How to Motivate Yourself to Keep Fit
How to Motivate Yourself to Keep Fit
Eyes on the Prize
by Paul Bedford
In this previous article we looked at making some basic changes in lifestyle that would, in the long term, add up to a healthier and, I believe, happier way of life. But it’s not always easy sustaining motivation. Those early gym visits, that initial week of jogging, the first time you say no to the cheese and onion pasty – it makes you feel good. But the fourth, fifth, tenth time? Does it still feel as good?
Here are my tips to help push you through the tough times – and to help you stay focused and on target with your health and fitness goals…
Get into a routine:
Try to create a routine. Think of certain days as exercise days. This will make training feel more natural and help it become more a part of your everyday existence.
SMART goal setting:
Set yourself personal goals but make them Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based. Goals are so important for motivation. Without a specific target how do you know what you are aiming for? Achieving a goal will give you a great feeling and keep you motivated for more.
“I’m too busy to stay healthy”:
A regular excuse! There are 168 hours in a week, of which we spend on average 56 hours sleeping, 40 hours working and 14 hours eating. This leaves 58 hours a week of leisure time and I’m asking for just five of these for your keep fit!
“A bit of moral support goes a long way”
Yes! Don’t be scared to wrap that tape measure around your body! If you don’t know where to measure, ask at your local gym and they should do it for you for free. When you’re first hitting the scales your weight can stabilise, but you can still be losing the inches without even knowing it!
Join a club
There are hundreds out there and there is surely something for everyone – football, rugby, walking, swimming, rowing, badminton, karate, dance and running clubs are all active in our areas. They are easy to join and generally at a low cost, and should cater for all abilities. Group exercise is a fabulous way to keep motivated and, of course, it adds a few names to your little black contact book.
Train with a friend. A bit of moral support goes a long way. Plus, it’s easier to let yourself down than a friend. You’ll find you can push each other along and get the best out of each other. Friends can offer a little healthy competition too!
Mix up your training methods
Performing the same exercise day in day out can be boring, I know! So introduce new routines regularly and change your exercise program. Spice it up with some intervals or types of exercise you’re less familiar with. Your gym or community centre should have well-trained people who are able to advise a training plan for you.
“Try not to refer to an eating plan as a diet”
Three Questions I’m Frequently Asked as a Personal Trainer:
I am a long distance runner and recently I have been getting pains in my shins when I run. Any ideas?
Sounds like shin splints to me – very prevalent in long distance runners. But I’m no Doctor. You must get this checked up. If it is shin splints they are tough to get rid of, I’m afraid. You’d need to rest-up – running will make them worse – and stay away from high impact activities. Also, check your running shoes. Are they made for long distance? They should have shockers on them to help absorb the impact. If you have been using them for a long time they may be less effective. It might be time for a new pair!
I am an old school trainer and I struggle with metric terms such as km and kg – any tips to help me out?
I get this a lot in the gym. You can’t do much about it as the machinery is usually from America where they use metric terms exclusively. Try to memorise this: there are 1.6 km in 1 mile and 2.2lb in 1kg. Hope this helps!
OK, I’m taking the plunge and going on a diet. Any tips?
Try not to refer to an eating plan as a diet. Think of it as a lifestyle change. For my clients I recommend regular small portions as this helps maintain your metabolism. Remember to always eat breakfast and stay away from high fat foods. Carbohydrates are fine for energy, but try to limit your them after 6pm. Eat your five fruit and veg a day and drink lots and lots of water. Don’t skip meals and don’t snack. Stay along these basic lines and you won’t go far wrong.