Exercise and motivation

Being able to motivate yourself can often be the determining factor in achieving your exercise and fitness goals. But why do we lose it at all? Most of us know how beneficial exercise can be! There are many reasons for losing motivation from the “I can’t find the time to train” to simply just losing interest.

Every gym goer or fitness enthusiast has the odd day that they don’t feel up to training but skipping one day isn’t going to affect your long term goals so it’s nothing to get overly worried about. On the other hand, skipping lots of days can have a cumulative effect on your ability to achieve your health and fitness goals.

Being a fitness coach, I encounter many reasons that contribute to a loss of motivation. Most of these however can be turned around in small manageable steps. Let’s take a look at some of the most common factors that contribute to reduced motivation:

‘I have no time to train’

Cut your training time down to a more intense 30min workout. This can have similar benefits on your health and fitness as a less intense 1hr workout.
Train at a different time of day. On average most people will have an 8-10 hour working day say 9am till 5pm. Most gyms open at 6am and close at 10pm so there are plenty of options out with work. If you do struggle to make gym timings, consider a home workout. Perhaps even invest in some small fitness equipment for your home and train when you have a break in your day.
Consider a lunchtime workout. This could simply be a brisk walk, or a 30min higher intensity workout. Not only does it keep the exercise momentum going in the long term but it will really set you up for the afternoon as exercise can improve your concentration and increase your afternoon productivity thus enhancing your motivation to do it again.

‘I don’t see the results’

Rome wasn’t built in a day! Achieving fitness and health goals aren’t overnight accomplishments. It will take time and dedication but the results will be worth it.
To help see the change, take some baseline and semi-regular measurements of your fitness and health status to reflect your goals. This is where a fitness professional can assist as they will be able to guide you through an appropriate assessment. It could however be a measure of how long it takes to walk a certain route or how many repetitions of an exercise you can do continuously before you fatigue.
If a goal is to change body shape or size, then you may wish to consider taking a photo of yourself at the same time every week (ideally in the morning) for 8-12 weeks. Beware however of photographic errors and try to standardise the photo as best you can.

‘I don’t like doing exercise’

Sometimes it is a good idea to think about the vast benefits of exercise such as the reduction of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and arthritis to name a few. It also helps with our mental wellbeing so you will feel more positive about things and are likely to be fun and upbeat with those around you.

You perhaps just don’t like certain types of exercise or have a preconception of what exercise is. Try a new physical activity. Play a sport, go for a swim, have a brisk walk and perhaps try to include friends or family?

Here are some ways to keep motivated and smash your goals:

Set yourself small short-term achievable goals. For example, losing 4 stone can be a daunting task, which will take a lot of hard work and will take a while to achieve. But you can break that into smaller goals of 1-2lb a week. That’s not as daunting is it?

Train with someone else. It’s always good to get spurred along by a like-minded individual so train with a friend to help achieve your goals

Do something you enjoy. Exercise can and should be enjoyable so find something that floats your boat and go with it.

Get help. At the beginning sometimes people don’t know where to start, either with setting appropriate goals or with appropriate exercises. Others may have a good idea of what to do but need the motivation or regular refreshing and progressing of a program. Invest some time and a little bit of money in to some personal training sessions. In the sessions the fitness professional will go over training and lifestyle factors to help you get the most from your efforts.

Results are the product of knowledge, determination, motivation and time. Hopefully this blog will give you some guidance on how to fulfil these entities and take the next step towards meeting your health and fitness goals.

John Hesketh – Fitness Coach

Read more about John here

Personal Training Sessions and small group exercise classes are available with John at Life Fit Wellness. Find out more here

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