Posted on February 07, 2019 by Josh Puttock
Motivation is the number one reason for exercise schedules falling apart. Winter is a tough month for getting up and getting out: shorter days give us less light for morning runs, cold temperatures leave us hesitant to get out of bed and winter weather can put off even the hardiest of weekend warriors. Without being psyched to sweat, and without maintaining that psych, you’ll quickly find yourself questioning why you even started.
Luckily, all is not lost. Although it may seem like an uphill struggle, there are some tips and tricks in which we can boost our motivation and get our regimes back on track.
Phone a friend
My first point is company (i.e. suffering with your friends or colleagues!). Of course, there are always a select few who quite happy to exercise alone. If you’re one of them, then this point may not seem as relevant, but stay tuned…lack of motivation affects us all.
For a lot of the population, a run with company can make a world of difference. Not only does it turn exercising into a social situation, but it also means that you have someone there to boost your enthusiasm when your energy is running low. Comparison is a great tool, and discussing things pre, during and post workout with a buddy opens new doors to improvement.
Likewise, bouncing off somebody else can trigger a competitive aspect to exercise in which you find yourself wanting to achieve more and work that bit harder. Try planning your week’s workouts alongside friends and you might even start looking forward to the gym.
Variety is the spice of life
Routine is both a blessing and a curse. While it’s great to be able to plan your excursions and stick to that plan, doing it the same way every week will quickly become tedious. Keeping exercise interesting is a very important aspect of motivation and if you’re quickly becoming bored of the 5km run around the block every Monday at 6am, it’s time to change things up.
Routine doesn’t have to scream repetition. Instead of going to the gym every week, why not occasionally go climbing or bouldering? Climbing boasts problem solving and a full body workout within very social surroundings. Everything you can do in a gym can be replicated easily in a climbing centre. Why not try trail running as opposed to road running? Indoor skiing as an alternative to leg day? The list goes on.
Do keep to some form of routine, as it’s important to have some idea of what lies ahead. Whether you’re allocating which days you rest and those on which you’re working out, make sure you’re mixing the routine up.
Pat yourself on the back
Exercise in any sense is futile without acknowledging your progress. Be it large or small, any sign of improvement is a step forward and nudge in the right direction. Many are far too harsh on workout efforts and this can quickly leave the mind feeling deflated and uninterested. Make sure you monitor your progress in a way that it clearly visible and easily accessible, so when improvements are made you can give yourself a pat on the back.
Apps like Strava are market leaders in GPS tracking services. These pocket exercise logs keep your data stored for you to monitor workouts whenever and however often you choose. Seeing your run and cycle times whittle down over time is a great reward, and being able to track these over months of effort will be vital to staying motivated.
Simple techniques such as running the same distance faster and harder is another great way of chasing improvement. If three weeks ago you were beat after jogging 7km, running it harder and feeling great at the end of the same 7km will be a huge boost for your pride. Revisiting older routes and sessions is a fast way to show how far you’ve come. It’s a simple one, but progress should be recognized in all aspects of life.
These recommendations aren’t rocket science, and all of them in their own way can be implemented easily into any busy schedule. It’s these modest pointers that can turn that pre-workout frown upside down. After all, exercise should be enjoyable and if it’s starting to become a chore, you’re obviously not having enough fun.
By Tom Alderton