JOE's post-workout tips: How to stay motivated
From keeping a log of your progress to making a music playlist, there are plenty of ways to stay motivated
Alright, this is not strictly a post-workout tip, but staying motivated is one of the biggest factors when it comes to exercise. Whether you're a seasoned gym-goer or you've just started, you're guaranteed to hit a patch at some stage where you're tired and stressed and don't feel like going.
The key here is to make sure that patch lasts for as short an amount of time as possible. Luckily, JOE has some great tips that will make sure you're back exercising with a renewed sense of purpose first thing tomorrow morning.
Thinking about going to the gym is great, but if you want to go and make it a regular routine, then actually go and do it instead of thinking about it. The human brain is a fantastic piece of hardware that can be rewired with relative ease, which means that your actions will give it a habit, and then before you know it you're in the gym three times a week without dreading it. We would call it a vicious circle, but since it can really be used to your benefit, that seems an appropriate term. We know that there are plenty of self help books that say "Think yourself thin!", but that won't really work, you've got to take some action to change your way of thinking first.
The common wisdom is that it takes three weeks to form a habit, and while there's not a lot of evidence to back that stat up, it has been proven that you can pretty easily form a new synaptic pathway that makes a habit in your brain and modifies your behaviour. Braking a habit is the hard part, so if you've instilled a good one in your behaviour patterns, you'll stick to it.
Leave your gym gear by the door
Prepare your bag the night before so that you're not rushing to get it done in the morning, and then leave it at the door. If you took the trouble to bring it in with you you're less likely to ditch the session, seeing as you lugged it all the way in. Leaving it by the door reminds you that you had planned to go today, and makes sure you don't forget it, if you're that way inclined.
Log your progress
Setting a goal and taking a note of your progress (and we mean in real numbers) is a brilliant way not only of pushing yourself on a constant basis, but making sure that you can see real progress, even if your body isn't changing that noticeably.
If you're starting out or you hit a plateau, then change can be slow to come, but if you can log your numbers every week, you'll see that you are improving. That's obviously a good reward, but it also introduces an element of competition. You're competing against yourself, but it's still a motivating factor.
Picking a goal and writing it down is also a great way to stay motivated. Make this a tangible goal and nothing too vague, as you won't stick to it. Once again, keeping a log of your numbers and progress will help in this respect, so your goal can be as simple as doing some more reps on an exercise or having a target weight that you want to hit on the bench press or dead lift. When you hit it, give yourself a reward, it'll keep you motivated to move on to the next one.
Music elicits emotional responses from us as humans, whether it's sad or happy, or in certain cases motivated. Flick through your collection and find those songs that put you in an upbeat mood. Whether you like rock or dance or whatever, there are always a few tunes that will pump you up, and having a good mix of both is a great way to make sure you don't get bored of a playlist too quickly either.
Motivational speeches can be handy too, and one of our favourite ones that always makes sure we hit that final set of reps is this video featuring Giavanni Ruffin working out, with a speech from Eric Thomas over the top. Throw in some Explosions in the Sky and you've got tingles down your spine, and a surge of energy that will push you over the finish line.
If that video doesn't work, then take today off, get some rest, clear your head, and go back tomorrow for a fresh start. That can work wonders too.
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