Fitness: How to Stay Motivated
The ability to self-motivate and stay focused on your goal is crucial to your success. We all know that, but sometimes you just don't have the energy or desire to go to the gym and crush a workout. In my 20 years of playing sports and in the gym, I've had many days where I walk in the gym only to turn around and leave 10 minutes later because of a lack of energy and motivation. This has led to me spending quite a bit of time thinking about how to better self-motivate myself. So here's everything I've learned, I hope this can help you as well whether your goal is fitness, business, or anything else.
Having a good workout often completely depends on your mood. If you've ever played sports you probably know that even on your laziest days once you start actually playing your exhaustion turns to energy and your entire outlook on the day can turn around in a matter of minutes. Once I realized this I started using that fact to my advantage. I did this by allowing myself to play a game of basketball or throw a football and run some routes for 15 minutes. This gets my blood flowing, warms my muscles up, and puts me in a good mental state to have a good workout. If you can find a sport or physical activity that gets you going I highly recommend using it to get you warmed up and motivated. If not, a quick run on the treadmill will often time do the trick.
2. Music - The Right BPM
I had second thoughts about including this because it seems obvious, but I think I can provide some helpful insight. Second to caffeine, music is probably the easiest most fast acting method for improving energy and mood. But it's not enough to just pick a good channel on Pandora. You need the right songs with the right BPM (beats per minute). Take the time to create a playlist of songs that personally motivate you. And I should also mention, don't include songs just because you like them, they need have a fast tempo, generally over 135 BPM. Once you've made the perfect playlist crank up the volume and let the music carry you.
3. The Right Time
Play to your strengths, everyone's different when it comes to the best time of day for exercise. If you have peak energy at night but you workout in the morning you're making it unnecessarily hard on yourself. Sometimes your schedule won't allow it but when possible plan your workouts when you have the most energy.
In my opinion, progress is one of the most powerful motivators out there. Progress fuels more progress so one of the worst things that can happen is back-tracking. When you realize that, you also have to acknowledge the importance of consistency. On days that I just can't work up the energy for a good workout I still try to just get to the gym and do what I call a "maintenance workout." Basically, I do about 30% of a normal workout. I call it a maintenance workout because I don't expect to progress the goal is just to maintain my current condition and not break the habit of going to the gym.
5. Emotionally Commit
Allow me to explain this with a short story. Years ago when I had NFL aspirations I had a really bad ankle sprain and only four months to prepare for a combine. This put me in a very difficult situation. I needed to improve my speed but was unable to run. My only option was to drastically improve my leg strength, primarily through squats. One day I went to the gym did my normal warm-up and then proceeded to work up in weight and with 225 lbs on the bar I did just a few reps and then racked it. It felt extremely heavy, my body ached and I just wanted to give up. I thought if this is heavy I'm losing strength and there's just no way I'll be able to come back fast enough. I sat down and in that moment seriously considered giving up, after 30 minutes of contemplation I decided I had to at least try. So I put on my favorite workout playlist, turned it up all the way, and I used all my anger and frustration to motivate myself. That day I set a new personal record by squatting 515 lbs. I realized that day just how important my state of mind is. The moral of the story is, sometimes you have to take a moment to consider why you're training and then make the commitment to yourself to fully emotionally commit to it.
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