Maintaining Your Fitness Motivation

2012-03-19 by . 12 comments

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Starting a new and exciting prospect always brings this feeling of exhilaration and wonder. Drumming up the nerve and getting that initial high is easy, but maintaining that interest afterwards is not. Fitness is no different, and working towards a healthy and active lifestyle is no easy feat. Breaking your New Year’s resolutions is only discouraging and wanes your motivation to pursue that choice.

If you’re falling out of your current fitness plan, then perhaps re-evaluating your fitness goals will help you get back on your feet. Setting small goals (while keeping the overall big picture goal in mind) helps keeps things realistically attainable. We may become too focused on the little things and sometimes forget the what the long-term plan is. Willpower alone will not remedy the lack of motivation. Having the desire to become fit is great, but what we think in our minds, ideal as it may be, doesn’t always reflect the actual reality around us and vice versa. Sometimes we just need a little extra help in reaching our goal.

Tracking your progress over time can help paint a picture of where you are in reaching your fitness goal. There are many ways to do this ranging from simple pen and paper to using one of the many fitness apps or devices out there. By breaking down your goal into smaller steps – micro-goals if you will — you can figure out what it is you want to track. Over time, you can tweak and fine-tune your performance to reach the next level of where you want to be. Tracking comes into play by visualizing how you’ve improved. Even if you don’t meet the goal you’ve set, that doesn’t mean no progress has been made. Any effort you put in will not be lost, and tracking is a reflection of the improvements that have accumulated over time and contributed to your physical performance. If anything, you should take this as a sign that you are improving even if it may not be so immediately visible.

Looking up to other people can also motivate you to become a better performer. You don’t have to idolize superstars or celebrities; instructors, friends, random strangers, classmates, or whomever can all satisfy this purpose. Watching and being around others, especially those who are more experienced, can serve as an inspiration to be better, stimulate your mind, and challenge yourself to go beyond what you can do. The effort you put in will manifest both physically and mentally and also feed back into the tweaking your performance to meet your end goal. What is important about having other people is creating a support system that will provide guidance and insight as to how you can continue striving for excellence.

Variety is important to keep things interesting in order to prevent mental and physical stagnation. If you feel like you’re getting bored with an activity, change your routine once in a while. Introduce a new exercise, tweak your program slightly, or just briefly try something completely new just to break up the monotony. Whatever exercises you do can easily translate into other physical forms after you develop the physical capabilities. After years of martial arts training, I have started experimenting with running (for the Warrior Dash) and rowing (for Dragon Boat) and discovered that these activities come very easy to me. Understanding your body and being more aware and conscious of what it is doing will open a breadth of opportunities for you to go and test out your limits. You might even pick up something even more enjoyable and fun and meet a whole new crowd of people.

Sometimes getting fit isn’t fun, but turning fitness into a game alters the way you think and approach it. Games like Dance Central, Zumba Fitness, and Wii Fit are available to aid you in your fitness adventure. They can help you lose weight as long as you stick to it. Zombies, Run! is a mobile app that immerses the player in a zombie apocalypse in which running in the real world directs and advances the story in the game. Sometimes putting something of value on the line can also prompt motivation for fitness. Fatbet.net enables you to engage in friendly competition with your friends by having each person create a challenge and agreeing to a wager. GymPact forces you to go the gym by using behavioral economics. When you sign up, you put an amount on money along with a commitment to work out. If you fail to make your commitment, you’ll lose your money. However, when you do make your scheduled workout, you will earn a cash reward which is paid by those who didn’t go to the gym.

Once you do meet your goal, it is important to continue what you are doing. Giving up is the worst thing to do at any point; maintaining your fitness and health never ends. Exercise isn’t necessarily easy process; if it were, everyone would be fit and healthy. Rather than think about how difficult exercise is, keep in mind that what you’re doing is a positive benefit for your life. Everyone has to start somewhere, even those who are elite athletes or have gone through extreme weight loss regimens. Even if you find yourself down from time to time, don’t let that discourage you from the ultimate result. Stay focused on what you want and who you want to be. The path should never be a hopeless road.

