At a loss for motivation?
Being a morning exerciser usually means that when a change in my work hours comes around to force me to exercise in the afternoon I struggle. Bigtime.
Mentally my mind is already on its way home to wind down for the evening, physically my body has bypassed the idea of the gym hours ago and is already gloriously celebrating a night in at home.
It’s official, it’s late afternoon my is motivation gone, having a siesta in Mexico or something no doubt. Meanwhile my mind and body is left in limbo about whether to exercise or not. This is a time I find myself getting frustrated… at myself.
I have that internal struggle with my conscience willing me to just get moving because I have so many reasons and once I get going it’ll feel ok, but my body saying, hold up, you’ve done enough already, take a tip from Frankie and relax.
The fact I am training for an event encourages me to do so, and of course I know fine well that not exercising at this point is just not an option regardless of how long I spend thinking about it. But I sit here wondering how I can awaken my motivation to get me into gear and going.
Ok, so I wrote all the previous section about a week ago, and then lost the motivation to finish it. (Is it really such a surprise?)
So here I am, back with a vengeance after a great training week ready to not only finish this post, but also enlighten anyone who cares to read with some tips about kick starting your motivation for training.
First tip: STOP THINKING
I’m not sure about you, but as soon as I start contemplating a workout before it comes to doing it, I know I’m likely to find some kind of reason to hold me back if I want it. And the reality is, it’s not a reason, it’s really just an excuse.
Answer is then to simply not let yourself have time to think about it. Commit to doing a workout and make sure you have all the workout clothes, towel, drink bottle and anything else you might need and then keep busy up until the time you need to workout. Don’t let yourself worry about the specifics until you’re warming up, otherwise the details may bog you down before you begin.
Let’s face it, getting started is usually the hardest part, once you’re there you’re less likely to stop or find a silly reason to quit.
Second tip: MAKE EXERCISING EASY
Do as the girl guides and boy scouts do and pre plan. Pack your bag the night before and put it by the door with your shoes. Make exercising as un-avoidable as possible. This also goes for your pre and post workout food. Pack it in your bag and schedule an alarm on your phone to make sure you eat with enough time before hand and also afterwards. Skipping a snack and having super low energy prior to workout time won’t help your cause. Take care of the variables as much as possible.
Hell, if you really struggle, force yourself to. I often used to leave my car keys at work the night before so I’d have to walk 7kms to work in the morning. Before I know it, I’d be over walking and I ‘d be jogging, and then running. There’s no shame in having to find ways to fool yourself into exercising in fact you might be surprised at what you’re capable of if you’ve got no other choice.
Third tip: MAKE A DATE
If you’re driven by shorter term goals, make a date with someone else to meet them at the gym, beach or where ever you choose to workout. If you’re anything like me, you’re less likely to let someone else down than if you’re left to your own devices. You could employ a trainer, or just make a date with a friend, but if it is with a friend, make sure it’s someone who is reliable and who is generally more motivated than you. It won’t work if the other person is constantly letting you down or finding their own reasons not to be there as this will be more likely to cut down your motivation.
Alternatively if you enjoy working for long term goals you could make a date by entering yourself in an event so you have an external factor motivating you. It could be a month or so down the track, but it will give you something to work for. To really get your fitness level up there try to pick an event that is at least a few months away and just above your current fitness level. This will not only help to keep you working towards a goal, but even motivate you to improve your fitness level in time for the event.
Fourth tip: USE VISUALISATION
This might sound silly to some, but it’s easy once you let your imagination run a little wild. Remember the outlandish stories and situations you’d come up with when you were a kid. Channel your inner child and imagine situations where you would need to perform aspects of your workout to survive and see yourself doing it, or even better put it into practice! This can be imagining escaping a life threatening risk, or something mentally positive to empower you, either way it costs nothing and does no harm so why not give it a shot.
I like to imagine situations to make me run or cycle faster and press more weight. Some examples I used when running are to imagine my legs are like a racehorse, strong solid and built for running (ego inflating I know, but whatever works!). Or if I need to sprint I like to tell myself the ground is falling away behind me and I have to go faster to prevent from falling into the deep dark divide catching me. Other times I imagine my family is in trouble and I have to leg press a car off of them (ridiculous I know, but stranger things have happened) or pull myself to the top of a ledge to reach them, anything that relates to the movement I am performing. I have found this also works effectively for most of my clients.
Some have recommended to me imagining yourself on the winners podium for an event, but for me this has never worked. If I imagined that I’d probably start believing I didn’t need to work hard and be less likely to have a hard workout.
Lastly, if I’m really struggling to keep going then I like to visualise what the those in the armed forces have gone through so that we can enjoy the freedom we have to exercise outside safely and on our own accord. By imagining what type of training and hardships soldiers go through it mentally makes my silly excuses seem trivial and I feel like I owe it to not only myself but also all those who have died in battle to be stronger. This may not work for you, but it often gives me the wake up call I need like a slap in the face with a wet trout.
Fifth tip: REMEMBER YOU ARE AN ATHLETE
No matter what level of fitness you are or what kind of workout you’re gearing up to do, I believe each and every exerciser is an athlete. Our needs and desires differ by degree but not by overall type. Good health and wellbeing and to perform to the best of our ability is the underlying factor for most people’s desire to exercise. Therefore remind yourself, you are an athlete and there’s rarely days off, only scheduled recovery. Athletes are a disciplined bunch and so must you be to achieve your results.
It’s not about perfect, it’s about effort. And when you bring that effort each and every day, that’s when transformation will happen. That’s how change occurs. -Unknown