It’s Monday, you’ve just finished an 8-hour shift at work after a ropey nights sleep on Sunday and you’ve struggled to fit in more than a couple of questionable meal breaks throughout the day. You fully intended to go to the gym after you left the office but now you are starting to make excuses for yourself.
I can have today off can’t I? I’ll make up for it tomorrow and maybe fit in a session at the weekend, I feel too tired for a session now so maybe my body needs to rest.
We’ve all been there. But the correct answer to the questions you pose yourself during these times of self-reflection bought on by dwindling levels of motivation is almost always a resounding NO.
Missing a day at the gym is of course not the end of the world, but if you find yourself wrestling with your inner psyche over whether or not to workout on a regular basis, then it may well be time to think about changing something in your routine.
Life can be tough and in today’s non-stop society of excess in the pursuit of success and personal wealth, 24 hours in a day scarcely seems like enough to fit in all the things you want and need to be doing.
But if you have always been pretty serious about maintaining a healthy lifestyle and making progress physically, exercise is a must. You might even be new to the gym and hope to achieve some short-term goals with a view to improving gradually over time.
Either way, excusing yourself from training whenever you are feeling low on energy is a sure-fire way to stifle any regular self-improvement.
If you do not put your all into working out and take your training seriously then you will fail to achieve the targets you set yourself, it is as simple as that.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to boost your energy levels, peak your focus and in turn help to eliminate the self-doubt which plagues your exercise regime.
Below I will reveal the 5 best ways to fight off low motivation, to give you the edge you need to succeed both inside and outside of the gym.
Remember these 10 tools to implement into your daily routine and you will finally win that seemingly never-ending mental battle against yourself and start to work towards improving your health and overall wellbeing.
From now on you must strive to eliminate excuses from your life and use this guide to pull yourself out of any lulls you feel yourself falling into on days you just don’t feel like working out.
- Music to your muscles – Download Spotify or put to good use the Spotify account you rarely use and look through the many great playlists for working out that exist on the popular streaming platform. The right track can make you want to move – whether by bopping your head, tapping your feet or attempting the moonwalk – so transfer that energy into working out! Run harder, push that heavier weight up and peddle to the mettle, all whilst your favourite songs keep your mind distracted and in your optimum energy zone, where you want to be to perform at your maximum.
- Switch up your routine regularly – If you are dreading leg day at the same time every week, performing the same exercises in the same way over and over again, just stop what you are doing. Start researching different ways of training and experiment with new forms of exercise every week. Not only will this help you stop seeing the gym as a chore, but you will likely see far more progress due to the fact you are switching up the stimulus consistently and shocking your body into change.
- Quick bursts when your time is at a premium – Contrary to what you may be telling yourself if you do not have the time to fit in a 60-minute workout every day that does not mean you have to miss your session entirely. Particularly if your goals are weight loss related, short bursts of high-intensity exercise can be far more effective than mid-level physical exertion at a steady continuous pace. Jump on the bike or treadmill for 15-30 minutes and push yourself to your maximum and you’ll be done before you know it, plus you’ll continue to burn calories for the rest of the day.
- Ditch the heavy weight – If you are dreading the thought of putting your body through hell to deadlift 315lbs after work, then put your mind at ease and just don’t do it. You don’t always have to lift heavy to see the fruits of your labour and volume training can be equally as effective as strength training in terms of building lean muscle mass. Lighten the load before lifting and focus on strict form and more reps.
- Consider a pre-workout supplement – There are many great pre-workout supplements available on the market today all designed to give you the kick you need to overcome any lethargy or tiredness before a session. Most of these products contain caffeine which is a popular and effective stimulant capable of significantly boosting energy levels and most commonly consumed in the form of coffee. If you are looking for the cheapest option, make yourself an espresso or two before you leave for the gym and by the time you start training, you’ll be brimming with enthusiasm.
- Avoid overtraining – One thing that can kill motivation quicker than anything else is the aches and strains bought on by overdoing it in the gym and failing to recover properly. Plan your workouts so that they are efficient and not too debilitating, plus ensure that your feed your body the appropriate amount of nutritional food post-workout. Get your 6-8 hours of sleep a night too and allow your body the time it needs to heal ahead of your next bout of rigorous training.
- Keep a progress diary – This is a great way to keep a check of the progress you are making and for structuring your routine for optimal results. Record your weight and levels of performance plus write down your workouts ahead of time so you know exactly what you are doing before you set foot in the gym.
- Find a training partner – Perhaps one of the most effective ways to stay motivated on this list, having someone to train with is a great way to ensure you won’t skip out on your daily exercises. Ideally, you want to train with someone that will push you to achieve your goals and force you into action on the days you might not feel like exerting yourself. Additionally, the allure of a social meeting can help you look forward to training and you can push yourself harder when it comes to lifting weights because you’ll have a spotter on hand as support.
- Set your goals in stone – Want to lose ten pounds for summer? Or tone up for a holiday abroad? Great, set yourself a 6-week target and get the job done by working as hard as you can during that period. Building lean muscle mass and improving overall fitness and strength are longer-term goals but by also setting a target you want to achieve and focusing on it, you can keep your eyes on the prize and use that future vision of yourself to stay motivated at all times.
- Cheat day as a reward – Give yourself one non-training day a week which doesn’t include a strict dietary plan. Order a takeaway or go to your favourite restaurant, have a diet coke with your lunch – whatever your indulgence maybe, just give yourself a little treat once a week. This will help you to stay on track between Monday and Friday, giving you something to look forward to which will feel like a reward for the hard work you’ve put in.
So there you have it, 10 great tips for you to consider in order to change any negative mindset you may have about training. You don’t have to incorporate them all, it is more a case of finding what works best for you and practising with some trial and error.
Just by researching and trying different things you can help to focus your mind on training, as opposed to adopting a haphazard and take it or leave it approach to exercise, which in reality has never produced results for anyone.
Contact one of your mates and convince them to join your gym, start creating the ultimate playlist for intense cardio sessions and keep a record of everything you plan to achieve and how you will go about it.
Whatever you decide to do, from now on there can be no more excuses. If you want to train and start seriously working towards a significant personal change both inside and out then it’s time to treat the gym as an absolute necessity.
You can achieve anything you put your mind to, it is just a case of believing in yourself, dispelling all negativity and varying your routine enough to stop it from ever becoming stagnant.
Never again say the words ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’. Live in the present, start working harder than ever before and results will quickly follow. Nothing spikes motivation more than seeing yourself making progress in the mirror, so what are you waiting for?
Author: James Westwood