It has been one cold week down here in the southern states; Geelong didn’t quite get any snow, just a short hailstorm as I was walking home with groceries.
Today’s blog is going to focus on how to find the motivation when things are rough, tough and everything (including the weather) is against you getting in a training session or simple exercise.
We’ve all been in that place where exercising seems too much of a chore, unappealing and impossible to fit in around other parts of life. I’ve heard a lot of advice in the form of ‘if it’s really important to you,
then you’ll find a way to get it done’. I’m going to talk about how to get the enthusiasm to ‘find a way’ and the main reasons that deter us.
Lack of Improvement
As an elite athlete, training can be a chore, especially if it’s long KMs of repetition every day. I struggle to find motivation if I feel as though I’m not moving forwards/improving. Because I know this, I compartmentalise, I look for even a small improvement on the previous day, previous week…it can be anything, how I feel, how I look, weight, times during training. I have a fault of constantly focussing on the negative aspects. I think it is important to acknowledge areas that need improvement, figure out what you need to do to achieve that improvement and then get it done by concentrating on positives. One thing I feel people need to realise is; there are always positives.
Another motivation lacking angle is that exercise can be boring, for all levels. I have learned through years of trial and error that long KMs of running help me immensely with my weight and fitness for rowing. Running isn’t always interesting if it’s the same route every day. I try to make a new playlist that will take me away from the repetition…finding new songs that make you want to move, and to get out the door just to listen to them. Sometimes a new piece of clothing helps too. The idea is to introduce something that you want to experience, but can only do so while exercising. This could be training during a sunrise, or along a route with great scenery (I rode along the 13 th beach coast today!). It could even be a certain recovery meal that you can only have post workout.
For those of you that are not elite athletes chained to essential workouts, find something that you LOVE doing, exercise does not have to be boring when you have a choice! Try different sports and disciplines…there are so many out there!
Time is often the limiting factor of people’s exercise regime. To get up before dawn and go out in the freezing cold if there’s the option of sleeping in…or at the other end of the spectrum…to get yourself down to the gym after a full day of work when you’re mentally drained and ready to crash. I find that often people are convinced that they need to do a long workout for it to count, or to make up for not exercising all week. It’s actually more effective to do a short session (can be as short as 15’-20’) every day then that one long arduous hour on Saturday. The CrossFit workout of the day (WOD) is a very good example of short workouts that differ every day but are effective because of the high intensity. The short workout doesn’t even need to be gym related…it can be as simple as walking an incline for 15’ or using a skipping rope for a few intervals. The workouts are easy to fit in and over quickly.
A lot of training/sports/exercises are not particularly kind on an overweight body. I find, for example, running is particularly unpleasant when I’m heavy. When exercise feels awful, motivation drops pretty quickly. In this situation, I believe finding an exercise that is a bit more forgiving…Swimming, hiking, riding, rowing, yoga are some examples. Or you can stick with your chosen discipline and find easier steps to build up to it.
Training Partners/Coaches/Personal Trainers
It really helps motivation when you have training a partner/squad. With crew boat rowing, everyone has to show up or the crew can’t get on the water. To have others depend on you is a really good way to get yourself out of bed on a cold morning.
As an elite athlete, while I do have a squad, training is essentially up to me…If I don’t train I don’t gain the benefit in my performance. In a situation where you train solo, (for me, rowing the single scull) I find having a coach or a good personal trainer working alongside you and providing feedback you wouldn’t normally have essential.
To wrap this up, try and dig out your motivation that’s crawled into hibernation. Make a positive to focus on and run with it!
Favourite food this week: Goji/date/nut balls (pre-workout snack)
BN product I’d recommend for this time of the year: BCAA in a recovery shake (post-workout)
Favourite training song this week: Braveheart- Neon Jungle
Session to try this week: A bike ride along a scenic route!