You're not alone if staying motivated is the trickiest part of continuing a diet and fitness program. Starting is easy, but consistently crushing your workout instead of beers can be a tough task. As the days and weeks pass, you may go from moments of "Beastmode!" to times when you can't even muster the energy to leave the couch, let alone hit the gym.
By employing a few of the tips below, you can forge onward and make sure your current training routine doesn't become yet another failed attempt to reach your fitness goals. They may be simple and un-sexy, but the tips below are easy to implement, practical, and will help you over the long haul.
1. Find a mentor
Well, you found my site and joined the Squad. Mission partly accomplished. I hope you know how much I enjoy sharing my fitness knowledge with you. We are in this together. Here is something else to consider. If you don't currently work out with anyone, you may want to get a partner—especially one who's stronger and more advanced than you. An in person mentor can be an immense boost to your accountability, exercise knowledge, training intensity, and results. If you are both a part of the Squad and have the Beast Package, even better. When I started training, my mentor was my best friend Sean. He was a couple years older and we played high school football together. He got me started and I owe him a great deal for everything I have accomplished through fitness.
If you have a friend who trains but has a different goal than you, don't let that stop you from hitting the gym together. You don't necessarily have to do your workouts together or target the same body part on the same day. Just knowing that someone's waiting for you in the morning or after work could be enough to turn your goal of showing up into a daily reality. If you have one of my digital programs downloaded to your iPhone or Android device, then you can show them the images and they can check your form for you.
Insider Tip: Try to find a gym buddy one notch above you on the fitness ladder. Not only will the partner be able to correct your form and introduce you to new exercises, but can also give you that instant dose of motivation needed to push forward to the next level.
2. Find A Community Or Support Group
In addition to having a gym mentor or buddy, try to form as large of a support network as possible. Your group should consist of people who understand your training goals, can relate to your struggle, and are willing to be a shoulder to lean on during hard times.
Personally, I surround myself with positive people who want nothing but the best for me (I'm talking about you in case you didn't know). By doing this, I've found that I don't really have days where I feel discouraged. I can always turn on the computer, check in with you on Facebook or Instagram, and I feel instantly supported and pushed in a positive direction.
Insider Tip: Don't underestimate the power of support. By nature, many gym-goers tend to be more independent individuals—which is probably what drew them to fitness rather than team sports. Independence can be great, but it doesn't mean you have to attack everything alone. If you haven't already joined those of us training, join us here. You can even start free.
3. Keep The Big Picture In Mind
We don't diet here. We instill a lifestyle change. Eating clean is a lifestyle. This doesn't mean we don't get cravings. Cravings are our worst enemy when trying to reach our fitness goals.
Sometimes, taking a step back and gaining some perspective is key to subduing—and eventually dismissing—that urge to head over to the pantry and eat everything in sight. One technique that helps me is remembering that food is fuel. Anything sweet or indulgent is just a temporary satisfaction. My poison? Starburst or Sour Patch Kids. When I get cravings, I remind myself that the feeling i'll get from delving into that sour and sweet goodness is fleeting. The results i'll see if I don't give in are lasting.
Insider Tip: Most food cravings last only a few minutes. That cue from your brain's pleasure center, and the immediate release of dopamine that follows, might tell you that that jelly donut is truly irresistible. Stay level-headed and remember that true "feel good" sensations don't come until progress is made.
4. Follow A Plan That Works For You
I can't say it enough: If you follow a plan that you enjoy and that fits your lifestyle, motivation will come organically. You'll naturally want to follow your fitness plan because you enjoy the activity it involves. Sticking with a stringent plan might work for the short term but, more often than not, plans that are too intense are dead ends when it comes to long-lasting progress.
It's important to tailor your plan to your lifestyle. If you prefer bodyweight exercises and don't have much time, then the Dirty Basics program is a great option. If you prefer to hit the gym some days, and then train bodyweight at home or even outdoors, then something like the BW44 90-Day Program may fit your lifestyle better.
5. Keep A Training Journal
A day-in, day-out schedule of work-gym-sleep can leave you running ragged. Trust me, I know. Once frustration kicks in, it can become hard to remember why you put yourself through such a tough regimen. It's at time like this that a journal can be a source of inspiration. Tracking your workouts, nutrition, daily hurdles and—perhaps most importantly—your accomplishments will allow you to see how far you've come since starting and remind you that hard work pays off.
6. Change It Up
Nothing kills motivation like a boring routine. I don't like leftovers. Week old, stale, boring food doesn't appeal to me. So why would a routine that has the same, boring old exercises excite me? When movements become lame, just hit the refresh button. Every 2-3 weeks, change something about your workout routine. Add a few new exercises, reverse the order of the routine, switch from weight training to bodyweight training, or switch the grip. You don't need a new workout routine every week. Two to three exercise swaps should do the trick.
Insider Tip: It's a good idea to refresh your workout every 4-6 weeks and change your full program every 12-16 weeks. This will allow you to hit multiple training goals over the course of the year, keep your body from adapting to one program, and keep your fitness life interesting for the long haul!
7. Focus On The Benefits
We've all been there. You've scheduled Monday as leg day. You've got everything ready: gym clothes packed, water bottle filled, and workout printed. But, when the time to crush your quads rolls around, your motivation is zapped. Your energy's at zero and the last thing you feel like doing is crushing your legs.
So what do I do? Rather than focusing on how much you DON'T want to squat, focus on how much you want results and how not working out could be a step in the wrong direction. I won't lie, there are days where I feel like sitting on the couch would be more satisfying than hitting the gym. What I keep in mind is how I will feel if I don't work out. I don't like that feeling.
Few people take the time to consider how their decision to skip a gym session will affect them down the line because they are too focused on how they feel at that moment. I am all for being present, but remember that we set a goal. The decisions you make today affect how soon you accomplish that mission. Consider how you'll feel if you give up. Chances are you'll be in the gym shortly after. Then, even if your workout starts with low energy, it will probably pick up once you're in the groove.
Insider Tip: If you're tired or simply can't muster the energy to train your "assigned" body part, revamp your workout plan. Calves sore? Train shoulders instead. Hamstrings tight? Take time to foam roll. Listen to your body and adjust your workout as needed. Remember, the only bad workout is the one you didn't do.
For the Squad