You’re going to find that I keep coming back to the topic of improving your workout and motivation. That’s because when I see people give up on their program I can’t help but wonder, “what the heck could I have done to keep them going?” Working out, whether at home, the office or the gym is as much about staying motivated and feeling better about yourself as it is seeing gains in your marathon training or you squat.
So, if you feel like you’ve been in a funk lately, here are a few tips to help you stay motivated and improve your workout.
Have you heard that people who work out first thing in the morning tend to get more done in their day? Well, there is good reason for that. A morning workout is a way to get your entire body, from the physical to the mental in motion. It de-stresses you before stress piles on and helps to improve your overall mood. Think of your body as a vehicle and your workout as a gas tank. In order for your body to function you need gas in the tank. So, if you can start your day in the gym, that’s a day you start with a full tank of gas, and we all know how great that feels heading into a long commute.
Stop going to the gym:
Whoa! Whoa! Did Tobias, just tell me to stop going to the gym? I sure did. But, it may not be what you’re thinking. I’m a firm believer, that if you stop working out, even for a short time, this can lead to further reluctance. But, going to the gym isn’t the only place you have to work out. You can set up a home gym for a few hundred dollars, you can go for a run outside, workout at the park, or join a sports team. The thing is that while some people—me included—love the gym, others may become bored at the same equipment, the same people and the same ole, same ole. So, if you are going through the motions of the gym without feeling the same energy as when you started, maybe it’s time to change up your location a little. Don’t cancel out your membership, but occasionally throw in a new activity in a new place.
Create a new ritual:
All athletes have their rituals. For example, have you ever watched a tennis player about to serve. They perform the exact same ritual every time they serve. One bounce, two bounces, or maybe three. The player will swing their racket, tap it on the ground, spin it in their hand. But, regardless of what they are doing, they are always doing the same thing. It’s how they build confidence in their serve. But, what happens when the serve continues to land in the net? A lot of coaches will force that player to change up their routine. And it works!
Watch the people you regularly see come in the gym. Everyone has their routine. From going to the water fountain, to finding the exact same treadmill, to doing a quick stretch on the way to the weights. People love their rituals, but if you are in a funk, sometimes you need to break your ritual to break the funk.
Test your limits:
In talking about working out, people often consider “testing your limit” as adding more weight on the bar or jogging an extra mile. But, what I’m talking about here is putting yourself in a place you’re not comfortable with. For example, how many bodybuilders do you see in a Zumba class? Testing your limits is about overcoming your fears or taking on challenges outside your comfort zone. Maybe you love the treadmill; try stepping into the free-weight area. Perhaps you love the free-weights; maybe you should try the rowing machine. Are you all about the energy? A yoga or Pilates class might help you relax.
Testing your limits, even just once, will help show you that you are capable of more, it will build a little adrenaline and maybe you’ll meet someone you would have never met before or find a new workout you wouldn’t have otherwise considered.
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Tobias Young is an IFBB pro and top tier online fitness coach with over 19 years of fitness industry experience.