Motivation is probably the biggest factor holding back people in their quest for fitness. I am going to start tomorrow, its cold outdoors so I will wait until summer, I will start when I’m going on holiday etc.etc…there are a million and one excuses as to why NOT to train…..but only one factor that will get you TO train.
This is really the difference between those that do and those who don’t, those that will get up at 6am on a winters morning for a 5 mile run, those that book hotels with a swimming pool and actually get some lengths in before the kids invade and those that make sure when they are in a new town on business they have a gym nearby they can use and DO.
Now motivation becomes easier the fitter you are and the more you train, the guilt of missing a session becomes deeper or the urge to hit the gym greater after a few days pigging out. You know the feeling you get after a good run or a class, the satisfaction of a heavy weights session and it’s not just in the mind, its scientific fact. So it becomes easier to remember and the drive greater, this is how people become addicted, honestly it’s like a drug.
You may have heard of endorphins, maybe you have a rough idea what they are, but let me elaborate. Endorphins are a chemical substance produced by the body that are released through exercise (amongst other things) and create a feeling of euphoria or well-being and a reduction in the sensation of pain, similar in fact to those of opiates. Runners high!! FACT.
BUT unless you are one of those few that were as enthusiastic at the start as you are now you have to work hard in the beginning, gee yourself up or find ways of motivating yourself to get going and start on that road to a better you. You haven’t got the experience of just how good you can feel… but you can, once you just get started.
There are loads of ways to do this, loads of little techniques that I have used or clients I know have used or stuff I have seen and thought was a great idea and put into practise. So here are a few techniques that will help you be that annoying person that is always on the go, no matter how many mojitos you had the night before!!
Triggers and goals
Keep a picture of yourself that you hate somewhere you will see and it will remind you of why you decided to make the start in the first place….especially if it’s on the fridge door!! If you have a certain image in your mind that you are striving to achieve then have a picture of that too.
You can write a list of things you want to change or want to achieve, with the date you want to do it by and have these on you at all times. Make sure the goals you target are achievable though, otherwise you may get despondent if you don’t and this could have the opposite effect. Goals can be from weight-loss, time taken to row 1000 meters or number of times you exercise a week, anything to help spur you on.
The more you remind yourself of what you want to achieve the more determined you will become. Add to this rewarding yourself every time you achieve one of your goals (I don’t mean with food!) and before you know it exercising will be second nature.
When you start out you aren’t going to be training a massive amount, so pick some times of the week when there is nothing on the TV, your friends won’t be at the pub and the kids aren’t going to be nipping at your ankles.
Book that time as exercise/ sport time, mark it in your diary and remember that you wouldn’t be doing anything else important at that particular time so there is no excuse. The more routine you have the harder it is to cancel especially when linked to my next tip.
If you train with someone you know what the pressure is like when they arrive outside your house ready to pick you up and you just don’t feel like it today…BUT you get your bag and get in the car, 30 minutes later you are wondering what all the fuss was about as you are both drenched in sweat at the back of the class laughing at why you put yourself through this.
It works, having someone to share the pain, to drive each other on to pressurise you into training when you might have skipped a session…and the more people you train with, the harder it becomes to wimp out. Just let them know that you may need some gentle persuasion at times, train with someone who is at least at your fitness standard or slightly better and in no time you find it second nature to push yourself and train harder when there is no one else to crack the whip for you.
Like I mentioned earlier, there are a load of excuses you can use as to why you can’t train today and this is just the elimination of all those excuses. No clean kit, go running in a dirty t-shirt (no one is going to smell you out there) or better still have a selection. And further still clean them more regularly…simples.
When you are starting out go and buy yourself some kit, something that is bright and makes you feel sporty. Get the correct trainers, ones that fit properly and are suited to your running style. The better the trainer the less there is a chance of injuring yourself (another excuse to not train!!) or if you are watching the cash, go and get a proper fitting so you know what to look for and then leave the shop and buy them online…we’ve all done it haven’t we???
