Sometimes it can be really hard to stay motivated when you’re on an exercise and nutrition regime. There are days when I would do anything (even the washing up) to get out of Metafit but in four months I have only cancelled one gym session because I just couldn’t face it and my week was already crazy busy. So how do I stay motivated? How do I drag myself out of bed and along to the gym on cold April mornings when it’s raining and still dark outside?
1. Have time dedicated to NOT exercising
It might sound a bit odd, starting my tips on how to stay motivated with talking about NOT exercising, but whaddya gonna do? It’s so important to maintain an exercise / life balance. Regardless of how busy you are, it IS possible to fit exercise in if it’s important to you to do so. It’s a case of prioritising. But it’s also worth dedicating some time when you know you will do it so it just becomes a part of your routine.
For me, I decided that I would drag my sorry self out of bed and train before work, despite the fact that I am in no way, shape or form a morning person. I hate getting up and I love sleeps. Simples. But early morning sessions with my PT really give me a kick start to the day. And choosing to do sessions at 6:00am mid-week also means I can give myself the ENTIRE WEEKEND OFF. My weekends are sacred because I train hard Monday to Friday. This timetable makes Saturday and Sunday even more appealing and also means I can spend time with Andrew and friends guilt free. Winning!
2. Get EVERYTHING ready the night before
I know for a fact this tip has been said countless times before, and with good reason. Because it’s bloody brilliant. If you’re training in the morning before work, as I much prefer doing, (see point 1) then you’re going to be up with the birds. Setting your alarm for 5:40am on a Monday night is no mean feat, but it becomes a whole lot easier when you know everything is ready and waiting for you.
It is worth the extra five minutes the night before to lay out your gym essentials. And when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING. Stick your gym kit on the radiator – knickers, sports bra, socks and all – fill your water bottle, put a handful of nuts in a bag next to the door and leave your trainers at the bottom of the stairs. Then all you have to do is get up, get dressed and go. Giving you precious extra time in bed and making mornings much less stressful. Do it, do it now!
3. Take before and after photographs
I know, I know. This is my idea of hell too. But it’s actually nice to see the change your body goes through as you start to work out more and eat more sensibly. I hadn’t realised how bloated and chubby I was before I started my regime until I saw myself in those pictures and compare them to my pictures now.
I’ve never shown them to anyone else and they are saved in a password protected folder on my phone – they are literally for my eyes only. But when my motivation is wavering, I can flick through and see my progress over the past few months. My cellulite has all but disappeared on my legs, my tummy is inches smaller and I have definition on my arms. The hard work is worth it. Don’t forget to do it just in your undies for maximum impact!
4. Weigh yourself often, but not obsessively
I’m not gonna lie, I like to see that little number of the scales go down. But it’s not all about the weight loss. It’s about how you feel and what you look like in your knickers (see point 3!). I weigh in once a week with my trainer and if I’m not training that week, I don’t weigh myself. I know that scales vary so I’ll only get an inaccurate result in my own bathroom, and that won’t do anything to help me.
I also have a chart pinned on the side of the fridge where I write in my weight for those weeks I am weighed. It’s helpful to see how the pounds have come off over time – steadily and healthily – and recording that number helps with my motivation. And don’t forget muscle weighs more than fat! A phrase I’m sure you’ve heard before, but it’s true.
5. Last but not least – enjoy yourself!
You might think that exercising is hideous. I still kind of do, but I see the effects it has on my body and I feel it lifting my mood and I know now that it’s just a part of my life. I couldn’t give it up, just as I couldn’t give up chocolate.
It’s so important to find something that you enjoy and stick with it – for me, I like Metafit for a short, sharp burst of energy, resistance work for toning and sculpting and kettlebells for a mixture of the two. I hate cardio so you won’t catch me out running for hours. It would just make me feel like crap. And if I hate a workout, I’ll be less likely to do it again.
But actually, I have found that the best way to start enjoying exercising is just to grit your teeth and do it. No one ever regrets a work out! You’ll soon find how much more energy you have and how much better it makes you feel. Despite almost passing out in the first session, I now look forward to my time with my PT and I have so much more energy for the day when I do. By the time I’m done, washed and dressed I’m so ready to be productive and attack the day!
I hope those tips have helped – do you have any to add?