It can be a really fine line that divides motivational success or failure when it comes to exercise. Having the initial desire to get into shape is one thing, but keeping it going can be quite another. So, we thought it might help to offer some top tips to keep you motivated when those negative thoughts start to creep in.
1 Set goals for your fitness training and be specific
The more specific you are in terms of your goals, the easier it will be to fulfil them. For instance, aim to complete a running or swimming event or to lose two inches from your waist rather than just generally aiming to get fit. Make sure you are completely realistic with your goals but at the same time make them hard enough to be a good challenge. Remember an unrealistic goal will kill motivation but conversely a goal that is too easily achieved can also lead to boredom.
2 Get an exercise training plan
Depending on your goal there are hundreds of ways you can approach your challenge. Whether that is with a bespoke training programme at the gym or a training plan for triathlon, whatever you want to achieve you can find a training path to get there. This will give you a daily goal, even if that is sometimes just telling you to rest. A structured plan will always increase your motivation and your chances of success.
3 A huge de-motivator is overtraining
It’s an easy trap to fall into but please don’t increase the duration or intensity of your training too quickly. It’s tempting to really launch yourself at your new favourite hobby, but if you do, there’s a real risk you will quickly become disinterested or injure yourself. With a structured training plan, you won’t fall into this trap.
4 Adopt exercise role models
Identify the things that really motivate and inspire you and then have constant reminders of why you are doing this. You might be running for a charity event or a cause close to your heart. If so, carry pictures of the person or people who inspired you to raise money for them. Alternatively if you are trying to tone your abs for a beach holiday or for your forthcoming wedding, surround yourself with reminders or prompts. If you remind yourself of why you are doing this regularly, the chances are you will keep doing it.
5 Record your training progress
Keeping a training schedule, logbook or diary/blog of your gym visits, running times, weight sessions, group classes etc, will keep you focused on the task in hand and allow you to accurately monitor your progress. It’s a great way of reminding yourself how far you’ve come when times get tough, or inspiring yourself to go even further.
Keeping things fresh and varied is a great way of maintaining a focus and interest. If you mix up your training with some cross-training it will avoid boredom and demotivation. For instance if you’re a runner then hit the rowing machine, bike, cross trainer once a week. It will give your knees and ankles a break as well as improving flexibility, strength and general fitness. If you train solo, then get involved in one of the group classes at Empowa to switch up intensity.
7 Go shopping for the right exercise gear
There’s nothing like the sensation of feeling like you look fantastic in your training gear to maintain motivation and performance. So treat yourself to some top quality training kit. You won’t regret it.
8 Have a treat
It’s so important to enjoy your continuing success so make sure you have a regular treat. Now that doesn’t mean eating a bar of chocolate after every workout (sadly), as refuelling on empty calories just won’t help you achieve your fitness goal. However having a particular food or drink treat once a week is a great idea.
9 Count the Steps
The current health recommendation is that 10,000 steps per day are for good health. It’s great for the heart, your stamina and your aerobic fitness. So try walking whenever you can and enjoy seeing how far you’ve walked every day.
10 Visualise your training success
If you can picture yourself achieving your goal and what it will feel like, those images and feelings will help to keep motivating you to achieve it. For example picture yourself fitting into a dress that's been sitting in your closet for a while. You are looking fresh and full of life enjoying an event with your friends and family. Christmas and Summer is just around the corner, so why not start now!