Do gym sessions have you stuck in a rut? If you find yourself more drawn to scrubbing out the bathtub, mowing the lawn, or continuously waiting until next Monday to start getting your fitness on track, it's time for a change.
Mind you, it's perfectly normal for your motivation to wane at times. Even the most dedicated people who power through workouts and track their diets have the occasional slip-up. The difference is that people who seem "naturally motivated" have a few sneaky techniques under their belt that help fuel their progress.
You too can become one of "them" as long as you know how to structure your program. Follow these five tips to fire up your workout and reach your target results.
Refresh Your Playlist
There's absolutely no denying it, music plays a pivotal role in workout motivation. Not only has self-selected music been shown to increase performance during explosive exercise, but one study from Ohio State suggests that listening to music while exercising might improve verbal fluency and overall mental performance1. Tune in to benefit both your body and brain.
Most people come to a halt as soon as the music stops, so a fully charged Mp3 player is essential. Branch out from the basics and make sure your motivation holds strong by continually refreshing your playlist. Seek new music that keeps your energy up. Aim for songs that meet the recommended 120-140 beats per minute (BPM)—the pace that roughly corresponds to the average person's heart rate during a workout routine.
If you've been listening to the same songs for a while, change them before they lose their "pump-you-up" appeal. Find some fresh new music to get you excited to hit the gym again.
Watch Any Motivational Personal Trainer
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. While you might not be able to afford a personal trainer, turning to the Internet for some pre-workout fitspiration is a great way to pump up your motivation level.
The advent of YouTube lets you easily locate just about any sort of video that inspires you—whether that is an instructional how-to, a compilation of 'mirin-worthy photos, or a demo by a strong, powerful trainer you admire. Watch one or two videos before you hit the gym and, chances are, you'll give a much better effort.
Try a Pre-Workout Supplement
The next must-do if you want to keep from falling off the workout bandwagon is to try out a pre-workout supplement. If you have never used a pre-workout product before, you don't know what you're missing. If you've been using the same one for years, it's time for a refresher. The supplement industry constantly changes, and companies come out with new and improved versions and formulas of existing products.
Whether you're after more power, more energy to combat fatigue, or improved mental focus and concentration, you can find a pre-workout tailored to your specific needs.
Set Specific Workout Goals
While it's great to work toward that six-pack, or post photos of giant biceps on your vision board, short-term goals are paramount to your success. When you only focus on that long-term objective far off in the distance, it becomes much easier to skip a session or have one too many cheat meals. Take some time before you start each workout session and choose one or two specific things you want to accomplish during that workout. This way, your workout has greater meaning, and you have a real reason to hit the gym.
What's also great about this technique is that after each workout is completed, and you successfully accomplish the goal you set out to do, you'll experience a huge boost to your self-efficacy. You increase your belief that you can dominate any workout you set out to achieve.
Try One New Exercise Variation per Workout
Finally, change things up if you want to see significant improvements to your drive and desire. Try adding in one new exercise variation per workout.
New exercises keep you interested. We all seek variety in our routine and, if it's not being met, we're likely to skip a session. One slight change is often all you need to create the variety your mind craves. There is no need for extensive planning. A change could be as easy as using a different grip placement on the bench press or using a wider stance for your full-depth squat sets.
An additional benefit to using this technique: it prevents you from hitting that dreaded plateau. Having ongoing change added to your workout program is going to be vital to ensuring your workout success.
- Biagini, Matthew S.; Brown, Lee E.; Coburn, Jared W.; Judelson, Daniel A.; Statler, Traci A.; Bottaro, Martim; Tran, Tai T.; Longo, Nick: Effects of Self-Selected Music on Strength, Explosiveness, and Mood. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 2012, 26(7): 934-1938.
- Emery, Charles F.; Hsian, Evana T.; Hill, Scott M.; Frid, David J.: Short-term Effects Of Exercise And Music On Cognitive Performance Among Participant In A Cardiac Rehabilitation Program. Heart & Lung: The Journal of Acute and Critical Care, 2003, 32(6): 368-373.