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  • Sancho says:

    I like what you say about needing to set your own fitness goals. If you’ve done that, you should be able to remain motivated through the hard work needed to get there.

    However, I don’t think you should be re-evaluating goals whenever you start not feeling like doing your current plan (because it’s getting difficult, or because you’re not seeing the progress you expected). Instead, you should be re-evaluating the plan, if you were confident in the goals at the outset. If you have accumulated some injuries, perhaps an adjustment to your between-workout recovery activities will be necessary. If you are not progressing, perhaps an increase in intensity or frequency will be needed. But, we shouldn’t just change goals to match what our lazy selves would rather be doing. Pick a goal, and stay laser focused on it. You can (and should) re-evaluate your goals, but not because you’re falling out of your current plan to get there.

    Variety that is not necessary can detract from achieving goals. A couple of examples… A powerlifter who randomly decides to take up running and rowing would see their recovery between lifting workouts be negatively affected. A college athlete who has very limited time should take a super focused approach to training, finding a simple (and simple doesn’t mean easy), consistant training program that augments their sport-specific practices and workouts.

    Switching things up due to boredom isn’t training and wastes time. Throwing in a variety of different exercises just because some are fun isn’t training and wastes time. I think the same thing goes for anyone with a busy schedule. Keeping things consistent allows exactly what you’ve advocated: goal setting and tracking progress. The fun will come later, when you’re doing things better and faster than the opponent, finishing a long hike with tons of energy to spare, or biking with your tent to a far away place… whatever it is you’re training for.

  • jim says:

    just remember when you diet everybody wants to cut fats out but some are needed every day.do research and find out which ones you need.

  • David Haas says:

    Hi, I have a quick question about your blog, do you think you could email me? David

  • I think your blog is very close to reality,because i saw so often peoples start their fitness program with a positive attitude but after some days zeal goes missing and they got back to their routine life.So there must be some motivation to keep your fitness program ON.

  • Niko says:

    There’s an easy way to maintain motivation and I have already tried it successfully in a group of 5 fitness boot camper. Well really simple you just need to have a competition or ranking system with your group. And I know everybody wouldn’t want to be the bottom ranked person. Try it, it really helps.

  • [...] New Fitness Program Puts a Personal Trainer in Your Pocket and at a Fraction of the Regular CostThe Zumba Fitness Program Really Is a Program12 Week Fitness ProgramMaintaining Your Fitness Motivation [...]

  • ambparker says:

    Eat vegetables, preferably raw (the main reason for this is, it is hard for the stomach to digest it and extract valuable material from it and hence your stomach is working out for you). This will work wonder on your overall health also.Make sure your eating enough, eat too little will not allow your body to let go of excess weight,Eat a balanced diet, avoid high fat, high sugar food. Dont go near chips (cold) or fries (hot), eat fruit between meals, and eat plenty of salad. Your metabolism will increase and you will lose weight fast.dont forget to go the gym n using fitness equipments efficiently,if you dont have get one below

    http://www.dietkart.com/sports-and-fitness/gym-and-fitness-equipment

  • Akshay says:

    Great blog and great work done and seriously your blog motivated me a lot. Keep on bloging important infomation like this so that this could help me in future and i saw some more important information on Top 5 Gym Motivation Questions That Inspire You

  • Sally says:

    Those apps you mention for turning fitness into a game seem like a great idea. Workouts can get boring and apps on a cell phone can add a lot of variety.

    Thanks!

  • Joe Krav Maga says:

    This is a really good read for me. Thanks for posting this useful information. This was just what I was looking for. I’ll come back to this blog for sure sometimes .I was looking for some condition training methods and specific food program because I bin recently training some self defense Martial Art(www.krav-maga.us) because we live in a dangerous world today where you never now what it will happen tomorrow.Is important for me to be in good shape .Thanks

  • Shiv Sharma says:

    Thanks for this great post to be fit our health….Motivating ourselves is the major factor to keep our fitness well….

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