I’m going to let you in on a secret:
What’s in your fitness program is a lot less important than how consistently you perform it.
The recipe for success is simple: Strength training with progressive overload, cardiovascular training to match the needs of your sport or health concerns, and nutrition based on whole foods. The actual nuts and bolts of that program certainly matter (I’d be a lousy coach if I believed that they didn’t), but it doesn’t explain the masses of people with lousy programs but excellent results.
Their secret is consistency. The best program won’t deliver results if it’s only performed ⅓ of the time, whereas a horrible program will deliver results if it’s consistent enough.
With that in mind, here are 8 strategies to stay motivated and consistent with your fitness program. Combined with a truly great program, you will finally be able to stop shaking your head at your hard-working yet misguided friends and actually outperform them.
1. Get a Training Partner
It’s one thing to skip a workout. It’s another thing to blow off your training partner and leave them hanging. Your training partner counts on you. They rely on you for accountability, technique coaching, motivation, and any spotting or assistance needed. A great training partner will keep you on track with your program and prevent you from switching routines every week.
Be selective when choosing a training partner. Ideally, choose somebody with more experience than will mentor you and coach you along. You don’t need to have the same training program, just the willingness to keep each other honest and in the gym. At the minimum, pick an accountabilibuddy that is consistent, wants to train, and will push you when you’re at risk of slacking off.
2. Not Motivated? Just Warm Up.
It’s a common assumption that fitness professionals love working out and want to train all day long. However, this isn’t always the case after a long day of training. So, on the days when I really don’t want to train, I psych myself into doing it. I’ll convince myself that I’ll foam roll, warm up, and do my correctives and just go home. I never actually end up going home. Warming up gets me in the groove and gets me started, which is often enough to commit to the full workout.
3. Commit to a “Bare Minimum” Workout
On the days when the above trick does not work, it’s useful to have a bare minimum workout. This is also a good trick for somebody trying to build a list of fitness habits. On the days when I really don’t want to train, I revert to a bare minimum workout. Simply pick the most effective part of your training program – and do that.
Look at it this way: if you only have 15 minutes, and your program consists of squats, lunges, bench hip thrusts, ball hamstring curls, calf raises, and ab work; you’re going to cram in the squats and sacrifice the rest. The squats are the primary focus (and bring the majority of your results) while the rest is simply accessory work.
Best of all, this tricks your brain just like “just warming up” does. You’ll often get in the mood and finish the rest of your workout.
4. Join a Check-In Group or Mastermind Group
Join a local MeetUp group of like-minded peers. Join a group training program. Start a Facebook group and keep each other motivated. You can set a check-in date, say every Friday by 5PM, and require members to check-in weekly. Share recipes, exercise videos, and motivation with each other. Social accountability is a powerful tool and should be used often.
5. Check Your Progress Regularly
The first step is to set a strong goal. Then, periodically check your progress on the goal. Set a time and date and then stick to it. For example, many of my clients try on their goal pair of jeans every Friday. They do it first thing in the morning and track the results in a journal. This becomes their weekly habit and method of measuring their results.
The jeans trick works especially well because most people simply want to look better. Weight no longer matters because there is now an objective measurement of results.
6. But Don’t Check All the Time
“A watched pot never boils”, as the saying goes. With that said, it’s common knowledge that weighing yourself daily is a recipe for frustration and disappointment.
In Henry Rollin’s fantastic essay on strength training, The Iron and the Soul, he mentions that he was forbidden from looking at himself in the mirror as a beginner until he could stomach a punch from his teacher. Extreme, but effective. By the time he could withstand the blow, Henry Rollins had transformed his body and reached his goal.
7. Keep a log
At the minimum, record your training program and keep track of your exercises, sets, reps, and weights. Doing so will allow you to not only remember your most recent weights, but also to look back in the future and see what’s worked best for you. There’s also undeniable satisfaction in checking off the final boxes of a 4-week training program that truly tested your limits.
In addition, several studies have demonstrated that keeping a food journal can significantly improve the success of a fat loss plan. (Additional reading & scientific references: http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20080708/keeping-food-diary-helps-lose-weight)
8. Hire a Coach
Allow for a shameless plug. Hiring a coach is an excellent way to improve your consistency and see results. A great coach will not only keep you accountable and motivated, but should also lead you every step of the way.
My clients check-in with me every Friday by 5PM. They report on their strength training, cardio training, health & wellness goals, nutrition, and 1-2 successes of the week. The extra accountability (again, not letting somebody else down) goes a long way.
Personally, I have seen my best results when I’ve hired another coach to write my training program and require me to check-in. The difference in my motivation was invaluable. I didn’t miss a single workout during the course of the program.
Combine these 8 tips into a motivation strategy that works for you. Make it your secret weapon and achieve the results that you’re after. And if you’re interested in hiring a coach for extra accountability, call 508-507-9008 or e-mail [email protected] to schedule your free 1 on 1 strategy session.
We’ll discuss your goals and create a customized plan to reach them. I guarantee that you’ll see an improvement in your health, strength, and fitness.