A healthy and fit lifestyle is its own reward, but don’t think that the road leading to it is an easy one. Whether you’re a beginner, an experienced exerciser, an aspiring bodybuilder, or a professional athlete, there will be times when you will feel less than enthusiastic about the thought of going to the gym. There will be times when you feel like relaxing at home instead of lifting weights, when you’ve simply got so much more to do than put yourself through another grueling session. And there will be times when you’re tempted to give it up for the time being – and to leave training for another time.
Our advice? Don’t give up. Two of the most common reasons why people fall short of their fitness objectives are lack of time and lack of motivation. So, before you even think of canceling that gym membership, you may first want to try out these great ways of staying motivated in training.
- Sign up for a marathon. This will give you the motivation that you need to stick to your training plan. Just imagine crossing the finish line, and the amazing feeling that comes with having worked hard to achieve a fitness goal.
- Make yourself pay. Skipping a workout is taking a step backward. So set up a punishment for taking a step backward. Like surrendering your credit card to your partner, or closing a weekend to perform chores and home repairs.
- Mark the calendar. Need a visual reward for your hard work? Post a calendar on your bedroom wall and mark each completed workout date with a smiley, a huge check mark, or a star. Yes, feel free to use a gratifyingly thick marker.
- Work out with a buddy. It’s not just the social support that you’ll get from training with someone you know and love. Look at it from a psychological standpoint, too – with a view of making yourself more accountable. You’ll feel guilty just at the thought of standing a friend up.
- Blog about it. Why not? It’s the 21st century way of keeping a diary. This way, you get to cope with the challenges that your body constantly has to face. And you get to keep your sanity.
- Find a personal trainer. He’ll be your coach, guide, mentor, friend, judge, and assessor. He’ll stand as the monolith of professional support. Yes, not showing up at the gym while your personal trainer is waiting will also make you feel like crap.
- Just get there. Oftentimes, all it takes to get through another workout session is to get your butt to the gym, no matter how lethargic you feel. Once you’re there, you’ll have gotten over the biggest hump.
- Read fitness magazines. They’re bound to contain plenty of information – as well as inspiration. Looking at pictures alone of those toned bodies and perfect abs may get you all pumped up for the next session.
- Prove yourself to someone. Make a friendly bet with a colleague or a neighbor who thinks you can’t do what you want to do. Tell him or her that you’ll lose a certain number of pounds in a certain number of months, and that you’ll join a 10k race after completing the program. That ought to get your competitive juices flowing.
- Reward yourself. Not with chocolates or Big Macs or anything edible. More like, a new iPhone app or a new favorite mystery novel after each completed workout with the personal trainer. Or a trip to the spa!
- Listen to music. If it takes Soulja Boy to help you get through weight training, Justin Bieber through a half hour at the treadmill, Lady Gaga through cardio, or Queen through a set of stretching exercises, then by all means.
- Sign up for classes. Bored and unmotivated? Sign up for the gym classes you see being advertised on the announcement board. Whether it’s yoga, Pilates, Latin dance, or pole dancing, trying out something new just may give you the extra motivation that you need. And don’t worry about coming in as a beginner; typically, there are personal trainers who’ll help you get off to a smooth start.
- Tie your health to your exercise. Check your cholesterol levels; have someone take your blood pressure. Or measure your body fat percentage. Then set goals based on these numbers. Sometimes all you need to be able to stay right on track is to know that at the end of the program, you’ll have better statistics. And better health.
- Shop for athletic gear. Admit it. It’s pretty exciting to merely think of a new fresh pair of kicks, or a new training shirt, or a new timing gadget. So go ahead, cop that new pair of Air Jordans, and show up at the gym looking as stylish – and motivated – as ever.