In the second piece of a series exploring his True Strength training regime, Optimum Nutrition athlete Andy Cullen explains how he motivates himself and the importance of a positive mindset.
It’s important to try and constantly remain focused and stay motivated to achieve your personal fitness goals and believe me, this can sometimes be a lot harder than it sounds.
When I was starting out on my own fitness journey I used to think of athletes who were famous for being fit and in top condition and use them as a source of inspiration for myself.
When I was younger I looked up to bodybuilding greats such Arnold Schwarzenegger and Frank Zane and I admired them for their iconic tapered physiques (broad shoulders and small waists). Over time I began to follow modern day athletes with similar physiques to myself such as Greg Plitt and fellow Optimum Nutrition Athlete Steve Cook.
Greg is a fitness model and Steve competes in the same category as myself (IFBB Physique) and their physiques are in line with the goals I want to achieve. I’m extremely privileged to have met both Steve and Greg over the last few years.
As I grew older and became more established, however, I no longer felt the need to use other figures as sources of inspiration to keep me focused; I turned to myself as a source of motivation and self-motivation is a tactic anyone can use to help them achieve their own goals.
Personally, I strive to continually improve my own physique and I achieve this in a number of ways.
For a start, I set goals and targets for myself every day, every week and every month. Those goals might not have been particularly ambitious, but when you achieve them and accumulate them all together, it led to me successfully achieving larger goals.
Rome wasn’t built in a day so it’s important to stay focused and execute the simple tasks every day in order to benefit from them down the road. When I talk about goals they might often be as simple as making an effort to train six times a week or ensuring to track my food intake on a daily basis. Simple, but also very effective.
I also take photos of myself on a weekly basis so I can track and have a physical reference of my progress. There might not always be a massive difference every week, but over time it’s amazing to look back and reflect on how far you’ve come. Results in themselves are enough motivation for me to want to push myself that bit further to continually enhance my physique.
Andy, July 2013
Andy, May 2014
A practise common amongst many people who go to the gym that I also recommend is keeping an exercise diary so you can look back on the exercises, sets, reps and weights that you do in each and every workout. It’s a great way to make sure your performance is always improving, while having evidence that you’re continuously making progress is a great confidence boost as well.
To stay focused in the gym and to make sure I get the most out of every workout, I rely on music to keep me going as I train. I use a playlist from Bodyfirst Nutrition to keep my head in the game and feed off the energy of the music to ensure that I get the most out of every gym session.
Have a listen to one of the samples I’ve picked out below and check out some more ready-made playlists here.
Check out Andy’s column on the importance of nutrition here.
You can follow Andy on Twitter here.