Top 4 Ways to Stay Motivated With Fitness
So you've decided to get in shape. You've been hitting the gym regularly and walking every day after work. But after a month, it isn't as easy. That initial drive doesn't seem to enough to get you out the door. Here are the top 4 tips I give all my clients at Bergeron Personal Training to stay motivated and to achieve their fitness goals.
1) Clearly Defined Goals. Written Down
Whether it's driving a car, hiking in the woods, or walking around city streets, if you don't know where you are, and where you are going, you're lost. The same applies to your fitness and your health. You may be telling yourself that you want to be healthier, but what does that mean? Do you want to lose 5 lbs? 10? Do you want to be able to do a pull-up, or run a half marathon? Don't just have a vague idea in your head of what you think you want. It's impossible to stay motivated if you don't even know what you're doing. Write down an actual goal. I also emphasize that its not what your personal trainer or spouse wants for you, its what do YOU want to accomplish. Make the goals your own.
Also, part of goal setting includes having a deadline! A goal without a deadline is a wish. Once you know when you want to hit your goal, you can formulate a plan on how to get there. If you want to lose 20 lbs in 6 months, you probably should aim to lose 10 lbs in 3. Work backwards to set weekly goals. Knowing what you are aiming for allows you to measure progress and adjust your strategy accordingly. That's why we start all of our in-person or on-line personal training assessments with goal setting.
In addition to the fitness goal itself, I like to have my clients write down a few things to help make the goal more powerful:
How will you feel when you hit this goal?
What will you be able to do then that you cannot do now?
If you don't make a change, what will your life be like in 5 years?
By actually writing out these answers, you will remember them on days that you may feel like skipping a workout, or cutting your run a few miles short. You know what you want, what you'll be able to do when you achieve it, and what your life will be like if you don't get dialed in.
Success is rarely achieved in a vacuum. Having others support and motivate you can go a long way to keeping you dialed in. If someone you know is counting on you to be at the gym every day after work, you are a lot more likely to go. The results of one study found that you are 95% more likely to lose weight if you workout with a friend or personal trainer.
Another way to stay accountable is to share your goal on social media. If you know your friends will ask how the training for your triathlon is coming along, you are much less likely to bail on doing it. So sign up for a 10k and share it on Facebook. Or tweet that you are going to lose 20 lbs by Christmas. Putting it out there to your friends and followers makes it real.
3) A Mantra
Having a short (just a few words) word mantra you can repeat in your head when the going gets tough can push you through those last few reps of bench press, or up that steep hill on the bike. During my Ironman training, my mantra has always been "An Ironman never gives up." I have had clients use mantras ranging from something deeply personal ("Because I am stronger than cancer") to something that motivates them from a movie ("Do. Or do not. There is no 'try'."). Whatever you feel can help you push that extra little bit, will help you succeed. Everyone hits the wall when they exercise. It's what you do when you get there that defines you. The last few reps, seconds, lbs, they matter most, and mantras help you get there.
Music has the ability to instantly change your mood and take you to any point in your life. There is a reason that every sporting event on the planet uses music to pump up both the crowd and the athletes. It works! Create playlists that keep you going during your workouts. I have different playlists for my strength training than I do for my running or biking.
(Bonus tip: For cardio workouts, try to find songs that match the tempo of your activity to help keep your pace consistent.)
Your ability to stay motivated on days you don't feel like exercise will determine your success. If you need help with these strategies or creating an effective workout plan to achieve your goals, schedule a complimentary assessment with us today!