When it comes to the New Year, we’re all very familiar with hearing the phrase ‘This is my year’ or ‘New year, new me’. The reality for many though, is that four weeks in, the majority of those resolutions will already be a thing of the past. According to data analysis from Strava – the social platform for fitness fans – most people will have given up on their New Year’s fitness resolutions by Friday 19th January 2020 (and they’ve even gone as far as to term this “Quitter’s Day”). That’s right; just three weeks is all it takes for most of us to abandon those good intentions!
With Christmas parties a distant memory, and summer holidays not yet on the horizon, it can be all too easy (especially when faced with the wet & windy UK weather) to slip back into the old routine of comfy clothes and a night in front of the TV. As much as we also love our pyjamas and a brew, we know how much better we feel – both physically and mentally – when we keep healthy and stay active.
We reached out to our lovely followers and asked them to share with us the things that help them to stay on track when it comes to fitness, and we’ve pulled together all of our favourite ways to help keep you motivated.
Here are some of the most popular tips to make sure you beat the statistics and hit your goals for 2020
Find your cheerleader
One of the main barriers to training, in our opinion, is psychological rather than physical and this can be one of biggest reasons why people sometimes fall at the first hurdle. It really is mind over matter, and we see time and again that convincing yourself to get to the gym or start working out at home on your own can be the hardest thing to conquer.
Well, lots of us can relate to that sinking feeling when someone gets on the treadmill next to you and you start to wonder “Are they checking how fast I’m going?”, “How much longer do I have to stay on here?”, “Do I look like I know what I’m doing?”
We can often feel that others are there watching our every move, counting each repetition or checking the weight on the bar; the reality is that most people are busy doing their own thing, and are possibly thinking exactly the same as you and struggling with their own self-confidence or perception. It is a misconception that most people are judging others when at the gym.
It’s a different story when you’re at home, in the comfort of your living room. Sure, you’ve definitely not got anybody else watching what you’re doing but actually, this can be just as challenging. Who’s going to know if you skip the last few minutes of your workout, or even if you don’t get going at all? Lack of motivation can be very difficult to overcome, especially if you’re not overly confident with what you’re doing.
So how can we break down the mental barriers and get into the gym, or find the motivation to complete a workout once we get back home after a full day’s work?
Our favourite way is to find your very own cheerleader; this could be a friend or partner, a colleague or a trainer – as long as they are someone you can rely on to give you that mental boost when you’re just not in the mood! Let them know what you’re committing to do so they can support you and hold you accountable. Arrange to do some workout sessions together, so you’re both relying on each other to show up; it’s easy to switch off the alarm when it’s just you, but much harder to have to let your friend down. Find that person who will pick you up when you’re down, motivate you when you’re tired and push you through that extra set when you need it. One day, it’ll be your turn to act as Mr Motivator for them… imagine the feeling of the shoe being on the other foot!
Whether it’s with a good app, a new style of class or a fitness provider, find someone that can education you safely on the correct techniques and inspire you with fun, short sessions that keep you engaged – whether in the gym or at home. We tend to find that if you are new to a fitness regime, anything longer than an hour is more likely to demotivate you and you’ll struggle to complete it all so keep it short, sweet, fun and focused.
Know that it’s okay to make mistakes
There will be days where you don’t make the best food choices, or you decide to skip the workout you had planned. When, not if (nobody’s perfect) this happens, don’t beat yourself up, don’t thrown in the towel, and don’t dwell on what went wrong.
Think of reaching your fitness goals a bit like driving Route 66; regardless of where you start on the route, you’re on a journey and it’ll take a bit of time to reach your final destination. Accept that there will be bumps in the road, the occasional flat tyre, perhaps even a stop for a short comfort break. Enjoy the scenery whilst you’re there, knowing that getting back in car to continue isn’t nearly as difficult as starting the car in the first place.
We always think it’s better for our clients (and our trainers!) to sustain an imperfect, flexible regime that they find both fun and manageable as opposed to a rigorously structured diet/training regime that makes them miserable – after all, we perform better and are more likely to succeed at the things we enjoy doing.
Do it for yourself
Your routine in the gym, your run round the block, your home HIIT workout – it’s done by you, for you, and no one else. We’re big believers that when it comes to your fitness the only person in the world that matters, is you, and we recommend that everyone takes this mindset.
Whenever you workout, rather than treating it as a chore or squeezing it in if you get the time, see this as “you time” that’s non-negotiable. Put it in your calendar, arrange childcare if you need to, and suggest another day for those lunch plans – basically, your workout session should be given the same priority level as any other diary commitment. Treat yourself – catch up with your favourite podcast, listen to a fun playlist or simply enjoy some valuable thinking time away from screens as you’re working out. By making this time something you look forward to, you’re less likely to put it to the bottom of the priority list.
Remember, no one will care what you are doing and no one will care how you look when you’re doing it – keep in mind that if everyone were to pull out their own troubles and put them on the table for all to see, you’d probably pick yours up again and put them back in your pocket.