Now make sure that you have your kit ready and out, if you are running in the morning put it next to your bed. If you were planning to go to the gym after work pack your bag the night before and take it to work, it would be stupid to go through all the groundwork just to sack it off wouldn’t it now.
Music is a brilliant motivational tool; otherwise iPods in gyms wouldn’t be so popular and made apple a billion. But music isn’t just a great way to keep going once you have started.
If you are feeling unmotivated or slow and that you may just watch Eastenders before hitting the streets DON’T. Get the music started early. Find that one tune that always makes you happy or gets you going. That song they played in Ibiza when you were there a few years back or the rocky theme tune… anything as long as it gets you moving, buzzing and feeling motivated. Put it on and have a dance to warm up, put it on whilst you force yourself to get changed.
Now you are changed and slightly sweaty it would be stupid to watch Dot Cotton smoke 20 B&H instead of getting out. Another thing to bear in mind is to have you mp3 player charged and loaded with all your favourite tunes at all times. Plug it in if you plan to work out and it will be a reminder to you as it sits by the kettle smiling at you!
Find a sport or fitness routine you love and enjoy, it doesn’t have to be running or the gym. You could try netball, surfing, football, rock climbing or tennis. All are exiting have a great team spirit or social side and all will keep you fit, tiddlywinks doesn’t count!
Read about fitness or the sport you have chosen, buy magazines and leave them lying about. These are full of great advice, well written articles and will keep you up to date with new ideas or different methods to keep your interest levels up. Seeing them about will remind you about your sport or keeping fit and healthy and prod at your conscience to keep up the effort, buy a subscription and it will drop on your doorstep every month like a timely reminder.
This is something that drives a lot of regular exercisers, if they ever have a workout planned but for one reason or another just don’t feel like doing it or can’t be bothered, then the guilt of missing a session usually builds until they end up forcing themselves to go.
The thought of feeling bad for the rest of the day, having missed the session and also the thought of how good you will feel with yourself if you do manage to persuade yourself to workout, are powerful emotions, especially if you have a target you are working towards. And having been in the situation a million times before I KNOW that once I start I will thank myself because I WILL start to enjoy it.
So you need to think about times you have done this, The feeling that you had the last time you missed a session…the low feeling in your stomach, now picture that elation you felt when you have managed to get going…even if you do just half what you were going to do. Keep those images fresh in your mind and use them to your advantage…it does become easier!!
Use a professional
Finally on a self-promoting tip (you didn’t think I would miss a trick did you?) get a personal trainer. This is what we do; we help to get you started, to get a feel for exercise and its benefits, to prevent injury so you can continue without gaps, to provide you with encouragement when you think you have had enough and to point out just how far you have come since you started.
We record your progress in ways that you may not be able to, to show how you are advancing, with fat loss, body composition, body circumference measurements and skin fold tests, all telling you how well you are doing and that it’s all worth it.
You don’t have to have a pt. forever, use them to start out and once you have a better understanding of what you are doing and what you want to achieve go solo throw them to the curb, most will be happy that they have helped and if they have I am sure you would have recommended them to your friends!
So if you need that little push in the right direction, and you live in East London or Essex, or anywhere close by give me a call, use the myfitnesspro contact form at www.myfitnesspro.co.uk and I will gladly have a chat.
Hope this helps and has given you some ideas to finally go after that body you want or healthy life you crave, or at least given you something to read whilst laying on the couch with a bowl of Pringles ; )
Finally there are a bunch of motivational videos on YouTube that are worth checking out, proper rocky balboa moments that if you watch before a workout WILL get you going.
Now go get em!
myfitnesspro – personal training in Epping, Theydon Bois, Loughton, Chigwell, Buckhurst Hill, Highams Park, Chingford, Woodford, South Woodford, Grange Hill, Woodford Bridge, Wanstead, Leytonstone, Walthamstow, Stratford, Bow, Mile End, Canary Wharf, Canning Town, Docklands, E1, E2, E3, E4, E5, E8, E9, E10, E11, E14, E15, E17, E18, IG7, IG8, IG9, IG10 and all areas in between