5 Ways to Revive Your Gym Motivation
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5 Ways to Revive Your Gym Motivation

If your motivation to hit to gym and eat a balanced diet is starting to fizzle out, you’re not alone. You may have come into the new year feeling refreshed, and maybe even set yourself some ambitious new resolutions. If you’re feeling yourself slide back into old habits, it doesn’t mean its time to throw in the towel. Everyone (yes, even Personal Trainers) go through periods where we’d rather sleep through our alarm or be a couch potato. It’s completely normal, but you can still achieve your goals.

Why perfection is unhealthy

Aiming for perfection in your health and fitness routine is not only incredibly difficult, but it’s unhealthy. If you find yourself saying no to social outings, feeling overwhelmingly guilty about missed sessions or completely cutting out all your favourite foods, you’ve taken it too far.[1] Striving for perfection can be unsatisfying and demoralising, leading you to quit.

Instead, we encourage our clients to aim to achieve a balance and focus on their long-term goals and progress. For example, in nutrition we treat macro guidelines as just that – guidelines. Rather than trying to hit your exact intake of protein, carbs and fat, use it as a tool to better understand the nutrition your body needs and make better choices.

Similarly, in the gym we work towards gradually increasing your strength. However, from time to time you might struggle to get motivated and hit those numbers. Maybe you’ve been up at night with a sick child, stressed at work or haven’t eaten as much food as usual to fuel your workout. If you’re feeling under the weather but still get yourself to a session, you should feel good about that, regardless of whether you increase the weights or not.

Proven strategies for boosting your motivation and achieving your goals

It’s natural to have ups and downs in your motivation. In fact, if you solely relied on motivation to get you to the gym, you’d be skipping a lot of sessions. The key to achieving your health and fitness goals over the long-term is by creating healthy habits. This will ensure that when you hit a bump in your journey you will get back on track, regardless of what life throws your way.

1. Analyse why you lost motivation

The first step to getting back in the gym and eating well is assessing what made you lose motivation in the first place. Common reasons for feeling unmotivated are not getting the results you’d like or struggling to get back into it after a break, for example due to a holiday, an injury or a particularly busy or stressful period at work. All these are legitimate reasons for losing motivation, but they can be overcome.

The important thing is that you are honest with yourself but don’t beat yourself up. Obsessing over past events won’t help you. However, setting a plan for overcoming these challenges the next time you encounter them, will. For example, you may need to change up your workouts, train other muscle groups whilst you rehabilitate your injury or block out non-negotiable time in your schedule to work on your health.

2. Reset your goals

You may have planned to lose weight before a big event or lift a certain weight by the end of the month but that may not be realistic now. One of the most important factors in achieving your goals is setting the right ones in the first place. You may have heard of SMART goals in business and the same concept applies to your health and fitness. Your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.[2]

3. Work on your habits

Your training and nutrition shouldn’t solely be powered by motivation, it should be fuelled by your habits. When going to the gym in the morning is habit, you won’t need a surge of motivation to turn off the alarm and get out of bed, because you will do it automatically. Habits reduce your daily mental load because you don’t need to make as many conscious decisions. This means adhering to your gym routine or balanced diet will no longer feel like such an effort.[3]

In the meantime, to make forming to a new habit easier, it helps to create the right environment. Think about what might trigger certain behaviours or patterns.[4]  For example, if you keep your pantry stocked full of chocolate, you’re going to be more likely to reach for it when the craving strikes. Similarly, if you pack your bag for the gym the night before and set yourself a reminder to go to bed at the same time each night, you’re going to be more likely to get a good night’s sleep and actually get up when that alarm goes off.

4. Start TODAY

Regardless of what you have planned for today, you can start working towards your goals right now. One of the biggest myths in health and fitness is that you need to make drastic changes to get results. We prefer to make smaller changes which compound into healthier habits and big results over time. This will not only make sticking to your new routine easier, but it will set you up for success.[5]

5. Track your progress and check-in

Results are incredibly motivating. But how can you see results if you’re not accurately monitoring them?

Research shows that the more often you monitor your progress, the greater the likelihood of success. Your chances increase further if you report your progress publicly or physically record it.[6]

Often people give up on their health and fitness goals because they don’t think they’re making progress, or they’re being unrealistic about the changes they want to see. Measuring and tracking your progress over the long-term and setting regular intervals to “check in” are important for fuelling your motivation. Your strength, weight and how you feel will fluctuate day-to-day, but remaining focused on the long-term trend will keep you on track. If you are trending away from your goals, then it’s time to reassess. Are you being realistic, or do you need to tweak your approach?

Reigniting your motivation for maintaining your gym routine and eating a balanced diet takes time and effort, but it is possible with the right mindset, goals, strategies and support. A Personal Trainer can be your secret weapon for boosting your motivation, even when you’re running on empty. As a trained professional they take the guesswork out of achieving your goals. They can help you set the right ones, subjectively assess your progress and help you overcome challenges.

Remember, you will never feel 100% motivated all the time, but that doesn’t need to get in the way of you achieving your goals.