5 Ways I Learned How to Stay Motivated to Workout
He paces back and forth like an excitable dog. With just a minor gesture, his arms kind of pump up and down to get the adrenaline going. He keeps telling himself this is it, this is it. He finally stops pacing, gets his game face on and approaches the bar. He sets his feet in the proper stance, pushes his hips out, and firmly grasps the bar. If you were to try and drag him out of the room, you’d end up dragging him and the bar. This is happening and no one can stop him.
He holds his breath, grits his teeth and then begins to pull on the bar only to find that his arms rip out of the socket! And he topples backwards in a violent heap. His arms remain attached to the bar and stick straight up. It’s a scene that would stop anyone dead in their tracks.
Luckily he’s made of plastic. And this happened in a cartoon.
If you’re a movie buff, you know I’m referring to a scene from Toy Story and not talking about one of my personal training clients. In the movie, Mr. Potato Head tries to deadlift a barbell made from tinker toys. It has relevance though because I wasn’t always motivated to workout. I use to putz around the gym. I avoided deadlifting because I literally thought my 150 pound frame would snap in half just like our friend Mr. Potato.
But being a personal trainer required that I always be on my A-game. After all, I can’t expect my clients to do something I haven’t done before. Some trainer I’d be! So I had to dig deep and figure out ways to stay pumped up. Forty pounds later while being faster and stronger, I’d say I learned a thing or two.
So here are some simple ways that I learned to stay motivated to workout.
- Light at the end of the tunnel. Regardless of my goal, I usually do three weeks of hard work with one week of easy training, or what we call a “deload.” This means that I can’t screw around. I have three weeks to do something I’ve never done before. Maybe I run a 400 meter faster than before or set a new 10 rep back squat. No matter what, I have to set a personal record. It also reminds me that after all this hard work I can look forward to a breather.
- Small Progressions. Week to week features a 2% increase in something. I may increase the load on the bar or decrease rest time. Maybe I add a set of 100 meter sprints. It reminds me of the “three week rule” while telling my body that I’m constantly doing more work.
- Measurements. Results keep you motivated. They also keep you honest. I frequently perform assessments on myself to test vertical jump along with any increases in muscle mass. A lack of results means I either slacked off or didn’t program myself right. Any type of gain goes right into the incentive bucket to keep moving forward.
- End of the week cheat meal. A cheat meal in the middle of the week just feels wrong to me. I don’t want to squat while having some pizza sit in my gut. But placing it at the end of a training week isn’t necessarily a “reward” (never reward yourself with food!), but it’s a chance to get away from the training world for a little bit of time.
- Something new. Each training block incorporates something brand new. It has to be sensible to my goals, so just trying anything for the sake of change is a bad idea. But maybe I try a new exercise pairing like battle ropes and burpees, or try doing pause work in the bottom of a front squat. It prevents boredom and also helps with the concept of constantly progressing.
Lacking the motivation to workout? Give some of these techniques a try and I guarantee your body will experience changes.