1. Set your fitness goal
Firstly, decide what it is you want to achieve: is it about getting fitter, losing weight or gaining muscle strength?
To get fitter you need to focus on cardio (e.g. walking, running, cycling, swimming) in combination with weight training, when you need to focus on lots of reps using light weights.
Aim for the middle ground, and alternate cardio and weight training. So, do cardio on one day, and weights on another. When weight training, focus on the larger muscles in your buttocks and legs, for instance. Use weights that allow you to do 10-15 technically-sound reps.
Are you looking to build up your muscle mass to become stronger? If so, your weight training workout regime must comprise lifting weights that become increasingly heavier, whilst you scale back on the number of reps. For maximum muscle strength use a weight that you can only do 1-5 reps with. That hurts! But, you know, and can clearly feel, you're becoming stronger.
2. Make workouts a priority
You will achieve your fitness goal once you start viewing exercise as important as ... e.g. binge-watching your favourite TV show! Are you itching to watch the next episode? That's how you need to feel about your fitness goal (and every workout).
Or, in other words, turn fitness into a fixed, fun part of your lifestyle, to help you establish a routine.
Draw up a weekly schedule, and plan to follow it for a month. Need to skip a workout? It can happen from time to time, but just promise yourself you'll make up for it the next day! Draw up a realistic weekly schedule (of e.g. 3-4 workouts) and focus on that for the coming month. Is it working for you, after 1 month? No need to change a thing. Not working out so well? Tweak your weekly schedule to make it fit into your routine, to truly get active & stay active. Literally and figuratively.
Tracking your progress with a relaxed approach is key to staying motivated. So, don't get on the bathroom scales every day! Better yet, get rid of them and use your clothing to measure your progress. The shirt and trousers that looked great when you first bought them, but not so much now. Or, the clothing only recently bought because it caught your eye, but that doesn't fit you yet! But all that is about to change ...
On top of that, set achievable goals for a specific timeframe (say, one month, quarter or half year). Perhaps you could tie it in with an occasion, such as a holiday, competition or party? Go For It, as this will help you set short-term and a few longer-term goals #extramotivation.
4. Give yourself a helping hand
Try to make it clear to your friends, family and acquaintances that you could use every bit of motivation going, in order to reach your fitness goal. Tell them you'd really appreciate their help. And no, you're not being a party-pooper if you decide to skip pizza or drinks out now and again! After all, you don't want to put in lots of hard work for nothing. Don't you think?
You might know someone in your circle of friends who could also do with some extra motivation to stay fit. A buddy workout is always more fun and gets you off the sofa when it's raining outside and your buddy is waiting outside the gym for you.
Two further tips:
1. Make sure you always have a sports bag ready to go, in your car or at home.
2. Try to prepare healthy, lovely meals for the week ahead (meal prepping). This will help keep you away from temptation to order a calorific snack: it's win-win, as it's good for your fitness goal and your wallet.
5. Enjoy & have fun!
Over and above all the 'musts', remember to have fun; maybe you could try combining your workout with another sport. Perhaps you like dancing, skipping, group classes, tennis or boxing? Mixing things up always helps as it generates extra drive and the feel good factor!
Many find music also helps them stay focused during workouts. If you're lacking in motivation, or are finding part of your workout a drag, ramp up your favourite tunes through the headphones. Just wait and see, the fun and drive will come flooding back.
So ... enjoy and Go For It!
This blog is written by one of our Personal Trainers, Angelina Hammond.