One of the biggest challenges people deal with when following a training program is staying motivated in its entirety.
Maybe you’ve experienced this before…
The first couple of weeks you’re excited about a new program, but then you hit a rut.
It’s not as “fun” as it was at first.
Going to the gym several days a week grows monotonous.
The novelty wears off and you miss a day, then you miss two days, and then you’re off the rails.
Worst-case scenario, you drop out of the program entirely and you’re back at square one, wondering what you need to do to stay motivated, to keep that fire in your belly, so you can stay consistent and reach your goals the next time you start a training program.
While we can deliver you the absolute best training, nutrition plans and support we can’t fill you with the motivation required to be dedicated to the journey every single day. (I always say motivation comes and goes but you should be dedicated to yourself.)
There are times when, for whatever reason, the road ahead seems treacherous.
So, let’s tackle the issue of motivation head-on, with real-world tools and strategies you can use to maintain your focus and stay on track.
Here are my top six tips for staying motivated, no matter what has you down:
1. Join a Group
The Internet offers a convenient way for like-minded people to come together for discussion and support in pursuit of a common goal. Social media communities are great ways to talk with other people around the world about training and nutrition. And not just talk, but celebrate accomplishments, share in the struggles, and support one another through it all.
No matter what program you’re following, you’ll achieve far better results when you frequently discuss your fitness goals and progress (or even lack thereof!) with others, in person or online.
Motivation Tip: Don’t just join a community, stay active on it. The most active users get the best results.
Being part of an online community, following a challenge, and engaging frequently (daily, weekly) with others doing the challenge, is about as active as you can get. Those who are deeply engaged will see better before-and-after results. Coincidence? I think not!
The more you know, the better your results. Understanding how you’re getting the results you’re seeing makes for great gym motivation.
Motivation Tip: Never stop learning. Thanks to the digital age, it’s now easier than ever to find information on training and nutrition.
If you know it, share it. That’s what I call paying it forward.
Few things are as gratifying as knowing that some tip or piece of advice—whether it pertains to stance, grip, food choices, or something as simple as encouragement—helped someone advance toward their goal. That sense of pride and satisfaction from helping a fellow friend can be a big motivator to get you to the gym and crush it.
Motivation Tip: There’s a fine line between being helpful and being annoying. Don’t be that person who feels the need to correct every other gym member’s form. Share the knowledge you’ve gained with people you think will be receptive. Start with friends, family, and online acquaintances. Don’t approach strangers, in person or online, until you’ve gained some respect and recognition in a particular setting that warrants you offering your two cents.
No matter how fit, lean, fast and muscular any of us are, we’re always trying to improve upon it. Some call that OCD. We call it dedication.
Knowing the sacrifice that others made to get into great shape helps us realise we can make the same necessary sacrifices to reach our own lofty goals.
Motivation Tip: Don’t let the admiration of others people’s physiques backfire and make you feel worse about yourself. We all travel different paths, and we all have different genetics and body types.
Also, take age into consideration.
Let other people’s physiques provide inspiration, not discouragement. “Success leaves clues,” as they say. If you admire someone who’s extremely fit, find out what he or she did to get so fit, and then incorporate that into your own program and lifestyle.
Having good music that you look forward to can help you stay motivated and get to the gym. Once at the gym, that music can help you have a better workout.
Research confirms this! A study I presented at the National Strength and Conditioning Association, using recreational exercisers as subjects, highlighted that those who were able to listen to their preferred playlist completed better.
Motivation Tip: Workout to loud high tempo music.
Often in life, the things that disappoint us, upset us, and depress us are silly things that add up and make us want to give in and give up. The stresses of life can derail the fitness plan that was supposed to help derail the stress to begin with.
Sounds ridiculous, right? Sometimes we just need to get over ourselves. There are plenty of people struggling with much bigger problems, so try to put yours into perspective.
Motivation Tip: Check yourself frequently. Are your worries and anxieties getting the best of you? Are you losing perspective and not being grateful for what you have?
Surround yourself with others who will also help to keep you in check and hold you accountable. Real friends will tell you what you need to hear when you need to hear it. Have an open mind and hear them out.