Getting the motivation to workout can be tough for most people. (Who am I kidding—everyone struggles with it in some measure.) We are programmed for the path of least resistance, and that path generally includes comfortable pants, a cold beer, and a pizza that is just above room temperature.
Here are five powerful ways that you can unleash some heavy-duty workout motivation on yourself in order to get to the gym and beat on it like it owes you money:
Surround yourself with fit-minded people. Like it or not, the people that we choose to surround ourselves with each moment, each day, each weekend, have a profound influence on us. I know, I know, we all tend to think that we are the exception to this, but social contagion is a thing. Find people who are doing what you are already doing, and you will find yourself getting pulled along by their wake.
Challenge yourself regularly. Motivation doesn’t come from taking things easy. In fact, easy workouts tend to be boring, tedious, and fill us with an empty sense of accomplishment. Beyond the long-term goals and dreams you have for yourself in the gym set weekly targets and things you would like to achieve. This will help keep you focused on the short term, and help you stay engaged from day to day during your workouts.
1MR. This is my favorite trick for slugging through those tough workouts—the 1MR rule. When you feel like you are ready to call it quits on your workout routine, whether it’s because you don’t feel like doing another ten laps around the track, or another 1,000m in the pool, just commit to doing one more lap, one more rep, one more exercise. This little piece of mental trickery helps avoid the avalanche of doubt and mental fatigue that comes from thinking about the full extent of the rest of the workout. You don’t marathon all at once, you run it by continually running to the end of the block.
Plan things out. One of the major pitfalls people have with exercise and nutrition is an unwillingness to plan and prepare ahead of time. There is a common misbelief that when push comes to shove, we will always do what we should do. (And let’s be honest—that’s almost never the case. Path of least resistance, remember?) Planning stuff ahead of time is one of those super simple, and usually overlooked, ways of staying on top of your workout motivation. This can mean performing meal prep to stay on top of your nutrition for the week. Or writing out the workouts you want to do ahead of time in the pages of your workout log. Research has shown that when we schedule stuff we are far more likely to adhere to it than if we go along by the seat of our pants.
Focus on developing a routine. We’ve talked a bit about planning. Most gym-goers and athletes are awesome at detailing what kind of results they want. I want to lose 15 pounds. I want to run a personal best in my 10K. But where they aren’t always so awesome is in putting together a routine that will help get them there. When you focus on the routine, the goals, the results, what happens at the end of the line, almost becomes fait accompli. Amateurs focus on the result, pros result on the process.
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