Motivation usually persists when there is an end goal in mind. In the beginning of a new program or exercise regimen we are especially focused on our new goals, but what happens when that competition is over?
You haven't had a date in months and no one is coming over the horizon? Or what happens three weeks after the wedding and you're alone in front of the television while your spouse is working, or vice-versa; what is going to motivate you to stick it out now?
Is there even a good reason to haul one-self out of bed pre-5 AM for that before work cardio session? Or to trek through the city for a 30-minute-quickie lunch work out? Although it may not seem so, it's important to continue the good habits you have formed, as it is just as easy to unhabituate one's self if we remain stagnant too long.
It's very important to be sure changes and variations to your exercise program and healthy eating plan are being made and monitored periodically throughout the duration of your program to prevent boredom, fall backs, cravings and weight loss or strength plateaus; and to help you continue to move forward in your new lifestyle as a healthy and fit person.
Once we get past that ever important habit forming first three weeks, the routine itself becomes easier; however this presents a possible new obstacle. If your routine becomes, just that, a "routine", you may become bored and thus lose total motivation to continue on with the current program.
I have come up with some helpful key ways to keep motivation high for the long haul, to help make your lifestyle change, truly a change for life.
Get A "Sponsor"
Once you have become familiar with your body and what kind of activity you prefer, if you find yourself bored still, perhaps ask a friend, co-worker or family member if they want to join you occasionally for a short work out. It doesn't have to be someone you already know, it can be a just-for-cardio or just-for-exercise friend, an on-line diet buddy, or a like-minded running partner.
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Having a workout partner greatly increases your accountability to your program; the likelihood that you will show up to exercise in the first place increases and you will exercise longer, as well as stick with a program or plan.
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This could very well be a result of our natural competitive nature, as well as the subconscious thought of having to be accountable to someone, that they will know if we just blow it off and don't show up, or don't put in our maximal efforts; this really helps us not want to fail.
This person does not need to be responsible for your every move, or bite of forbidden foods; that is a tiring and tedious responsibility that you shouldn't ask of anyone else, including your spouse; this person only needs to be aware of your goals and to help you stay focused on them, and discuss them with you; and help you keep in mind the importance to you of achieving them.
Select someone you feel has similar goals, and like motivations as well as your best interest at heart. Moms and spouses aren't the best partners due to their being bias towards us, it's sometimes hard for a loved one that close to see flaw, or success for that matter. An honest, caring and ongoing support system is crucial to your long-term success.
Consider The Effects Of Not Exercising And Eating Healthy:
When the urge to get up and go leaves us glued to the couch or the computer desk, introducing the fear factor into the equation doesn't always work, but is worth taking a look at. Alone, just the benefits of a regular, long-term exercise program and healthy diet are endless.
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Reported benefits include increased overall energy, better mental focus, more self-esteem, a better sense of control over your life, reduce your chances of a heart attack, less chance of osteoporosis, breast cancer, lung cancer, cervical cancers, overall increases in strength and stamina.
If you happen to be unfortunate enough to be stuck in a fluorescent lit, precisely temperature controlled office all day; you need only pop your head above your cubicle and look around to see the visible, immediate effects of a sedentary life, and a poor, quickie-foods, processed diet with no water. The terrible posture, the pale, sallow, oily skin, the lack of fit healthy bodies is apparent everywhere.
Consider this - In the United States, out of every three adults, two of them are overweight; that is over 127 million people and that does not include children and adolescents. Out of these, sixty million people are considered to be obese, with nine million being severely obese.
Obesity treatment costs 100 billion dollars to the health care industry every year, and results in over 300,000 deaths every year. You would think these horrifying statistics would have everyone in the office running for the treadmills, but it's not enough to scare some people into getting healthy and fit.
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Keep It Real; NO Quick Fixes Or Scams:
The number one question I get as a trainer is, "how did you do it?", and when I respond with, "A h-lluva lot of cardio, cut out all the sugar, and eat lots of clean food", it never fails that they look at me, nearly devastated. Perhaps they thought I was aware of that magic pill or potion everyone talks about. There is no secret, no trick, and no short cut. I am sorry. It's true.
Exercise and diets are victims of the fad game like anything and everything else. Certain contraptions might work, some pills and potions may cause a temporary water loss; which some people confuse with real weight loss (body fat loss), but it's not.
Most times with gimmicky equipment, the issue with them is that they get mundane and boring, some are cheaply made and break quickly after purchase. Boredom isn't exclusive to these gadgets, as it can happen with regular exercise routines as well.
To be sure you are in the clear, it's best just to stay away from the ab crunchers, bun busters and other infomercial gadgets that offer only false promises... Forever! You aren't getting a total body work out, you cannot eat whatever you want and still lose weight and always remember folks... we cannot spot reduce any part of the body. Sorry girls.
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Learning new ways to burn those calories, or new exercises will help keep your workouts fresh and keep your body from becoming efficient (too good) at a certain exercise, thus making it less effective than it once was.
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Avoid Temptation And Weakness:
If you are trying to stick to a diet, and you know you will over eat, or eat the wrong things in certain situations, simply put, don't go there. If you always go out with co-workers on Fridays or every Tuesday is lunch with your mom; you may need to change the group dynamic.
Suggest other social activities that don't involve food, or just take a hiatus until your will power is solid and where you need it to be to handle the social situations that can sabotage your successes. Look for friends and co-workers that have fun doing things that don't involve food and drink.
Don't Panic If You Fall Off The Wagon:
It's important not to allow a set back, no matter how dire, to sabotage your entire program. Everyone, I repeat, everyone slips up some time or another. The ones that finally reach that goal weight, or finally succeed in their programs are those that don't cry about it; they pick themselves up, take inventory and decide what needs to be done to rectify and move forward again. Let it go, forget it, and remember, tomorrow is a new day!
Make Fitness And Healthy Eating A Motto:
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Whatever it takes, no matter how hard or how awful it gets, I am doing this. When you are finally serious and honest about getting healthy and fit, this statement is simple to make and it's a fact. It won't be convenient to exercise some days, and other days it will be hard to eat right, however, staying 100 percent committed to your goal and visualizing the results daily is critical.
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Never allow any negativity, from yourself, family, friends or co-workers; don't let your new desire to be fit get away. The more you incorporate health and fitness into your everyday life the easier it will be to keep moving forward with your fitness achievements every day. Never look back!