Motivation plays such a critical component to your progress in the gym that I believe it is more important than any training routine, diet, or supplement out there. In my mind none of these things can compare to the work ethic of a truly motivated individual. Unfortunately, motivation also seems to be an elusive state for many individuals to achieve on a consistent basis. This is why so many people fail on diets. People bounce around from being highly motivated one minute, to completely apathetic the next. That’s why in this post I want to discuss 5 simple principles that will help you stay motivated with your fitness goals.
1. Keep a Log Book
A log book can be a great motivational tool as you can use it to track the progress you have made on your fitness journey. I find that this comes in handy on those bad days in the gym when nothing goes right and everything feels like it weighs a million pounds. In those situations a log book allows you to keep things in perspective and know for a fact that despite a bad session in the gym, you are still stronger today than you were a year ago. A log book can also spur you to train harder in the gym because it gives you tangible numbers to shoot for in an effort to “beat the log book.” For example, if last week you bench pressed 225lbs for 5 reps, you know that this week you are shooting for 6 reps etc. That’s why you should always be diligent about keeping track of your progress because it will keep you motivated to always push forward.
2. Get a Workout Partner
Although I don’t consider having a workout partner a necessity, sometimes having a good training partner can be a huge boost. It’s always nice to have someone that can give you a spot when necessary and push you that much harder in the gym. They can also kick your butt into gear when you’re not feeling motivated to train. That’s why the best training partners are the ones that are committed to working hard in the gym and not socializing. Just about the worst thing you can have in a training partner is someone who is a chatty Cathy. These guys will be nothing but a distraction to you. Avoid them at all costs.
3. Train to Music
This one is a no brainer, but music can be a tremendous motivational tool. Everyone has their own tastes, some guys like heavy metal while others enjoy rap/hip hop etc. It doesn’t matter what you listen to as long as it gets you fired up! In fact, studies have shown that listening to music you enjoy or songs of a certain tempo can help you run faster. As corny as it sounds, I still love listening to the old Rocky IV soundtrack when I’m hitting it hard in the gym. Nothing gets me more pumped up than listening to “Burning Heart” or “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor. Whatever works!
4. Focus on your progress
When guys first start out on their fitness journey it is not uncommon for them to feel discouraged when they see someone else who is more muscular than them, leaner than them, or stronger than them. In fact a lot guys will lose their motivation to train saying, “What’s the point? I’ll never look as good as that guy no matter how hard I work!” The problem here is that guys are not focusing enough on themselves and their journey. The reality is that there will ALWAYS be someone who is better than you on any given quality or trait, so why waste energy worrying about? Concentrate on yourself and your journey. Set goals for yourself, track your progress and be motivated by the things that you are doing. I could care less if some random guy in the gym can bench press more than me. It doesn’t affect me or my goals so I won’t waste an ounce of my time worrying about it.
5. Try something new
Human beings are habits of routine and this is no different when it comes to working out. In fact, so much so that oftentimes we hardly notice that we’ve been doing the same routine for months on end. Eventually we start to experience some staleness and our progress begins to slow down. This is when going to the gym starts to become a chore and we lose our motivation to train. That’s why you have to keep things fresh by either changing the set and/or rep scheme of your routine or by incorporating/rotating new exercises into the mix on a continual basis. By doing this you avoid the dreaded staleness that comes from always doing the same thing in the gym and ensure that you continue to make progress. Not only that, but changing things up every now and again or trying something new will also make you more enthusiastic about going to the gym, which is the most important thing.
So the next time your motivation to hit the gym begins to wane, try out one (or all!) of these 5 principles to re-ignite the fire inside your belly!