Winter is finally over and the prospect of beautiful, sunny days is finally in sight! For many of us, however, the cold winter months have not been kind, and with declining motivation to eat well and hit the gym the winter weight has added a few unwanted kilos. After losing the motivation to train over winter it’s sometimes hard to get back into the routine of regular training. So what are some of the things that you can do to get back into the right mindset for hitting the gym? Below are a few pointers to get your mind back on track.
SET CLEAR AND CONCRETE GOALS
This is one of the most important points to follow if you want to succeed in attaining your gym goals. More often than not people go to the gym without specific goals. They might have a vague idea such as ‘I want to lose some fat’, or ‘I want to put on more muscle’, but this is typically coupled with an ‘I will train and see what happens’ approach and no timeframe in sight. The problem with vague goals and ‘seeing what happens’ is that typically not much happens at all. Vague goals leave far too much room for deviation and don’t hold the individual accountable; it’s much easier to justify eating junk food if you don’t really know what you’re striving for and if there’s no deadline to meet the goal.
If you want faster results at the gym it helps to aim for something more concrete. Many people apply the commonly-used S.M.A.R.T. acronym when setting their goals. If, for example, your goal is ‘I will get from 24% body fat to less than 15% in eight weeks’, this is how to apply the S.M.A.R.T. acronym:
(S)pecific: Is the goal specific in nature? In this case, yes, since you have given yourself specific figures to reach, together with a timeframe.
(M)easurable: Are you able to measure your progress? Yes, you can measure body fat percentage.
(A)chievable: Is the goal attainable? If you are committed to the appropriate lifestyle changes, then yes.
(R)ealistic: Is the goal realistic? Provided no major unexpected events occur, then yes.
(T)imely: Does the goal have a deadline? In this case, eight weeks.
Sometimes a goal may seem overwhelming or difficult to reach. In such cases it may be necessary to set up smaller goals in between that finally reach your end goal.
When you’ve reached your goal then create a new one, even if the goal is to maintain what you’ve achieved.
As a final point it’s also a good idea to write down your goal and stick it on your bathroom mirror!
UNDERSTAND THE NATURE OF YOUR GOAL
This next point is a great tool to help you stay on track and motivated. It really involves looking at your goal (and your life) from different angles and identifying how your goal can be a positive influence if you reach it, as well as the consequences if you continue on your current path. This may lead to some very hard realisations, but also identifies some very positive outcomes.
Here’s how it works. In relation to your goal ask yourself the following questions and list your responses:
- What would happen if I reached my goal?
- What wouldn’t happen if I reached my goal?
- What would happen if I didn’t reach my goal?
- What wouldn’t happen if I didn’t reach my goal?
The key is to respond to these questions whilst considering all aspects of your life, from your health, work, relationships, mental state, physical state, financial state, etc. Whilst this exercise may take a little bit more time and thinking you’ll likely find that it’s a great way to get you motivated again. If it helps you could even pin your responses in a place you regularly look at to serve as a reminder.
CREATE A MOTIVATIONAL BOARD
A motivational board is another way to stay motivated and is one strategy that many in the health and fitness industry use. This is the place where you can write down your goals, put up inspirational quotes, pin up pictures of the physique you wish to have, or anything that represents what you want out of life.
TRAIN WITH SOMEONE
If training on your own is what’s stopping you from staying motivated then train with a friend, join a group class, or better yet, train with an experienced coach. Training with a good coach will give you the appropriate guidance you need in terms of training with correct form, program design and pushing yourself appropriately to get the most out of your workout. A good coach will also make sure you stay accountable by frequently checking up on your training, nutrition and other lifestyle habits.
These are just a few ways to help you get back into the training mindset once again. Keep in mind that there are dozens of motivational techniques to choose from, and this is by no means an exhaustive list. Many people use visualisation and do this every night before sleep. Others watch motivational workout videos on YouTube, and others enjoy following fitness role models. It may be hard to kick-start yourself back into a regular training, but with the right motivation the habit will set in again and you’ll be on your way to getting ready for summer!