Top Tips to Keep Motivation High
The best ways to keep motivated for a competition are audio, visual, and mental stimuli. Audio stimuli consist of people’s appreciative comments, music, and training partner encouragement. Visual stimuli consist of your progress pictures, weight room mirrors, motivational posters, and seeing the physiques of others.
While motivation is high starting a fitness/health goal I would say it is important to surround yourself with some motivational essentials:
1. Supportive friends – This is the time to realise who in your friend circles are motivated by the same goals or enjoy the type of lifestyle you are about to commit to. Surrounding yourself or keeping in regular contact with these friends will help your motivation at the beginning and throughout. If you don’t have social circles that are into fitness you need to reach out and make some new friends to add to you social life. IF you are a social person as simple as getting chatting to that gym/class member you see regularly and you potentially think is in good shape, a compliment for them will always open up a conversation and make them more likely to help you. Being honest with your approach and not being weird about it or creepy is definitely a good tactic and no this isn’t the time to pick up women for all the men reading this. When surrounded by like minded or supportive individuals you are more likely to achieve, unsupportive friends are more likely to derail your attempts unconsciously to make themselves feel better. I am sure some of you have experienced results and friends to pay you compliments only to have said friend or others put a little pressure on you to go out for drinks or have a takeaway with them to make themselves feel better before they gorge out on unnecessary foods. Research has proven that being a part of a social group or network will help stick to achieving a goal and completing more than going it alone. That is why being involved in our 12 week transformation challenges are there on social media websites.
2. Putting it out there – Another vital ingredient is putting your goal out there, letting people know you are out to achieve will make you accountable, if you don’t tell anyone you can easily skip on workouts or cheat on your nutrition making it a lot easier to fall off the wagon. Write it down ensuring it is a SMART goal:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Realistic
T – Time
Once noted put it on your fridge or somewhere you can see it and can remind yourself daily, if you are not sure how to set yourself realistic goals this is where you experienced fitness friends new found or old come in handy, or for some expert advice you could hire a personal trainer that knows what they are talking about and have achieved goals with many a client.
3. Visual motivation – Number 2 comes under this category but have regular visual stimulation that will motivate you often helps. Be realistic look at high profile individuals in the media, are there any you would aspire to look like. When I say realistic don’t go choosing a stick thing catwalk model when you are not a skinny frame, someone you could see being the same shape as you now at some point in their life but they currently lead a healthier active lifestyle than you currently, hence the realistic aspiration to look similar. Don’t get me wrong here though we are not trying to mimic someone else as we are all individuals but some like comparison won’t hurt. Social media is great for this to keep my motivation up I follow many fitness pages that post regular pictures of fitness models and physique trainees as it is something that motivates me. PT-ME personal training Facebook page often posts motivational pictures or quotes to help.
4. Even if you can’t afford personal training I would always highly recommend coming to see us or a professional just for the initial programming and guidance, if you are highly motivated we have seen many a success from those that are motivated but lack direction. We therefore get the one off booking to programme and go over nutrition pointers before sending you on your way. Check in at later periods help but aren’t always necessary if the principles have been taken on board.
Tips to keep the train moving
So above were the tips to get started and to start strong, if you have ticked at least 3 of the above you are good to go. Now to keep the motivation moving we need a few things to add:
1. Always start with pictures and measurements, waking up and looking at yourself everyday in the mirror doesn’t cut it as you will not see the changes as easily, looking at a picture a couple weeks ago and seeing no change will mean action needs to be taken, seeing progress in those 2 weeks however will only spur you on for greater results. Points to think of for measurements are to get someone else to do it or ensure your own accuracy, use a mirror so you can see the level you are measuring rather than bending down and potentially adding extra circumference. I always measure people just under the belly button and around the widest part of the hips as the two bare minimum measurements. If you wish to do more then go ahead but make sure you know where you measure to repeat again. Women need to bear in mind time of the month also as water retention or being bloated will be different around or during your monthly cycle. Pictures need the same conditions, lighting coming from a window is ideal but if using room light make sure you always face the same way, stand in the same point and have the camera same distance ideally.
2. Planning and progress – It is important to have a structure or a plan to your workouts or at least the workout you are walking into, too many times I see people walk into a gym with no plan, wander about and talk more choosing the equipment they are going for rather than having a plan of action. “Failing to prepare, is preparing to fail” is all too true when it comes to workouts and your food. Logging what you achieve will ensure next time you complete the workout means can progress, progression means adaptation, adaptation incites change, change means progress. Progress and results equal motivation being kept. If you don’t progress you will lose motivation through lack of seeing a change.
3. Rewards – chose your rewards wisely, where do you normally fall off the wagon? Is it your exercise or your nutrition? There is no point saying to yourself “If I stick to my exercise and nutrition for a week I can reward myself with a meal out and some wine at the weekend” NO! Food and drink should never be a reward if you do not have the self control to leave it at that one meal (this is purely based on if you deserve a refeed meal for your leptin levels, more on this in an upcoming blog). Rewards should go along the lines of mental, activity or even a present for yourself. Seeing a dress you like in a smaller size is a great motivator, if you want that dress you need to work hard to get down a dress size to fit in it. Treating yourself to a theatre break or a new book after reaching your first milestone.
4. Check in – I know I said it before but if you struggle with motivation setting yourself a session with a personal trainer for 3 weeks or 6 weeks in is a good tactic. New Year’s goals often fall off by day 21 and it takes 66 days for a routine to become the norm. These to milestones can feel like a lifetime so getting to them is key for your new lifestyle to become your way of life and not just a fad. Alternatively if you are wavering go on YouTube and watch as many videos you can find on motivation, motivational speeches or whatever subject you are aiming to achieve. I can get lost in YouTube by watching one video and clicking on a suggested video to the right and keep doing that until they start to get obscure and less about what you originally searched for.
Finally it is the small things that can motivate you; I personally found new found motivation just by using an iPod while I train, silly I know as research has told me this ever since I have been in fitness. Taking for granted that I figured music is normally playing in a gym but it isn’t music that I would always choose. So making a playlist specific to me and zoning out means I lift heavier, go longer and have more energy. If you are still struggling with motivation there are other factors with optimum nutrition and supplementation that can be tweaked to get every last bit of compliance out of you. But that is another more in depth blog.