9 Ways to Maintain your Fitness Motivation
Feeling healthy all year round takes more than a fleeting commitment to get fit on January 1st. Sure, the initial motivation to “do something” along with the discount gym pass might propel you forwards for a few weeks, but what do you do when that motivation starts to wane? When your kids are sick, or you’re pulling all-nighters at work? When your alarm clock obnoxiously beeps in your ear at some hideous hour and its pouring outside, or your friends spontaneously decide to get drinks after work.
What happens to your #fitnessmotivation once the novelty of operation “new year new you!” wears off and the universe just won’t stop throwing distraction bombs in your path!?
Well don’t worry you’re not alone. It’s not unusual for us to experience lulls on our journeys to becoming better versions of ourselves. Being a little bit better every day is hard sh*t! So don’t expect to get anywhere on a wing and a prayer. You need to figure out what makes you tick and what’s the driving force behind the wheel for change. I can tell you this, if I only went to the gym when I feltlike it, I would probably average 2 visits a week. I rely on a whole lot more than my energy levels to get my butt to the gym and so should you!
Here are some tips to help you stay motivated to reach your fitness and performance goals, come rain or shine.
Maintain Your Fitness Motivation
1. Write down your goals
Something we really focus on at Own Your Eating and what we encourage most of our clients to share with us when they’re first getting started is their “why”. Remembering why you started on this journey isn’t always easy, especially when you’re tired or busy. Well NEWSFLASH, we all have sh*t going on in our lives. Do you really think the people who continue to train hard and maintain their gym routine have zero stress in their lives? Do you think they’re out there enjoying 27 hour days, or early retirement? Most of us aren’t at our CrossFit box or Orange Theory because we’re bored and looking for something to do, we’re there gritting our teeth and working our butts off because we have a very strong connection to our why. We know what our goals are and we know that it takes consistent commitment to training to achieve those results.
So take some time and think about what it is you want to achieve. How do you want to look? How strong do you want to be and why? What kinds of things do you want to be able to do? Can you visualize this new and improved version of yourself? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you become that person? What will your life be like? Write it down and maybe even record a short video of yourself vocalizing your aspirations. Keep this note or video somewhere that’s easily accessible and revisit it frequently.
Being clear about your intentions is awesome, but when that’s not working for you, making sure you have a good support system in place is vital. For me, I have a whole group of people who I know are expecting me at my local CrossFit – shout out to the 10am and 3:30pm crew at NNCF!
If you don’t go to a CrossFit or the kind of gym that has its own in-built community, then making sure you have an accountability buddy is highly recommended. Make a plan the day before, agreeing to meet at a specific time at the gym or wherever your chosen activity will take place. You’ll be surprised at the guilt-inducing effect of pact-making on your resolution. Avoiding that guilty feeling of cancelling a gym date works like a charm every time! You’ll find yourself doing your utmost to keep your promise and in the process, develop problem solving super powers to cope with whatever life-shattering disaster just cropped up.
“When you’re good at making excuses, it’s hard to excel at anything else.” – John L. Mason
Sharing your intentions with friends and family is another great way to hold yourself accountable. You know that when you see them next they’re probably going to ask you how your “project” is going. The fear of that in itself is motivation enough to keep putting the effort in. It’s funny how we’ll go all out not to disappoint others but when it comes to letting ourselves down, we’re quick to jump the gun & let ourselves off the hook.
Other ways of holding yourself accountable are by joining an online community on Facebook like our Tribe or another group with shared interests and goals.
3. Commit to a program
Before I found CrossFit I used to sign up for programs that were 6-8 weeks in length. Things like a beach bootcamp or an 8 week cycle of TRX classes at a boutique gym I used to go to. These kinds of programs work wonders because they often involve an upfront fee and a limited number of people so not only do you have financial incentive to keep you on task but you also have a small group of people who you’ll be sweating closely alongside for the next 8 weeks.
If gym classes aren’t your thing, then why not sign up for a season with a sports team? Above all else, we always promote doing an activity that you really enjoy doing because enjoyment is what’s going to lead to long term commitment. Even though I hated netball at school I decided to try out for an adult league back when I was living in Cayman and I discovered that I actually loved it! It was so awesome playing a sport and being in a competitive environment again and the girls I played with were a ton of fun. I actually found myself looking forward to it more than going out with my friends on a Friday night!