Make small changes
It’s much more manageable to tweak small things gradually than to change everything at once. Sustainability is key when it comes to making positive changes, therefore rather than a two week crash on the latest fad diet, start with making a simple change to a key area of weakness – for example, could you replace a chocolate bar with a Grenade Bar to increase your protein intake and still get your sweet fix? Can you skip the drive through take-out in the morning for something more wholesome before you leave the house? Introducing small yet sustainable changes to your diet can make the world of difference, even if it means setting your alarm just 10 minutes earlier so you can actually fix yourself a decent breakfast.
CASE STUDY: One of our clients was an active horse rider and eventer but lived a sedentary lifestyle when it came to the gym. She started every morning with a bowl of Kellogg’s Crave cereal and more often than not finished a large bag of Dairy Milk chocolates in an afternoon. When she decided to start a regular workout programme with us, we also made a simple change to her diet, so that her first meal of the day was a more balanced one; poached or scrambled eggs for breakfast with the occasional avocado or bacon on the side. This phased approach to making a small change then had an effect on her choices for lunch after the gym, and then again on her afternoon snacks whilst at work – she felt she didn’t want to undo all the hard work she’d put in at the gym by eating a family pack of chocolate buttons. 10 months on, she has openly admitted to still enjoying her chocolate and her meals out with friends, she is just a little more conscious about how she’s fuelling her body, how often she has a treat and the quality of food she is now eating, and her physical and mental health has improved 10-fold.
We don’t profess to be reinventing the wheel with the work we do – but we do provide a unique opportunity with regards to ease and accessibility. By introducing a new home training regime (either with us or by yourself) and making a few small tweaks, you’ll build up the confidence to feel better about yourself and ultimately get out for that first run or spin class in the gym. You don’t need to be hitting the gym 4 times a week to start with! You could start off small, and choose take the stairs instead of the lift. Head out for a walk during your lunch break. Steadily introduce 1, and then 2 consistent sessions a week – build on this, develop an understanding for your body and your own ability before you take the next step to a more challenging or more intense regime. These incremental changes will add up to a big result. Don’t forget to utilise the people around you for support – remember point one, and find your cheerleader!
Don’t forget to celebrate!
It’s not easy to keep up a good habit, and it takes discipline and practice for that habit to become a part of your routine. Take the time to acknowledge that as every week goes by, you are making progress – whether you’re getting stronger, building more stamina or noticing some physical changes. It’s fantastic that your new habit or regime is becoming a part of who you are – notice the progress you’re making and don’t forget to reward yourself along the way. We’re all guilty of targeting one thing and then once we hit it, we go straight on to the next. Maybe you managed to move on to full press-ups, perhaps you were able to run a mile without stopping, or you lifted a heavier weight – whatever the achievement you should feel proud of what you did. We can often overlook all the hard work put in to reaching each step on the way to our goal, so make sure to celebrate your wins – no matter how small.
We got plenty of other suggestions from our fitness community, here are a few quick ideas to help you stay on track:
- Use your social accounts as a source of inspiration, whether that’s through recipe ideas or workout techniques. Reinforce that positive mindset every time you log in.
- Find your “why” – It’s much easier to keep going once you know why you have decided to get started in the first place. This thought should kick-start you whenever you feel low on motivation.
- Mix it up; join a running group, take a new class, try a new sport. Keep boredom at bay by varying your workout sessions. Stick with the ones you find fun, ditch the ones that weren’t your style.
- Set a goal that you can work towards – some people like to sign up for a physical challenge, like a race or a Tough Mudder, perhaps having a holiday booked is what does it for you, or maybe a big birthday celebration is your deadline.
If these tips have got you feeling motivated to make a start with your fitness plan, or you need a helping hand to keep going, we’re here to help! We’ve made it our mission to enthuse all of our clients as part of our core “Three E’s” (educate, enthuse, entertain) so that “Quitter’s Day” becomes a thing of the past for our truckers!
You’ll get the same amount of energy from our trainers whether its 05:30 on a Wednesday morning in the middle of February or at 17:30 on a hot summers night – regardless of whether it’s your first session or your 300th session.
We make sure that each and every session is personal, and meets your needs. After all, you deserve better from your personal trainer than one that’s constantly on their phone chasing another sale or their next client, one that’s late or cancels at the last minute or one that is, quite simply, awkward to talk to.
We ensure that in every session we conduct, whether it be a Personal session with a husband and wife or a Corporate group session with 12 attendees, we get to know everyone on a personal basis so that…
- We tailor the sessions to your needs from a physical point of view – and appreciate that different ability levels require movement variations
- We understand any psychological barriers to training that day – and we step in to help out if you’re feeling a little “off pace”
- We keep all of our sessions varied, fun and focussed
So how do you set and maintain good habits when it comes to your own fitness regime? Let us know what works for you.
AUTHORS – PETE SWATKINS & BETHANY WALLBANK