Do you have a case of the Gym Blahs? You know, when you’re there physically but not mentally, or when your max effort barely hovers around 50%? Maybe you even battle to make it there in the first place. If so, it’s time to renew your focus and amp up your motivation. Here are seven simple tips to help you in the cause:
1. Find your “why.”
Ok, it’s time to get deep. Why do you own a gym membership? Is it just because all of your buddies do and you don’t want to be the lazy guy in the group? If you’re just working out because you think you should, then it’s no wonder your motivation is lacking. To go the distance, you’ll need to find your intrinsic motivation – that “thing” that deeply motivates you from within. Maybe it’s a desire to feel healthier and more energized so you can enjoy more quality time with your family. Maybe you simply want to look better so you can feel more confident in social situations. Whatever reason drives you, you just need to want it badly enough. If you know WHY you’re doing what you’re doing (in this case, working out), then you’ll be more likely to stick to your goals when they get tested.
2. Do what you love.
Have you ever had a job that bored you to tears or that you hated with every fiber of your being? If so, how long did you last at it? (For your sake, hopefully not too long). The same questions should be asked of your fitness lifestyle. If you’re not loving what you’re doing, then it’s only natural that your motivation will waver. The solution is so simple yet so powerful: do what you love. Find exercises and healthy foods you enjoy, even if it means being breaking from the crowd. If everyone else you know is taking CrossFit classes, but you’d rather train solo, keep it that way. If you know tuna is high in protein but you can’t even stomach the thought of eating it, don’t! Choose what’s right for YOU, and never look back.
3. Remember your first time.
In this section, we’ll be taking a cue from the modern marriage counselor. You see, counselors have a not-so-subtle way of getting couples to remember the joy they felt earlier in their relationship. They’ll ask such questions as, “How did you two meet?” and “What first attracted you to each other?” More than just small talk, these questions are designed to get the unhappy couple to not only recall their first moments together, but to reignite the positive feelings associated with them. So, what does this have to do with your fitness focus? If you want to get your head back in the game, you’ve got to remember how great you felt when you first started training and seeing results. Remember how happy you were when your biceps started to really fill out, or when you saw that very first hint of abs? If you can remember the spark of newbie training, you can always reignite it.
4. Block out distractions.
This is a big one. To re-focus on fitness, you’ll have to make some sacrifices – at least until you get back into the swing of things. Whatever threatens to keep you from the gym or from eating healthy will have to take a backseat. For some people, social media is a culprit. They get sucked into the vortex of Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter and end up missing entire workouts because of it. Maybe for you it’s binge watching all your favorite shows late into the night, making it hard to wake up the next day for your usual morning workout. Or maybe you’ve got a roommate who won’t stop ordering pizza and wings. We’re not suggesting you completely boycott technology – or your friends for that matter – but just be cautious of what you fill your time and energy with. Sure, we’d all rather see results without sacrifice. But as a famous sports quote says, “You don’t get what you wish for. You get what you work for.”
5. Quiet your fears and doubts.
When you work towards a goal, a certain amount of self-confidence is needed. You have to believe that you can do what you set your mind to. Unfortunately, many people wrestle with negative self-talk like, “Why bother trying?” or “I won’t be good enough anyways.” When these doubts run through your mind, it’s easy to lose motivation and give up on fitness. If you think there’s no way you’re going to be able to pack on 10 pounds of muscle, you’ll end up giving up before you’ve even hit the five-pound mark.
To avoid this slump, try to focus on the positive and visualize your end state – a lean, healthy, muscular body. Michael Phelps, retired competitive swimmer, certainly had the right idea when it came to positive thinking. As he describes from his younger years, “I always thought, it would be neat to make the Olympic team.” Twenty-eight medals later, Phelps is the most successful and most decorated Olympian of all time.
6. Soak in the motivation.
There’s an expression that goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.” The premise is that if something isn’t in your immediate line of sight, you’ll soon forget about it. If you want to re-focus on fitness, then make sure it’s always on your radar. Surround yourself with other fitness-loving friends, or people who simply having a motivating personality. Read as much as you can about different workout plans and healthy nutrition tips. Join social media groups that encourage accountability. Bottom line: staying fit shouldn’t just be something on your “to-do” list. It should be part of your everyday lifestyle.
7. Mix things up.
Last but certainly not least, don’t fall into the habit of doing the same old, same old. You’re not a robot, so your workouts shouldn’t be automated either. As soon as you feel like you’re slipping back into boring territory, change any of these variables: your exercises, your rep ranges, your workout venue, the music you listen to while training, or even the people you train with. Even small changes can send a signal to your brain that something new and exciting is happening.
We all battle the Gym Blahs once in a while, but these seven tips will help you ride them out when they come calling. Good luck with your renewed focus and better results!
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Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice, nor is it to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your physician before starting or changing your diet or exercise program. Any use of this information is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the user.