4. Hire a coach
If you don’t have one already then hire a coach. It doesn’t have to be someone you check-in with on a weekly basis and it might not even be someone you pay – although as mentioned above, the financial commitment can often help immensely with your motivation. As part of our Lifestyle memberships we ask clients to track their workouts as well as their nutrition because we know the whole package is important for getting results. We encourage clients to share their goals with us in respect to their training and we keep them in check about it. If you go to a CrossFit, share your goals with one of your coaches and ask them to help keep you accountable, I’m sure they’ll happily oblige!
5. Vary your training
There’s no sense in trying to force a square peg through a round hole so if you’re really struggling to get to the gym, then try varying your training. Maybe Zumba, Soul Cycle or a session at Orange Theory might be just the vibe you’re looking for to reignite your motivation. Or maybe you just need to take things down a notch for a month or two and mix it up with some power yoga, pilates or swimming. Whatever it is, switch things up so that you’re back to loving your workouts and excited to get going in the morning or even after a long day at work.
6. Change your mindset
You don’t have to work out, you GET to work out. Work on your positive self-talk and reframing something that you might be finding a challenge into a victory.
“There is no bad weather, there’s only the wrong clothes.”
Check yourself! Is your inner dialogue holding you back? Writing down how you feel after your workouts is a great way to do this. If you’re a CrossFitter you probably already record your scores and keep track of your workouts. Do you ever make a point of noting down how you felt before and how you felt after? There are so many occasions where I drag my tired ass to the gym, quietly moan and groan to myself during the warm-up and then at 3-2-1 GO all that negativity subsides and miraculously 20 minutes later I’m saying things like “wow what a workout! I feel great!”and excitedly telling someone how I hit an unbroken set of handstand push-ups. I know how great I’ll feel after a workout that I stop questioning whether I should or shouldn’t go anymore, if it’s a training day I’m hitting the gym and putting in my best effort. That might not always be up to scratch but I know my body and know that maintaining a consistent routine is the best thing I can do for myself.
7. Change your environment
We can easily forget just how much our environment impacts and dictates our routine. Shaping your path means you’re strategic in setting yourself up for success. Here’s some ideas for how you can control your environment to dictate your success:
Put your alarm clock on the other side of the room – if you have to get up at some god-awful hour then this is a no-brainer. Getting out of bed is the hardest part so make sure your alarm is out of reach so you’re forced to leave the comfort and warmth of your bed.
Set a pot of coffee to auto brew – if you’re anything like us, then the smell of hot coffee wafting through the house will be a great way to tempt your tired ass out of bed!
Lay your clothes out or put your gym bag by the door – get yourself ready the night before so that you’re already taking steps to follow through on your plan to work out. It also helps so you don’t conveniently “forget” your gym shoes or socks 😉
Pick a gym that’s near you or that you have to drive past on your way to/from work – if your gym is miles out or a pain in the butt to get to then you’re not really setting yourself up for success. Ideally your gym or the place that you train should be somewhere that’s convenient to get to. Don’t choose affordability over geographical convenience because the chances are that if it’s not that easy to get to you’ll end up wasting the money you’ve spent on your membership by not going anyway.
8. Build in a reward system
Do you feel a twinge of guilt when you indulge in a mani/pedi or a massage or even a weekend trip away?! Well you shouldn’t, but why not build little treats like this into a reward system for all the hard training you’ve been doing? For example if you hit 8 days of training in two weeks, book yourself in for that massage, or if you complete all your planned sessions for a 16-week cycle book yourself that beach trip to Florida you’ve been dying to go on.
9. Structure your day
An hour workout is 4% of your day! We spend 1/3 of our day sleeping so figure out what the other 2/3 is spent doing. Sitting down and going through your typical day and where all your time goes will be seriously eye opening. It will also help you to figure out how you can spend your time more wisely and fit in that 1 hour workout that we know you’ve got time for!
What do you do to keep yourself motivated when you just don’t have the urge to get to the gym? Have you tried any of the suggestions we mentioned above? Or do you have some that you think we should include? Hit us up by commenting below!