Overcome excuses and maintain motivation
With the New Year now in full swing, there is plenty of inspiration around to get back into, or start exercising. Thanks to Santa or the Boxing Day sales, you have the brand-new joggers, you might be feeling like you are carrying around too much holiday cheer, and wanting to feel lighter so you can enjoy the rest of summer.
Suddenly, everyone joins the gym and you need to ring ahead to book a place on the local bike path! Although this inspiration is great, and may last for a few weeks, real and lasting results will always require consistency. By the time February comes around, life returns to full swing, motivation lags, and the excuses to stop will begin to creep back to our conscious. Some examples of some of these hurdles to exercise are:
- No time
- Too tired
- Getting bored
- Too hot
At some point, these hurdles will find their way into our exercise life, the feeling is unavoidable, what is most important is what you do next. How do you respond? The first step, is to see these feelings listed above not as hurdles or excuses, but to see them as opportunities to divert to a new and different way to train.
This one is easy to jump over, put simply, make time. Take something out of your life that isn’t beneficial to your health and replace it with exercise. It could be as simple as stretching while you watch Game of Thrones instead of slouching in the couch. Or if you are time poor, increase the intensity of your sessions, for example interval sprints during a short run or a 20-minute strength training routine using your own body weight. Everyone can find 20 minutes out of 1,440 minutes of the day.
Many people don’t realise that to get more energy, you need to use energy. Your body is very good at resynthesizing energy to keep you coming back for more. Go to bed 20 minutes earlier, so you can get up 20 minutes earlier in the morning and train when you have energy, rather than skipping your session in the afternoon or night because you were feeling too tired. Be conscious of your diet, as energy levels could be related to your nutrition. Aim to fuel your body with sustainable carbohydrate. Carbs are the fuel your body needs, along with body fat, to keep you going during exercise.
There is plenty of research out there saying you should change your routine slightly every 6 – 8 weeks to keep getting gains in your fitness. Ask a friend to train with you so you can catch up as you train. Add a social game of tennis or touch football. Or better still, join a dance studio and learn a new dance every month with your partner and keep your exercise and relationship alive.
Our summers are very hot no doubt, but there are plenty of options that involve water, like stand-up paddle boarding, so you can jump in the water whenever you want to cool down. Train in the morning before the sun gets too high, or train indoors. Aqua aerobics isn’t just for seniors, join a class and be surprised by how challenging it can be!
At the end of the day, the number one way to maintain motivation is to be CONSISTENT. If one day the intensity doesn’t match your previous session that’s ok, just keep moving in some way and know you are doing maintenance for the next hard session and you’re not going backwards by doing nothing at all.
Matt was destined to have a life in fitness, having two professional athletes as parents. Training and a healthy way of life was what he was surrounded with and after playing state cricket and soccer in his teens, his competitive spirit took him into mountain biking and triathlons at 22. After a cycling trip around Australia, he returned home to study fitness and began his career at Golden Door in 2004. He enjoys taking the ‘Movement that Matters‘ seminar, Men’s Health, cardio vascular fitness training and functional training exercise classes.