As the days get colder and shorter, getting up early to go to the gym can become more of a struggle – it’s very tempting to hit snooze on the alarm when you wake up in the dark, especially if you’re also greeted with the sound of rain lashing down. Enjoying an extra hour under a warm duvet suddenly seems much more sensible than braving the elements to get to the gym…
BUT! Consistency in training is key to achieving our goals, so how can we make sure that we smash through all our workouts each week? Here are some handy tips to help keep you motivated throughout the year.
Most people have a big long-term goal when it comes to fitness, like reaching a target weight or dress size, achieving a specific distance or lifting a goal weight, but it’s actually really useful to set some short-term goals, too.
Focusing on one big goal is great because it gives you something to aim for and will give you a huge sense of achievement once you get there. However, it can be a bit overwhelming – say you want to lose 15kg or run a marathon, these goals are going to feel very unrealistic at the beginning of your training. This can affect your motivation to work out and lead you to skip a session because, “it won’t make much difference anyway”.
Instead, break your goal down into smaller short-term objectives, that are much easier to achieve. These could take the form of your big goal broken down into smaller milestones (e.g. lose 3kg or run a 5k), or more general intentions that will simply put you on the right path to success (e.g. stay on track with my eating plan, walk to work every day or try out a new class this week).
As well as making it more fun, it can be really motivating to work alongside other people who are pushing themselves hard, and you’re likely to work harder than you ever would alone. For example, with buddy training, not only do you have a personal trainer pushing you to do your best, you also have your friend or partner with you, introducing an element of friendly competitiveness that can lead you to both smash your PBs.
What’s more, holding yourself accountable to someone else can really help you to stick to a training plan. If you’re training alone and skip the gym, no one else is affected, but if you’ve agreed to train with someone else, then you’ll be disrupting their plan for the day too, so you’re much less likely to bail.
If your goal is weight loss, then please remember that the number on the scale isn’t the be all and end all! Non-scale victories are really, really important and should absolutely be celebrated. Even if your weight hasn’t changed or if you don’t feel like you look any different, taking photos at 4-week intervals can be a huge eye-opener and highlight changes that you wouldn’t otherwise have noticed. It’s so motivating to notice positive changes in your body!
Progress photos are also really important if your goal is to simply “tone up” and improve your body composition. Building muscle while burning fat means that your body may change shape considerably, even if your weight stays the same.
When you feel like skipping a session or giving up on a workout, try to focus on the reason you decided to start. You’ve probably seen this quote floating around on Instagram for #MotivationMonday, so it may be annoying to read yet again, but it’s true – “Nothing changes unless you do”. As well as this, remember how good you feel after finishing a workout! (Another overused Insta-quote springs to mind here – “You only regret the workout you didn’t do”. Sorry – we’ll stop now)
This is so important. Don’t drag yourself to workouts that bore you because it’s the “latest thing” or force yourself to go out running if you hate running. For fitness to be sustainable, it HAS to be enjoyable – that’s something we’re super passionate about here. Getting fit can and should be fun! Find what works for you and stick to it.
If all else fails, then remember that on days where motivation is nowhere to be found (we ALL have those days every once in a while), then discipline can take over. Take the time to make good habits and you’ll be surprised at how quickly they become a habit that you don’t even question anymore.
A little disclaimer. Most of the time, when we don’t feel like working out, it’s due to a little blip in motivation that we can quickly shake off before smashing our workout and feeling super happy that we pushed through. However, occasionally, it’s our bodies telling us to slow down and take a rest. So, it’s super important to listen to your body and recognise the difference between the “ugh, not really feeling it today” mood and your body signalling that you need a break! Even if you haven’t programmed a rest day, if you feel like working out will make you feel worse, then listen to your body and take a break.
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