Many begin a new exercise program full of gusto and enthusiasm…which often fades in a few weeks. Gyms get crazy busy early January or right before the start of summer with New Year’s Resolution-ers or to those seeking to “get in shape for summer.” 3-4 weeks later up to 80% of them give up and disappear. Beat the statistics! Use these 5 tips to stay motivated and IN the gym.
1) Set realistic, quantitative goals & write them down!
Don’t just say “I wanna lose a few pounds” or “I wanna get in better shape.” Instead set specific quantitative goals, such as:
I want to lose 5% body fat.
I want to run a mile in under 6 minutes.
I want to bench press 220lbs.
By actually having quantitative goals, you can track your progress to them. Acknowledging that progress is incredibly motivating!
Also get realistic! People setting unrealistic goals typically trash their whole fitness plan when they realize they can’t accomplish their goals period or not by an aggressive deadline desired. Ex) Realistically a person who’s 20lbs overweight cannot expect to lose 7lbs or more per week like competitors on The Biggest Loser. Not only are those contestants engaging in an extreme, possibly dangerous, training (3-5hours daily) and diet regimen, but also 5lbs is far smaller percentage of the weight a morbidly obese person has to lose. A more realistic goal is 1-2lbs per week.
2) Take initial measurements. Reevaluate every 4-6 weeks.
Have full biometrics measured before you start. Height, weight, body fat, resting heart rate are all easily measured and can thus be logged and reassessed on a regular basis. You could even go a step further and have you VO2 Max, lifting 1RM’s tested. We also periodically take client photos and measure circumference of bicep, chest, waist, hips and thigh to show progress. These photos and measurements are so rewarding, especially when someone doesn’t see a drop on the scale, demonstrating bodyfat loss and equivalent fat-burning muscle gains!
Here’s a few before & after photos. For more client results, go to: http://www.fitnessandfuel-la.com/results/
3) Keep a workout diary.
Log each workout, date, exercises, # repetitions performed, amount of weight lifted or distance traveled and time to complete each cardio task. Also note how you felt before, during and after the workout. Keeping this kind of log is an easy way to track of your progress each session and to know how to safely and effectively push yourself harder each time you train. Go old school with a pen and notebook or maintain workouts or online using an app. We like MY FITNESS PAL!
4) Get a Certified Personal Trainer or a workout partner in better shape than you are.
Often, people find it hard to push themselves to their max limits during a workout. If finances permit, hire a Trainer to push you harder than you would be able to push yourself. They will also ensure you are doing the right exercises with the right frequency to get desired results, and optimize form for the maximum benefit of each exercise. If you cant afford a trainer, enlist the help of a training partner who is fitter/stronger/more experienced than you. You will be pushed and motivated to try and keep up!
Don’t get stuck doing the same routine over and over again. Change your workouts up regularly to prevent both mind and body from getting bored and stagnating progress. Change your workout up at least every 4 weeks. Our bodies undergo the most development when placed under stress, so if we become too accustomed to a particular routine which is no longer challenging, gains or improvements plateau.