After more than 20 years in the fitness industry I can say that exercise motivation is the single most important factor in the success or failure of any fitness program. “Yes”, Setting goals correctly will enhance your enthusiasm and keep you on track but make no mistake about it, motivation is the key to achieving your training potential.
Why is motivation so important?
Because without it, what ever program you follow you will eventually get disillusioned, fed up and simply stop training.
So for great results in training, motivation is the number one, most critical, absolute top of the tree thing required for success.
In fact if you take it to it”s logical conclusion suppose there was a magical tablet that was reasonably priced and all you had to do was take it 5 times a day to achieve the training results you wanted, I guarantee some people would still fail.”Why”? Because without motivation there would still be some people who would lack the willingness to pay for the tablets, or have the persistence to take them 5 times a day indefinitely.
Also keep in mind that motivation is important because fitness and training programs are not something most of us have to do. Unlike working to pay our mortgage or put food on the table exercise is fairly unique because as I said earlier, unless you are training to be a professional sports person you don”t have to exercise if you do not want to.
So when you are feeling tired at the end of the day, you still have things to do before the morning and your favorite program is on TV, it is so easy to think “no I won”t train today, I will train tomorrow” That”s why motivation is the most important thing you need to succeed in any fitness program, which ever one you choose.
It is also true that even people who possess extraordinary determination and motivation in other areas of life can fail miserably when it comes to sticking with training and healthy eating programs simply because they lack exercise motivation. In my years as a fitness instructor I have seen many people whom I regard as driven and focused in life, unable to stick to their schedule of fitness and the number one reason for this was because they had not placed their training program high up in the priorities of their life.
As a consequence of this whenever other problems cropped up in life as they always do, their fitness program was the first thing to get dropped and once that happens it can be very difficult to get back on track.
So to succeed in your training make sure you put exercise motivation high up in the priorities of your life. Remember, without your health nothing else matters.
How can you maintain motivation?
As an experienced fitness instructor and fully qualified hypnotheripist I can tell you there are a number of techniques listed below that you can use to keep your exercise motivation levels high.
Most important of all, from the moment you start training keep a training journal. Include in it everything from how much you weighed when you began, your measurements, fat percentage level and also the exercises, number of sets and reps done.
Also, if possible remember to write down how you felt during your training i.e. was it hard or easy and say how you felt mentally i.e. keen or lacking inspiration. This way, not only can you see how you have progressed but when ever your motivation wanes you can look back at previous scores and see how far you have come.
One of the greatest bodybuilders of all time Frank Zane said keeping his journal was the most important key to his success. If it is good enough for him it is good enough for me.
Take some photographs of yourself just before your very first training session and take some more once a month thereafter. Keep them in an album dedicated for your training progress and you will see how you have improved every time you look at them.
After several months of training it is easy to forget how you once were. This reminder can be a great way for maintaining your exercise motivation. If you like, you could place your photos on the wall were you train and constantly see the changes you have achieved.
Films and Books
A couple of times a week try to watch inspirational films and documentaries or read a book or article about someone inspirational.
It does not have to be about training but it should be about someone who has overcome great obstacles in there life. This is a technique great for exercise motivation and puts any little setbacks you have back into perspective.
After you have finished training try to have 5 minutes of time for yourself to think about your training and how it is changing you now and in the future.
Go back to see the future
If you ever feel your exercise motivation is dropping take a look at your journal and find one of the very first training routines you did. Then for today only do the old trainig session with the same exercises, sets and reps. when you have finished and realize how easy it is for you to do now what was once so hard, I guarantee you will have all the motivation you will ever need.
Remember motivation can enable you to accomplish anything even withstand the pain of burning your own body.
This is a technique used by many top sports people to improve their performance and increase exercise motivation. It can be used before or during training.
I have used the following visualization method many times in the past when ever I wanted to achieve a personal best result and it has always worked.
It is a great way to improve the number of reps on a particular exercise if you have been unable to get past a certain point.
Let us say for example you continually fail at 18 pull ups and you want to get to 20.
What you do is the following. About 30 minutes before you begin the exercise, find a quit place, make yourself comfortable and start by taking some deep slow breaths.
Then imagine your whole body relaxing and almost sinking into the chair you are sitting in.
When you are ready begin visualizing the pull-ups.
Imagine performing them individually, counting to yourself as you mentally do each one.
However, some sport psychologists will tell you to imagine doing each one with no problem until you get to your desired goal in this case 20. Take my advice and do not do this
If you do, when you do them for real you will get to about 15-16 reps and you will start to feel pain but because you have not mentally rehearsed feeling pain you will then start to have doubts and confusion in your mind.
Picture yourself doing each rep nice and easy until you get to where it normally starts hurting say in this case 16 and then acknowledge the pain instead of denying it. You might even find pleasure in the warm feeling the pain brings to your muscles.
So always visualize the feeling of pain and work through it. You can even imagine stopping whilst you hang on the bar for a second or two before doing the last few hard reps. Remember, the goal is simply to get past a sticking point so see the pain as a friend who is helping you reach your goal.
The best exercise motivation you can have is to enjoy what you are doing. Do not be a slave to sets and reps all the time as the most important factor is having fun and if you do that you will have all the motivation you need.
Finally never give up
Why persistence is crucial for training success
Learn why setting goals is crucial for success
Your internal voice is the difference between being the best or a dreamer
Learn the benefits of exercise to help your exercise motivation
Forget about drugs learn about the runners high
Learn why visualizing can change your life
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