I recently read a piece of scientific data that makes perfect sense to me: A sports psychologist in England discovered that people who are more easily angered exert the most energy while working out. Moreover, angry people not only workout harder but also longer than their calm, cool and collected peers. This of course doesn't mean one should become a raging idiot at the gym but it does suggest finding some emotionally stimulating motivation before and during working out is very beneficial. Bottling up emotions is proven to lead to cognitive and physiological strain that in turn induces chronic fatigue which means you'll burn fewer calories and see slower body transformation even though you're working out. Worst of all, though, the fatigue that comes with bottling up your feelings also means you are more likely to become disinterested in working out altogether and miss out completely on its cathartic effects. One way to elevate the appropriate emotions for working out is with Music. Fast, pounding rhythms can help us ignore other limiting factors such as the discomfort we feel as lactic acid builds up in the muscles as we work out. Aggressive Metal or Rock music can be especially good for blocking out muscle fatigue because of its effect in elevating adrenaline levels that act naturally as an inhibitor to pain. We do however, feel every bump and bruise after the emotions and chemicals in our body subside later on and likewise, the day after our work out the aches of our efforts become apparent- but that's really satisfying isn't it? That's when you know your workout has been truly productive.
Now your choice of music is also important. I have some clients that never really liked metal music or heavy base music at all but now find (due to my influence) it's what they workout best to! In contradiction to this I also have a guy who listens to the most whacky, awful, unintelligible, Korean Muzak I've ever heard (Think Pinky and Perky on Prozac) but it must work for him because you should see the guy train! Still more people I know enjoy exercising to the strains of popular dance musicians like Lady Ga Ga which to me is the equivalent of audio water boarding but hey, whatever floats your boat.
I play my workout music very loud too, that way it blocks out regular world sounds that are distracting such as people talking, doors opening etc, etc.
Other methods of inducing motivation are:
Remembering past Success: Having been a bodybuilding champion during my twenties and thirties, I used those victories as motivation later in my own training when I came out of competitive retirement to perform a record breaking Strongman event. (see link below) By remembering how I felt then I was able to train as hard as ever even as I approached the age of forty. If you've ever had a big success that you can point to with pride, I suggest using it to fuel your current endeavor. If you can do it once you can do it again just by keying into how you felt back then.
Reminders: If you're forgetful and you're the sort of person who needs frequent reminders, do that. Arrange your environment so that you can't turn left or right without being reminded of something that motivates you. Make an inspirational piece of music your ringtone or hang boxing gloves in your office at work (I have a mini pair of gloves hanging from my rear view mirror).
You may by nature be the kind of person not inclined to show emotion, and that's not necessarily a bad thing-except in the gym. It's true that peace, harmony and yoga are great some of the time but you can't eliminate or suppress emotions altogether and especially when we are trying to work out hard to get in shape physically. We're human and humans sometimes get mad and feel like hitting things. That's also natural but just be sure you channel that need into the correct form at the correct time and your workouts will take on a new life! Meditate when it's time to meditate, but let loose when you need to be strong. That's the formula best suited to human beings that are only a few thousand years removed from living off our wits and hunting skills to survive-we have emotional issues that can't be entirely resolved through scented candles and massage. None of us are Robots so we all need a non destructive way to release energy (and the anxiety resulting stress of every day life) that, if left unresolved, could do us serious physical harm. There's no better place to do it than at the gym or during a productive workout.