90% of getting the body you want is not diet, or exercise. It’s mental. It’s motivating yourself to get to the gym, to push yourself through a workout and convincing yourself that no, you actually don’t want to eat that chocolate right now. You can have the best training and diet plans in the world, but if you’re not willing to stick to them then they can’t help you. It’s now just over a month into 2015, and about that time that many people start to forget about their New Year’s Resolution to be in the best shape of their lives. But this doesn’t have to be you! I have been training consistently for 6 years now, and often get asked how I continue to find the motivation. So here it is, this is what keeps me going:
Always have a goal. Whether its something related to the way you look, or something more related to athletic ability, or entering in a race/competition… if you don’t have a reason to do it, you wont.
Set clear, specific goals and write them down. Rather than just saying “I’d like to tone up a little”, each goal must be specific, quantifiable and with a time limit. A better example would be “I want to fit into my old jeans by Easter” or “I want to run be able to 1km in under 5 minutes by April”. If your goal is looks-related, find a picture of someone with a similar body shape to yours that represents your ideal result and stick it on your goals board. If your goal is significant, you may even want to break it down into smaller short term goals so it feels more achievable and you can be more confident of getting there.
Write it down. Before you even get into the gym, be prepared with a training program ready to go.
Train with a timer. You’ll be surprised at how effective having something beep at you is to stop you slacking off! Depending on the type of program I’m doing, I usually like to exercise for between 1 to 2 minute rounds, and then give myself 15 to 30 seconds rest between exercises. There is a simple but awesome little iPhone app for this called “Interval Timer”… and it’s free!
Make it a competition:
– Use a heart rate monitor and keep it up! Most good heart rate monitors will also tell you how many calories you burn. On the program that you have written out, write down how many calories you burned in each timed round and try and beat it each time you do that same exercise.
– Write down your reps/speed/distances etc and try and beat them every round. Compare again when you do the same exercises weeks later! Seeing improvement is a huge motivator!
Learn a new skill or set yourself a challenge, for example boxing, mastering a new plyometric exercise, or entering in a fun run. If you have something to work towards, training is so much more fun!
Train with a friend or personal trainer. Consistency is the key to getting results, and this is far more achievable when you are accountable to someone.
Dedicate time each week to prepare your food for the week. It doesn’t have to be all day, I spend less than an hour in the kitchen every Sunday afternoon steaming up some veggies that I keep in the fridge ready to throw into salads, omelettes or just heat and eat. Which means that making a healthy, nutritious meal when I’m busy during the week takes 2-10 minutes rather than 30… which I definitely don’t have time for! Remember, failing to prepare is preparing to fail!
Plan your cheat meals. Every Sunday I like to have a banana and ice-cream sundae, drowned in melted chocolate. It’s my favourite thing ever. But I will only have it if I’ve eaten well all week. So on Tuesday, when one of our gym members brings in some delicious looking home-made raw desserts, I think to myself “is this going to be better than my ice-cream sundae?” 99 times out of 100 the answer is no and I just remind myself how good my sundae will taste on Sunday. If I choose the raw dessert right then and there, there will be no ice-cream sundae. This way I’m not depriving myself, but just staying in control and maintaining healthy eating habits.
If I’m on holidays I want to let my hair down a little and enjoy lots of yummy food. So similarly, I don’t deny myself, but just allow myself one “bad” thing per day, and I exercise daily. If I find two “bad” things I want in one day most of the time the second one will still be there the next day and if not, then by only allowing myself 1 treat I already subconciously forced myself to choose the better one 😉 If you’re still eating 90% healthy, it wont be too hard to work off any extra kilos when you get home.
Making the right choices is not always easy, but it can be a lot easier if you’re excited about doing it. I hope these tips can help you too stay motivated and achieving your goals! And make sure you share with your family and friends, because when you’re having a day on Struggle Street, the people around you doing it right will be a big source of your inspiration!