“The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger
It seems apt to quote a seven-time Mr Olympia champion when talking about fitness motivation. But the truth is, staying motivated to workout consistently can be a pain in the butt. The high of joining a gym to get your blood pumping and muscles rippling is well and good in the first few days, but what happens when you are tired of the machines, routines and uninteresting diets? If you’ve ever felt discouraged after a few times at the gym, we’ve got just what you need to keep the momentum and get that extra burst of energy to conquer your explosive workouts. Here are some suggestions that you could try when demotivated to hit the gym.
- Go back to your first love
All throughout your fitness journey, this key element is what will keep you going – Remember why you started in the first place. Go back to your first love. The first moment you stepped on treadmill, the first kettlebell you picked up, the first yoga class you enrolled for – think of the adrenaline rush on your first time. The day you popped your gym cherry, how did it feel? The rush of post-workout endorphins. Whether it was to get healthy or to bulk up and get the girl, the adrenaline rush when you first started your workout routine is what will motivate you to continue.
- Get motivated! Stop, look and listen!
Self-motivation before hitting the gym starts with 3 simple steps: stop, look, listen. First, stop doing what you are doing. Take a moment to breathe and ask yourself if this workout is worth skipping. If you are certain you will regret skipping it, then move on to the next step: Look.
Look for motivation in every channel. Follow fitness models and fitness trainers on Instagram and Tumblr. Aspire to be like your heroes. Look to those who have made life-changing transformations to collect inspiration. Watch videos of heroes who workout such as Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Jamie Eason or Jason Momoa who balance a busy lifestyle but manage to keep fit. Thirdly, listen to the advice of others. There are plentiful fitness blogs, videos and personal trainers out there who would happily give you advice on how to switch things up. Go get ‘em tiger!
- Switch it up! – Dancercise, go outdoors, join classes in gym
Forget routines! You don’t want your workouts to be boring do you? Change it up. Choose different exercises each day to work selected parts of your body. Also use variables of High Intensity Interval Training to (HIIT) to escalate metabolism. This will shock your body, increasing resistance and also speed up the recovery process.
Sometimes working out in the gym can be demotivating. Watching buff, shredded people walking past you. People who have their entire fitness goals figured out, strutting along while you struggle to get through one set of sit ups. If this is the case, get a change of scene. Go for a run outdoors, workout in a park, do some heavy lifting at home. Take dancing as a workout. Blast workout music playlist and combine dancing with exercise to become ‘Dancercise’. Enjoy the beat and sweat it out. Another option is to join classes at the gym. Start with Zumba or Yoga classes and get friends along to join you.
- Take photos
Only you can fully know your progress throughout your fitness journey. The best way not to lose heart is to take photos of your progress. However little, progress is progress. Get a good selfie camera to snap your physique. Some fitness junkies even take to photographing themselves twice every day to see the progress from morning till evening. Long before others start noticing your body-sculpting, you get your motivation through your photos.
Another way to record your progress is monitor your wardrobe. You know what they say about keeping fit; we always keep one eye on our wardrobe. You need to have envy of the skinny clothes. Try them on once in a while to find out if you have lost weight/put on muscle.
- Find a gym bro – Come with me, if you want to lift!
One sure way to gain some motivation when you’ve lost it is to find a gym bro (or sis). Much like having a wingman, a gym bro will encourage you to keep going. Whether it is showing you a new workout routine or challenging you to push yourself, a friend in the gym is something we all need. Beware though, you have to be choosy when picking a gym buddy. If you are not careful, your gym buddy may discourage you from working out. Choose someone who has their gym routine (and diet) down to dot. A gym partner will also come in handy when doing things like heavy lifting and bench press as a spotter.
- Reward yourself
Exercise is the best form of therapy. Release tension on the treadmill, free weights or on a punching bag. Feel the rush of happy hormones (endorphins) post-workout and you will realise that exercise is worth all the sweating, pushing, grunting, and muscle fatigue. Even so, we need to take time to reward ourselves so we don’t get burned out. Take time off from gym to do other activities such as obstacle courses, sports or team building exercises. If you are strict on your diet, go ahead and have a cheat meal once in a while. Trust me, your body needs some loving.
In a nutshell, being consistent in your gym routines requires your deliberate action. Remember why you started, Stop, Look, Listen, change it up, record your progress, find a gym buddy and ultimately, reward yourself. These simple tips will keep you on track towards success in your fitness goals.