strapped on their best kilts, and rode all the way to the battlefield.

They figured, they went through all that effort, so they might as well do the damn thing they came to do.

This brings me to the two points I’d like to make today.

1) Don’t get dressed up for nothing.  I interviewed NF Transformer Joe recently about how he was able to stay on target during his 10-month, 130-pound weight loss adventure. I asked him what he did on the days he didn’t want to work out.  He said, “I allowed myself to complain as loudly and angrily as possible, but I ONLY let myself complain as I was putting on my workout gear.  Then, by the time I was done getting ready, I told myself, ‘well, I’m already dressed up…might as well just do the damn workout!'”  Not surprisingly, once he STARTED the workout he figured, “welp, might as well finish it.”

Little did Joe know that he was using the Braveheart Technique, just without the war paint.  Now, if you decide that putting on war paint gets you in the mood, go for it.  I love being the weird one at the gym anyways!

2) Showing up counts.   If you don’t want to go to the gym, tell yourself that in order to build that habit, you just have to get in the car and drive. You only need to stay for 1 set of each exercise. That’s it.  If you have to, just go through the warm up and cool down.  But getting in the car and driving there counts. Walking to the gym counts. Doing just the first set of the Beginner Bodyweight Workout counts.

Showing up counts.  Get your ass to that battlefield. Hike up your kilt, use your 20 seconds of courage, and start.

Want to make these things even easier?  Make Step 1 as easy as possible. Go to SLEEP in your workout clothes.  When you wake up, you’ll be thinking, “aw crap, I”m already dressed to work out, might as well do it.”  Have your workout clothes packed in a bag by your front door before going to bed so you bring them with you to work, making it 100x easier to go to the gym after work.

And channel your inner Scottish Rebel.  Put on some epic Scottish Highland Music, watch a video on NerdFitness.TV, and get after it.

…Just be careful when doing deep squats in a kilt.  

The other gym-goers will appreciate it.

Your turn:

How do you pump yourself up and power through that initial “BUT I DON’T WANNA!” moment?


PS: We had an AWESOME site inspection last week at the location for Camp Nerd Fitness, which is coming up on September 18th, 2014.  We’ll be announcing a LOT more details in the next two weeks to great ready for our on-sale date in mid February.  We only have spots for 300 rebels, so make sure you sign up for the interest list over at the site to make sure you don’t miss out!

PPS: Good luck to all of the Rebels headed to Dallas this weekend for the unofficial-but-pretty-official Nerd Fitness Powerlifting Meet! Staci tells me she’s gonna try to figure out how to live broadcast the event on Saturday!  Keep an eye on the Message Boards.


photo sources: Ben Southerland – Lego Braveheart, Mark Menzies – Braveheart Sword

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71 thoughts on “Don’t Want to Exercise? Use the Braveheart Technique

  1. Try they have some great routines that are not difficult and they are easy.

  2. Most people hit the gym or pound the pavement to improve cardiovascular health, build muscle, and of course, get a rockin’ body, but working out with 230lb Bumper Set has above-the-neck benefits, too.

  3. I don’t know if this is a great tactic but I use the gym to procrastinate. I think, either I go to the gym or I do paperwork, and that gets me out the door fast.

  4. I’ve now found that removing the expectations around what a workout should be or look like has been the key for me. If I can just get moving without expectations I can eventually feel good about exercising.

  5. I go to a class every morning so that i can build in a morning habit. So on my worst days, i can wake up in an awful mood, perhaps even aching all over from yesterday, but I know that all i need to do in the next 15 min is to find my workout clothes, pack my bag and get out of the house. The gym will provide all the music, instruction and safety i need to snooze my way through the next hour if i need to. Usually I wake up enough by the time ‘Tonight’ by Jessica Sanchez [Bodypump] blares through the speakers.

  6. Fortunately form me my gym is across the street from my local library, and I’ve usually got a video or book to return. So I’m not allowed to get a new book unless I do my workout.

  7. My movie-choice pump up is from LotR, at the end of RotK, courtesy of Viggo Mortensen: A day may come when the courage of Men fails, but it is not this day! This day we FIGHT!”

  8. I’ve had day’s were I just don’t want to go but go I do… it’s been less fun since I’ve been banned from wearing my kilt to the gym.

  9. My favorite part of a workout (and the only part I really enjoy) is popping my earbuds in and rocking out to my favorite music as I pumping out my daily push-ups.

  10. I’ve never had a problem completing my work out after the first rep and I don’t need to worry about getting to the gym because for years I’ve worked out at home. It’s getting to do that first rep that really challenges me.

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  14. can anyone just cut to the goddamn Chase with a story instead of making people read for half an hour about a bunch of nonsense bulshit

  15. I wear my workout clothes a lot but then i dont do the work out… My workout clothes end up being lounge around the house clothes 🙁 i dont have the willpower and i cant find any suggestions that help i think im doomed

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