Starting out on a new exercise regime or diet can be really motivational – you want to change, you want to do it and you get going at a great pace. But after a few days when you don’t see any visible changes or instant results, and you feel tired, it can be really easy to lose that initial motivation all too quickly.
So how do you motivate yourself to strive for fitness and to continually strive to improve your fitness, reach your goals and get to a physical state where you are happy with your body and appearance? We caught up with 2x Britain’s Strongest Man, Scott Reid, who is a director at Focus Performance, who gave these tips for keeping your motivation up.
1. Make a fitness bet with an enemy
Challenge someone you don’t particularly like – a rude co-worker for example – to carry out a fitness contest with you. Set goals so the first one to lose 15 lbs or run 5k wins. It needs to be someone you don’t get on with so you will both be focussed on winning the challenge.
2. Link exercise to health
Get a health check-up so measure your blood pressure and cholesterol levels and then link your exercise goals with reducing the results of your health check. You will be improving your health and aiming for very real and important goals. Then get rechecked every month to assess progress.
3. Get a training partner
Try working out with someone else – someone from the gym or a colleague. Try not to work out with friends or family members as they are not so likely to take it as seriously as someone whose only motivation is their own work out.
4. Think about your body fat
Your body is always either storing fat or burning fat. If you understand this and think about the fat you are adding or removing to your body it can help you to keep exercising and stop overeating – take responsibility for your own fat. You can also try to pinch regularly to see how much fat you can grab between your fingers from your abdomen area – this can be a real motivator.
5. Join an online fitness community
As long as you don’t spend all your time chatting and not exercising, a fitness online forum can be a great way to stay motivated and find people to hold you accountable to all of your fitness goals. You will see other people’s struggles and achievements and sometimes just knowing you are not the only one having a bad day is all it takes.
6. Workout to music
Listening to music has been proven to help people work out harder and keep going for longer, particularly for exercise such as running or cycling on the spot. So create a playlist of some motivational music and get going.
7. Schedule in time to exercise
Plan time in your diary every month to fit in your exercise and agree with your family and friends that they will leave you that time to yourself so you can get on with it without feeling guilty or pressured to do other things. Plan in the time, but also plan in your exercise routine - decide what exercises you are going to do. Write it all down on a calendar and tick it off once achieved – do this every month.
8. Do any exercises you dread, first
If you plan a whole session and you finish with exercises that you really don’t like and dread doing, flip your routine around and do those first. That way you will be starting with a sense of achievement and you will be looking forward to continuing on to exercises you actually enjoy. You are much more likely to complete the routine that way.
9. Test your body fat levels
Get a personal trainer to properly check your body composition regularly so you can see how much fat you are losing and how much muscle you are gaining – having clear solid numbers can really help to keep you on track. Measure every couple of months.
10. Do exercise you find fun
If you absolutely hate running – guess what – you are not going to motivate yourself to keep doing it! Pick exercise which you enjoy and find fun and you are far more likely to continue doing it. If you dread your exercise routine, shake it up and do something different.
So next time you find yourself sitting on the sofa, just watching TV instead of exercising, try some of these tips to get your motivation back up and don’t beat yourself up. We all do it and it’s important to know that you are not the only one, and not everyone is out there getting super fit! Accepting that motivation dips and rises regularly, and using tricks to get the levels back up when they do drop, is the real key.