Working out every day can be painful but hitting that wall can hurt a whole lot more. Without any explanation you plateau. You run at a slower pace. You can’t do as many reps anymore. You. Are. Spent.
In our quest to find the magic formula for staying motivated, we spoke to leading UK-based personal trainer and nutritional expert, Scott Laidler. Here are 15 ways to beat the block and break through that workout wall.
1. Pay Out
Whether you're dropping money on a new gym membership, a personal trainer or eating healthy – if you spend your cash on things related to your well-being, you’re more likely to stick to your commitments. You’ll be less inclined to spend the evening on the sofa watching Game Of Thrones if you know it’s costing you. Plus, there’s no better investment than your health. #absdontcomecheap
2. Rise To The Challenge
Waking up an hour earlier every day might seem cray but any fitness expert will tell you to rise to the occasion. As grueling as it is to set the alarm clock for 6AM, it’s a lot harder to convince yourself to do that 10k after an exhausting day at the office.
There are plenty of benefits to getting your workout finished first thing in the morning. The gym’s less crowded, Twitter’s not awake yet and your boss isn't even checking her email yet. Switching off your work life is essential and what better way to do it when the rest of the world is quiet?
3. Stop Making Excuses
It’s too hot, it’s too cold, I’m too tired – you’ve heard it all before. People who don’t want it enough find excuses. People who do want to get results find a way. You’ll never regret going to that HIIT class but you will regret wasting three hours on the couch.
4. Find A Friend
If you don't have time to workout but your see your best friend on the regular, why not combine the two?
Scott says, “Find a friend to work out with you. This way you’ll be more motivated and could possibly push yourself even harder than you normally would and in turn achieve better results. Plus, you won’t want to let each other down by canceling."
If she’s better than you, you’ll train harder and faster to keep up. Call it healthy competition!
5. Protein Pick Me Up
Protein is just as crucial as carbs as it helps repair muscle damage, diminishes the effects of the stress hormone, cortisol, and speeds up your body’s ability to replenish glycogen stores.
For those of you who don’t have the time to prepare turkey salads for the entire week or boil eggs every night, taking protein supplements, such as shakes and bars, could be an option.
However you choose to do it, eating protein will boost your performance. Look after the machinery and it will look after you.
6. Keep Tabs
Whether you’re a runner, a cyclist or a kickboxing lover, keeping a record of the hard work you’re putting in will help you recognize your achievements as well as your set backs.
Mark your workouts with a tick and cross system. If you skip your workout two or three days in a row you’ll have a visual reminder that it’s time to crank it up a notch. Results don’t come easy, you have to strive for them.
7. Find A Love For Fartlek
Fartlek training is a great way to vary your workouts and, dare we say it, make them FUN.
“Do Fartlek training with a friend and take it in turns to make up a new rule. (E.g sprint for 10 seconds each time you see a red car). This will make it more fun, keeping it interesting and your energy levels up,” says Scott.
8. Aim High
There’s a great quote by writer and philosopher, Robert Pirsig: “You are never dedicated to something you have complete confidence in.” If you had complete trust that you’d run a marathon with ease would you have the same drive to go out and train for it?
The thrill in signing up for an event or pushing yourself to workout when all you want to do is rest is knowing it will be tough.
Scott reminds us that “to make yourself better/stronger/faster always aim high with your goals so if you don’t reach them you’ll try that little bit harder next time which will help you achieve more.”
9. Get Some Sleep
Get up earlier. Go to bed earlier. It’s a simple formula that’s sure to prove beneficial for your motivation. Sleep deprivation affects motivation and muscle recovery so be sure to catch some of those precious Zs. The better you sleep, the better you perform.
10. Be Snack Wise
Avoid those afternoon sugar cravings by exchanging the chocolate and sweets for healthy snack alternatives. Demolishing an entire bar of Cadbury’s isn’t going to motivate you to run those miles but a juicy Pink Lady will. Remember food = fuel. Whatever you put into your body is going to affect how you train.
If a sweet treat becomes a daily habit think about the calories in exercise terms. Is that slice of cheesecake really worth the 600 calories you burned off at the gym this morning? Thinking about your food choices in this way will put those sugar cravings into perspective.
11. Mix It Up
A lack of motivation can be put down to a number of things but a reason we hear a lot is boredom. Monotonous workout routines will drive you crazy eventually. Scott recommends changing it up as soon as you become comfortable:
"By trying different methods of training such as doing intervals, super setting, using a TRX, swimming or yoga, you'll keep your body guessing, forcing adaptation and improvement."
12. Try A PT
Paying someone else to motivate you? Now that's genius. That doesn't mean to say you don't need to make the effort, a personal trainer will certainly put you through your paces to help you reach your goals.
Scott explain that "having an expert design a tailor made program for you takes all the guess workout of training. The trainer will help you to improve your diet, design a workout program that specifically meets your needs and they’ll also help to keep you motivated. It’s a great way to train with the clinic precision of an athlete."
13. Mental Rehearsal
Get yourself hyped before exercising by visualizing the activity and thinking "strong." Whether you're weight lifting or out to set a personal best at 10k, mental preparation will help you set off on the right foot.
14. Get Distracted
Exercising is all about healthy compromise. Finding a way to fit it into your schedule comfortably will make it feel less like a chore and more like a hobby.
"Find a distraction during your steady state cardio. Low intensity fat burning (105-120) BPM is the perfect time to catch up on your favorite TV show, read or make a phone call, adding time to your workout and getting you lean."
15. Find A Cause
Running, walking, or climbing - however you choose to workout, why not add a whole other dimension to your exercise routine by doing it for charity?
Training for any event is a huge commitment, sometimes it takes months of preparation (and a bucketload of sweat and tears) but you'll only ever remember how good it feels when you finish.
Raising money for a worthy cause will make training mean so much more than simply exercise. There's a pressure to meet a target for both the charity and your sponsors, making it the ideal motivation to put in the necessary training. You have people counting on you!
And if all that doesn't work just check out these celebrity bikini bodies - you'll wanna hit the gym soon after...
Check out Scott's site at www.scottlaidler.com.
How do you stay motivated? Tweet us @wewomenUSA!
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