During comp preps, despite the hunger, exhaustion, stress and emotions, motivation is usually fairly easy to come by. Just knowing that in a few weeks you will be standing on stage with nowhere to hide, in front of hundreds of people and knowledgeable judges, is extremely motivating! Hang that posing suit on the fridge, cover your mirror in fitspo images, motivational quotes and daily countdown, and you should be able to find enough motivation to get to the gym no problems!
But outside of comp preps, life with all of its ups and downs, curve balls, temptations and myriad of experiences to discover can sometimes make hitting the gym slide down the priority list until, before you know it, days and weeks and maybe even months have gone by without you achieving those goals you have set for yourself.
The first thing to ask yourself is: ‘Is hitting the gym six (or whatever) times a week still a huge priority for me?’. Our goals can change a lot from the time we make them, and if other things are now more important for you then that’s no problem at all! Just re-set your goals and chase those other things with all of your heart! That’s nobody’s business but your own. Life is short, we can’t waste it chasing things that don’t matter to us, or that matter for the wrong reason. BUT we do need to keep healthy and reasonably fit, so we still need to factor exercise in! Even if it’s not the gym, make sure to schedule activities in that you enjoy and that enhance your life and health.
One of the most important long-term motivators is your ‘why?’. Why do you want to be fit and healthy? And go deep, not just surface reasons (e.g. ‘I want to be able to look good in those skinny jeans’), but also the raw emotions and feelings that really resonate with you (‘I want to be able to play with my children, set them a great example, and live to see them grow up’, or ‘All my life I have wanted to walk to Machu Picchu and this is the year I am going to do it!’). I’m sure you can think of many wonderful reasons, and the more you can think of them the better it is! Write them down, put them where you can see them, tell other people about them if those people will be supportive, and give yourself behavior based goals to reach them. Not just outcome based goals (e.g. I want to look so great that hot PT will like me) because they are not always in your control, but behavior based goals (e.g. I will follow an intelligent diet and training program 100%, look after my body and mind with healthy foods and self care, and have a positive friendly attitude) because these are in your control.
Aside from the above, I don’t really believe in motivation. It is so fickle, you can’t rely on it being there when you need it, so you need to stop relying on it or you won’t get anywhere. There’s a lot to be said for just doing it. Don’t even ask yourself ‘Do I feel like going to the gym today?’, as most of the time you probably don’t and you can come up with a myriad of excuses why you shouldn’t/don’t have to/have more important things to do. Just make it that at 6am (or whenever) it is gym time, no questioning. One of my favourite sayings – Sometimes Action Precedes Motivation. It helps also to make it as easy as possible for yourself. Have your clothes ready the night before, ensure you are getting enough sleep and enough food to give you the required energy, have your bag packed already, have your pre-workout if you take it ready on the bench, ensure your partner is supportive enough to kick you out of bed if you are wavering, pump up the music on the way to the gym, whatever it takes to get there. Once you are there, just start! If you REALLY don’t feel like it just say to yourself ‘I’ll warm up and then just do one exercise. Anything is better than nothing’ and once you are in to it, just keep going. Usually you will find your rhythm and have a great workout! Always remember how fantastic you feel when you have accomplished your workout goal! What an awesome start to the day! And by turning up day after day, you never know who you may be inspiring. If you always slack when you don’t feel 100% motivated then you are training your brain to quit again the next time you feel that way, and that will just become your pattern, but if you do the opposite and keep on pushing through even when you don’t feel like training then THAT is what your brain will have you do the next time, and it will become easier and easier, just a part of you.
If you try everything but you still can’t muster any enthusiasm then it’s time to take a really honest look at yourself and your training. Perhaps you are over training? Or forcing yourself to do an exercise you really don’t enjoy but think you SHOULD do it? Are you injured? Do you need to sort out your sleep patterns or your diet, are you lacking certain vitamins or minerals or whole macros? Have your goals changed? Have you indeed set a goal that means something to you, like a certain deadlift weight or being able to do a certain number of chin ups? Would a training partner help? A new goal, like entering a Strong Man Competition or a triathlon? Maybe you just need to change it up to relocate that fire and enjoyment!
What you achieve or fail to achieve in your lifetime is directly related to what you DO or fail to do. If we only walked on sunny days, we would never reach our destination.
You CAN do it. If you want. xxxx