Motivation (and how to keep it)
One of the key components to continued success is MOTIVATION. Motivation, whether it’s getting motivated to begin an exercise program or continued motivation day in and day out to progress in your fitness goals (training and nutrition) is crucial. My goal for this article is to help by giving you my tips on motivation and how to keep it. Understand that I will have to write another blog in the future covering more tips on motivation. This by no means is the end all be all. Just understand that this is a great start.
Look, life gets in the way of a lot of things you are passionate about. One in particular is fitness and nutrition. You start an exercise program with the right intentions in which you tell yourself “I’m going to workout four days per week and eat nothing but protein and vegetables (I’m not sure about the later but you get the point).” And might I say that this increased motivation usually begins with you either watching, listening, or maybe in a time of your life that prompts you to make a change for yourself, family, friends, etc. So the first two weeks goes great and you start to love training and eating right. Then life happens and you start to make some sacrifices (training and nutrition), but you keep telling yourself that you will make it up tomorrow. However, that tomorrow you speak of never comes or at least it’s not consistent enough to see any benefits. Fast forward (insert time period) and you end up giving it up, because of ________ (fill in your own personal reason). This sucks!
I don’t know about you, but this increase and decrease in motivation is frustrating and exhausting. You end up telling yourself “Why did I even start?” Sounds familiar right..? Your exercise consistency goes up for a certain time period and goes back down to maybe nonexistent or just fill in nutrition for exercise. It happens to all of us at some point or another. I can’t tell you how many times this happened to me when I first started my career. In a way you forget about the initial reason why you started in the first place. Let’s face it, most people want to focus on the end goal and as a result are not PRESENT IN THE NOW! At this point, the light bulb in your head should turn on. Nothing??? Let me help.
Light bulb ON!
So the remainder of the blog will discuss some of my tips when it comes to keeping motivation at a high and how to sustain it.
1. Create an Exercise Game Plan!
When it comes to training and nutrition, it’s all in the prep.
For training, I like to follow training programs that are right for me and my current goal(s). Currently I’m getting ready for a powerlifting competition, so I hired an online coach by the name of Miguel Aragoncillo.
Miguel and I at Cressey Sports Performance (Hudson, MA)
I’ve found that for myself, following a program works wonders when it comes to having a training objective each day.
My current program
(As a side note, I love to learn through personal interactions, reading, and going to seminars. I believe that the experiences you go through from a fitness standpoint is much more positively pronounced when you learn from others. Learning from others who have more experience/knowledge is vital for self-improvement). This method can also be used for nutrition as well. Precision nutrition has a great coaching tool called ProCoach that helps you learn the proper eating habits to that can be maintained for life.
Brett Bartholomew Presentation
I see it all too often with individuals who arrive at the gym and try to decide right there and then what to do. This may only work for a week maybe two until motivation is lost and you’re back to square one.
Tip: Work with a fitness professional you trust to help create a program that’s right for you.
2. Be in the moment!
The one thing I notice all too often is that people are only interested in the end result…
Well, the thought of that end result is awesome. Right??? You get excited, thrilled, and dare I say it, MOTIVATED to start your new fitness journey…Just one problem. You overlook the present moment. Let me explain.
Don’t get me wrong, having a long term goal is great, but how are you getting to that long term goal if you don’t have smaller goals to hit. Furthermore, these smaller goals may even be daily goals…
Daily goals or daily to do lists are essential for optimizing the most out of your fitness goals. I just read a book, The Perfect Day Formula by Craig Ballantyne that highlights the importance of creating daily goals to help you maximize the most out of your day and every day for that matter (just do this the night before ;)).
The Perfect Day Formula
Tip: Create a daily goal/ to do list for yourself (obviously include fitness). These daily goals may not be much individually, but the cumulative effect will help you reach your long term goal.
3. Surround yourself with like-minded people!
This goes without saying.
When you take that step to becoming a better version of yourself (I know, I know) from a fitness standpoint, be around like minded individuals. I can’t stress this enough. If you constantly surround yourself with someone that sucks the life out of you, stay away from them. This maybe difficult if you have a relationship with this individual, but you can always do something about it. Have a sit down conversation with that person and let them know how important this means to you. Maybe tell them that you want them to be a part of it (because they mean something to you).
Surround yourself with people who help fuel your fire
Tip: Surround yourself with like-minded people who keep your motivation alive!
4. REST/ACTIVE RECOVERY!
Give yourself a break!
Signs of overtraining?
What I’m referring to is making sure that your exercise program has days of active recovery. No one, including myself trains six/seven days per week and if you were wondering I only train four days per week (yea, only :)). Just recently I spoke to a guy who is in good physical condition for his age and he was telling me about how badly his shoulders were hurting. I asked him how many days per week he was training. His response was six days per week…It doesn’t take a scientist to figure out what the problem is. This guy was training too much.
So what’s the key you ask..? Balance!
You need balance in all facets of life. Honestly, if you’re training six days per week your diet is probably crap.
By giving yourself rest/active recovery, not only are you doing your body good, but also your mind. Furthermore, by giving your body and mind a chance to recover you will be better able to keep your motivation.
Tip: Use rest/active recovery for your advantage to help you stay motivated for the long run.
In summary: The four steps above is in no way shape or form the end all be all to becoming motivated and keeping it. Moreover, these steps are my tips from my experience in the health and fitness field and what has helped me achieve long term success.