3 Motivational Techniques to Get You Pumped for a Workout
Every other article or post you read online has something to do with
motivation. Although they can be inspirational, it’s a bit much reading
about them every single freaking day. I know when I open Facebook and I
see 28 motivational quotes or memes in a row, my motivation bails as fast
as Flash. Sigh.
The problem is… how do I make it work for me? Where do I start? What can
I do to make it easier for me to wake up in the morning and do 45–60
minutes of physical activity? How in the hell am I going to eat 5 meals a
I can tell you from experience that taking it one day at a time is the key.
The thought of how long it can take to see results can exhaust you to the
point where starting just seems pointless. Motivation does not have to
be complicated nor costly (of your money, your energy, focus… you get
the picture). It does, however, take a little effort; but I am going to help
you by sharing three of the simplest things you can do to help raise your
motivation level for your workouts.
1. Have a Plan Ahead of Time
It can be a daunting task to walk into the gym and try to figure out on the spot
what you need to be working on that day. Legs? Chest? Arms? Upper Back? Lower Back? Abs? Do I focus on one area or combine? It can be overwhelming!
Creating a plan allows you to focus on specific muscles on certain days while reducing the amount of time spent at a gym. I’m a big fan of writing out your workouts at the beginning of the week so there’s one less thing you have to worry about. You can do this with pencil & paper, or using an app like BodySpace. This approach gives you time to make sure you target all your muscles and adjust your workouts week by week, almost ensuring that you are progressing. When you have tangible proof that your workouts are getting longer, more intense, more difficult, you’ll feel amazing and have that true sense of accomplishment. Cultivating this sense of pride is what will turn your motivation into habit. The same can be said about your overall goal. When you work out, there should be a purpose behind it and it should always be one that’s important to you.
Don’t look at images of other people and tell yourself “this is what I want to
look like”. Bullshit. All you’re doing is shaming yourself. Look at yourself
and write down all the things you want to improve upon. And big note here:
your goals don’t have to be physical. Maybe you want to have more energy
throughout your day or you want to get better sleep. It doesn’t matter what
your goals are as long as they are for YOU, and you believe that you can
achieve them. Write them all down and look at them periodically. Never lose
sight of them. Then, once you start working out, take pictures of yourself
often, ideally every 2–3 weeks. If you stick to your routine, you will see
changes. Try to imagine the joy you’ll feel when your pictures start showing
you real proof that you’re achieving goals. That’s certainly fuel to keep you
2. Mentally Prepare the Day Before
This is a big one, and one that I have adopted myself. I want you to practice
this simple exercise the night before your workout.
1.Sit in a quiet place, your bedroom if possible.
2. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in your specific workout space.
3. Imagine what you will be wearing that day, down to the last detail.
4. Take in the common smells and feel the temperature of your space.
5. Go through any particular routine you have before you start exercising, such as putting your bag in a locker, filling your water bottle, etc.
6. Since you have your workout already planned imagine performing one set of each exercise. When you do this I want you to feel the weight in your hands. Imagine the feeling of the contraction the exercise causes. Feel the sweat running down your body.
7. Once you have done that for each exercise, I want you to open your eyes, look in the mirror and envision the you that you have set out to pursue.
8. Turn off the lights, and go to sleep.
This meditation-style technique takes very little time, but the impact the next day is quite significant. You wake up with an enormous amount of energy. You notice that you’re in a great mood. When you begin your workout, it almost feels effortless because you already have an understanding of what your body will endure. Your confidence with each set skyrockets and you might even see more reps performed or weight lifted. When you’re finished the sense of accomplishment running through your body is almost overwhelming. I guarantee that you will drastically reduce the amount of missed workouts. All of your goals will seem even more achievable. Why? Simple visualization. You’ve already walked your brain through what you will be doing, so there’s no groggy “Oh no” feeling in the morning. You’re ready to go, and your mind makes it so.
3. Have Someone Around that Gives a Shit
In other words, have an accountability partner. I know you’ve heard about this more than once, but even I can’t deny the fact that this just works. In fitness in particular, letting someone know what your goals are and a timeline in which you intend to accomplish these goals allows you to create that sense of responsibility since the push to do as you said comes externally.
Your partner can be anyone whose opinion and feedback you value, such as your spouse, significant other, family member, co-worker, or even a community of people out to accomplish something similar (Oh hey, how about The Comic Corps?) Share your goals and your progress pictures with them. Be open with them when you feel like you are struggling. Meet with them once a week, either in person, via Skype or a simple phone call. I recommend that you keep it to one person you truly trust because having multiple accountability partners can make it more difficult on days that you are struggling. The last thing you need is five voices yelling at you for missing a workout. That does not inspire. But that one person in your life that understands what you are trying to do and that has the ability to motivate you makes a world of difference.
Staying motivated is an ongoing journey, one that never really goes away. You
will have tough days, maybe even tough months, but the worst thing you can do is not be proactive. You don’t have to give in to those negative thoughts
telling you not to continue to push forward or that what you are doing is too
difficult. Nothing worth having in this life ever comes easily.
The key to staying motivated is applying techniques that work for you to help cancel out those negative thoughts and keep you on the road to a healthy life and an improved YOU. It’s never too late to start or start over. Just because you failed once doesn’t mean it has to be over for you. Fight for yourself and surround yourself with a support network that is hellbent on seeing you succeed.