When you start a new fitness program the initial motivation of getting a new body and achieving your goals can amp up your spirit and get you ready to blast through your workouts. But after a few weeks of a hectic schedule, limited results and far-fetched goals, you can lose motivation. We've got the answer to your motivational woes! With the following 6 tips to keep you motivated, you'll be ready to sport a smokin' summer ready bod in no time!
1 / Goal Setting
First of all, you need to set goals that are based somewhat in reality; that micro-tiny bikini, or hot black dress by spring? Both are excellent goals. Trying to drop 10 lbs in 2 weeks or even three weeks, is probably not going to happen without adverse health problems arising. Since nobody wants that, check out ways that you can keep going once you get bored, tired, or even run out of time.
2 / Plan To Fail
That's right. Expect that once or twice, in your get-fit-career, you are going to succumb to that cookie, late night piece of pie or extra serving of dinner, or extra glass of wine. Then you suck it up, take note of why, and you forget about it. Beating yourself up will lead to further straying from your goals. You're only human.
3 / Plan Ahead For Vacations And Trips
For out of town work obligations, vacations, or family outings, you need to know how to work out. Does the hotel you're staying at have a fitness center? Is it really a place with weights and machines and cardio equipment, or is it a bike and a dumbbell? Call and ask the hotel directly.
They don't mind they get these questions all the time and the photos on various hotel websites can be from the main site and not at all representative of what is actually at the hotel. If you are preparing and traveling with foods that need reheating, be sure to confirm if the rooms have a microwave, or a fridge or both. Some list a kitchen/kitchenette, and in fact it's only a coffee maker and wet bar.
Some high end hotels like the Hilton chain, as a rule only carry a small number of microwaves that need to be pre- requested and then are offered for a daily fee as high as $30. This is easily avoided by again, calling ahead and making your eating and workouts as much a priority as free parking, or king size accommodations would be. If you're driving, bring your own small microwave or hotplate, it's a great tool in a pinch.
If you're staying with family members, search the internet for surrounding gyms, and fitness facilities. Most if not all offer a 3-day FREE pass, often with no sales spiel attached. Even so, it's easy to politely decline and get in a good work out. Some of the bigger chains offer a week long free pass, consecutive of course; but if you are only in town a few days or so, it's an excellent and economical choice.
Also, as a rule, don't expect your distant family to have all of your healthy eating staples on hand; if you came to my house, of course, it's a bodybuilder's paradise of foods and supplements; but in most cases, plan to purchase items separately, and maybe let them know before you arrive as not to offend when you politely refuse those incredible home-cooked favorites.
Remember again, at first some people won't understand why you can't just eat this "once" or why you're on "vacation" and not indulging. After your visible success, they will come around and respect your healthy choices and admire your discipline.
4 / Socialize
In real time, not on the web, with like minded, fit people. Do you see another gym member or group exercise class devotee every time you workout, but have never said hello? Try it, some may not be receptive but others are also looking for a fit minded friend.
Also if hitting the bar or the local Hooters for wings at lunch is happening again already around you, maybe you should think about hanging out at the office with the other brought-their-own lunch folks or seeking out a group of people who eat organic, or are trying to lose weight together; and trying not to hang out with the gang except every couple of weeks.
Is there a group of mom's in the park or at your fitness facility that works out together or maybe a group of guys that cycle or run every day at lunch or after work?
If competing in bodybuilding, fitness or bikini is on your mind, seek out a well known, certified, insured trainer, or performance and competition team; this is an excellent way to stay motivated to avoid those junk foods, and get all your work outs in, as you're part of a team and accountable to others. Even if you're already very knowledgeable fitness wise, training or preparing yourself for a contest or competition is not advisable; always try and seek out someone who has prepped others before with some success.
There are people everywhere who aren't trying to shove beer and wings down your throat and sabotaging your fitness success. You just have to look around.
5 / Change Up Your Routine And Try Something New
My primary form of cardio is the Stairmaster for intervals; I do 2 minutes moderate pace (level 3) and then 1 minute very fast pace (level 9), usually for 30-45 minutes. For one past entire 12 week contest prep I did this every, single, day; sometimes twice a day. I was bored, and began to dread doing cardio work.
Now if you aren't preparing for a bodybuilding or fitness show, then once bored with your routine you may not have the inner drive or motivation to continue doing cardio. Don't start slacking off now, or ever! It's easy to get interested in your fitness program once again. The key is to find something similar to what your end goal requires and change it a little.
Since I enjoyed the stair climbing at home on the machine; I ventured out and found myself testing out the bleachers at a nearby arts school; it's a well cared for football field, track, and bleachers and stairs. I discovered that when I ran the stairs in full sprints, I was tired, and worn out in 20 minutes, my leg muscles busting out of my skin! Although I felt good after I did my at home 45 minute Stairmaster work outs, I never felt this completely exhausted and as if I had gotten a really great leg conditioning work out in addition to the heart pounding cardio respiratory work.
If you're a treadmill junkie, try walking outdoors with your dog, your kids if they can keep up your pace safely, or your partner. Most are resistant at first but often enjoy the side effects of a daily walk with someone else. Even walking those 30 minutes at lunch around the office, the building, or the park IS cardio and does get you fit.
Another great suggestion I personally have followed is to hit a class you never thought you wanted to try. I never liked group exercise until I found Body Pump, and I never thought training for mixed martial arts was"real" cardio/strength work out until I attended one beginner class. I was incredibly wrong. There is fitness to be found everywhere, in everything.
6 / Don't Think About It, Just Get It Done
Not to quote a super-famous industry sports brand, but there is wisdom behind just doing it; if you have a hard time getting around to exercising, the best thing is, don't think about it at all. Put those running shoes next to your bed and just put them on in the morning, first thing. Take your work out gear in your trunk all the time, with a fresh change of clothes and a few work-out towels and you won't ever have a reason not to get your planned work out in.
When friends, co-workers and family members ask you to do things, make it clear as to why you cannot help out or attend, because you have to work out. They will at first laugh or not take your goals seriously, if this happens just know how hard it is to do what you're doing, and that it's for yourself and your health and in the end they will see your success and focus and it won't be difficult to say no to unhealthy bar foods, office goodies, and favors for friends.
Don't delay starting because of a work project, or the kids have you running crazy; exercise and healthy eating reduce stress and improve your immune system so you won't be as likely to become ill while balancing everything else in your life.
Just get it done, it's an hour a day, maybe two if you're looking towards competitive goals. If you only got in half your cardio or strength training, don't lessen its importance, let go of the all or nothing way of thinking; something is always better than nothing! Remember, the time will always pass anyway and you can either be fit, or still making excuses.
- Fabio Comana; ACE Exercise Physiologist (via www.acefitness.org) www.acsm.org ( via http://www.acsm.org)
- The Stanford Center for Mobility (via http://longevity.stanford.edu/mybody/mobility/physicalactivity/ACSMGuidelines2009) www.acefitness.org www.bodybuilding.com