Motivation - the best pre workout
Your fitness journey can take you to amazing places. It can make you feel happier, healthier, stronger, or faster. It can help you accomplish things you were previously unable to and it can take you from a relatively unhealthy position, to one of being much healthier, with the ability to cope with whatever life throws at you from both a physical and mental standpoint.
So, the journey can get you where you want to be, and the journey itself, while often hard work, can be amazingly rewarding and enjoyable.
However…..what if you are struggling to start the journey in the first place? What if you know you have to take the necessary steps to get from where you are, to where you want to be…..but you’re struggling to even begin, to even take that first step?
If you are feeling like you are struggling to get going, if you are missing the spark that makes you put the plan into action, what you may be struggling with, or even missing completely, is motivation.
Motivation can effect the entire journey that lays ahead of you, or just one of your training sessions.
Motivation is that intangible pre workout…..the reason behind all the effort…..it’s what gets you out of the damn bed while it’s still dark to get to work on reaching your goal!
So why aren’t you motivated? You know you have to do something to get where you want to be, so what’s stopping you?
There are lots of reasons to be struggling with motivation with the world in the situation it currently finds itself in, but the less time I spend discussing them in this blog the better, we are looking for reasons you should start….not reasons not to!
I get it, it’s very tough right now, but your reason for doing something should be stronger than your reason for not doing it.
What is my why?
The most important question you need to ask yourself and the answer to it will give you the information you need to give yourself a mental kick up the ass and get to work…….what is your why?
What is the reason you’re doing this…..whatever ‘this’ is? Are you looking to…..
- Gain healthy weight?
- Lose weight in a healthy way?
- Become stronger?
- Become healthier or fitter?
- Become happier?
Once you have your ‘why’ you can structure to a plan. Another bonus of having your ‘why’ is that the end goal has something you can aim for. This is an important point so make sure you read it carefully……
Once you have a target point, every bit of work you do from here until you reach that point is progress.
For a lot of people, that is brilliant motivation, the fact that they can progress through working on a plan. Seeing how far you have been able to come since you started the journey can push you when you are struggling to motivate yourself on days when your bed seems comfy and the idea of grinding out another training session is less than appealing!
What is it that actually motivates you? We can talk about breaking down targets and goals and how they can then be put into a structured plan in another blog. But I want to talk about the actual motivation to do the work, even if’s going to be tough, even if you don’t want to do it all the time, how do you win the internal battle with yourself to go get it done?!
So depending on your ‘why’ your motivation could come from;
- Seeing progress
Following on from the sentence above that you carefully read…..a lot of people get a massive boost from seeing how far they’ve come. This can be over the course of a training session, a month, or since they first started the journey they’re on. If this is you, think about how far you’ve come already and the potential positive effect this session or this journey will add to reaching your end goal and ultimately improve you as a person.
- The actual training or exercise
I am someone who falls into this category, my motivation comes from the fact that I have the ability to exercise and do something I actually like. It could be playing basketball, or resistance training in the gym…..I enjoy the exercise I do! (N.B, I am still not a massive running fan and get my motivation to do it from seeing progress, as in the first motivational point!)
- Improving your health, fitness, or wellbeing
It is no secret that exercise and a healthier lifestyle can improve both your physical and mental states. Some people will need to exercise to improve their health; e.g. to lose weight and take pressure off their heart. Some people will need to exercise to improve their mental health; e.g. someone who suffers from depression can use exercise to alleviate their symptoms and help them to lessen feelings of depression or anxiety.
For people who fall into this motivational category, their health is their motivation; to improve their current quality of life they need to lead a healthier, more active lifestyle.
The goal here is that exercise leads to becoming healthy and then the motivational factor can change after you reach the point of being in a ‘healthy’ physical or mental state.
- The end goal
Probably the most common motivational factor. I have coached a lot of people who are losing weight for an occasion, such as wedding or photo shoot. I have also trained people who are preparing for a sporting event (climbing mountains and 10k runs spring to mind).
The motivation for these people was all the same….they wanted to be able to accomplish something that they currently could not do or to be in a place they currently weren’t. Their motivation was to succeed in hitting a target, an inherent part of this type of motivation, is that you often want to do it for other people too…..your partner or maybe your team. By definition then, this motivation carries the most pressure, as you are not just doing it for yourself. At the same time, hitting a goal for yourself that other people will also benefit from, is a huge motivator!
Of course, being motivated because you have a good reason is great, but there are things you can do to throw fuel on the motivational fire;
Find a training buddy – having someone to push you when you’re not really up for it, or having a partner rely on you to turn up and motivate them, can drive you to do those sessions that wouldn’t get done if you were left to your own devices!
Mix it up – familiarity breeds contempt….if you struggle to motivate yourself to exercise, you need to make sure it’s not boring! Keep the training varied, whilst keeping your end goal in mind. Different types of training will keep things fresh and allow you to explore different types of exercise, this will mean you are more likely to find something you enjoy which will lessen the issue of lacking motivation!
Surround yourself with motivation – exercise classes, sports teams, CrossFit sessions….the thing all of these have in common is that they have a group or social element to them. A lot of people find it much easier to exercise when you are around people who are almost professional motivators……have you ever seen a Les Mills instructor lead a session?? The motivation here comes from enjoying the exercise due to being in a group dynamic, this also plays on the motivation of not wanting to let people down.
Focus on the positives – sometimes you will not be able to do the session you had planned, that doesn’t mean you have to give up and do nothing. You might not be able to go for a 5k run or do that gym session, but do you have time to run sprints or to do a 20 minute bodyweight circuit? Use these moments as opportunities for progression, even if it is on a smaller scale. A few small steps get you a lot further forward than taking no big steps.
Music makes you move your feet – whether it’s rap, rock, pop, country or classic; music is a proven partner in your ear. Certain tracks may get you going or mentally focused for a tough exercise. Find yourself a playlist or build your own to give you more bounce when you’re looking for motivation to get through the next session!
Hold yourself accountable – a risky one if you have low willpower, but if not, you can reward yourself at certain points or for hitting certain targets. Easy examples are a small treat after completing a weeks worth of training sessions.
This is not a list of every motivational tool….that would be an incredibly long list and you do not want to be reading my blog for that long!
Whatever you find to motivate you, or however you get to the end of your journey, you should congratulate yourself.
Getting started is sometimes as hard as getting through it!
The fact that you are looking for motivation means you see the need to do something, which in itself is one less barrier to overcome.
So….find your ‘why’ and figure out what you want and once you find your motivation, I know you can go and smash any goals you set yourself!