This is a guest article contributed by Emily from BodyShape101.com.
According to studies, it is important for an average American to get at least 150 minutes of physical activity for a week. The truth is, many of us are already well aware of the importance of exercise but despite that, studies have also shown that only half of the population are able to achieve their fitness goals. What prevents them from doing that one thing that they know can be beneficial to them?
Well, the answer to this is pretty simple – lack of motivation.
Maybe you have tried to be more physical and yet, weeks after, you found yourself hitting a slump. This may be because you have hit a fitness plateau, or due to a busy schedule, or because of boredom. Whatever your reasons are for losing motivation to workout, those do not erase the fact that exercise is beneficial to you.
That’s why the best thing that you can do is to find the motivation to do what is best for you and that is where we can help you with!
If you want to find the motivation to exercise, here are some of the things that you should focus on doing:
1. Focus on trying out a new form of exercise
If you have been doing the same workout for so long, don’t be surprised if you would get bored eventually. When you do the same thing over and over again, you will easily fall into a rut.
Aside from the mental burden that comes with doing the same workout, your gains and losses will suffer too. Your body will hit a plateau wherein you will no longer be losing weight nor building muscles.
These are the expected results, and there is a simple, no-brainer way to break it: change up your workout. If you have been lifting weights for so long, maybe it is about time that you spice up your routine.
2. Make it a competition
Exercise can really get boring without proper motivation. If you are a competitive type, you should use this trait of yours to your advantage: make exercising a competition. A friendly competition is one of the best boosting power when it comes to working out.
To make the most out of your competitive spirit, look for a group of people or an individual who is faster or stronger than you. It may be a friend, an acquaintance or a total stranger.
Just simply use the capabilities of that person to help you push forward with your routine. It doesn’t have to be an all-out contest. Just simply try to run faster or longer than the person next to you. Or simply, lift a heavier weight than the other person in the gym.
3. Work out with a group or find your fitness buddy
There are people who like to work out solo, but if you are running out of motivation to exercise, it is time for you to join a group. Why is this so? Well, knowing that there is someone who is waiting for you at the gym or at the running track is reason enough for you to get over that slump and avoid hitting that snooze button.
More than the accountability, there will also come a time that you will look forward to your workouts because you are sure that the sessions will be more exciting and fun because you have other people to share it with. And if you feel like giving up, the people in your group or your workout body can push you to stay on track.
4. Change your reason for exercising
A lot of people try to lead an active lifestyle because they want to look fitter, sexier and slimmer. While these reasons can motivate you ate first, they will cause you to backslide in the long run, especially if it is taking a lot of time before you can see the results.
Keep in mind that one of the reasons why people lose motivation is because they get frustrated when they don’t see any visible result.
Instead of focusing on what exercise can do to your looks, try to focus on how it can benefit your health. Rather than setting big goals that may take a lot of time to be accomplished (getting that 6-pack ab), try to just focus on small wins like perfecting a pull-up or running for a mile without taking a break.
When you change the way you look at exercise, you will feel good about yourself, and you will have more reasons to continue working out.
5. Stop eating unhealthy food
As many of you know by now, diet and exercise work hand in hand. But what many people don’t know is that the kind of food you eat can affect your ability or mood to exercise.
If you eat processed foods that are rich in sugar and fats, your body will go into a full lazy mode. You will feel unmotivated and above all, grumpy. So if you wish to stay on top of your fitness routine, you should start making healthy decisions when it comes to your diet.
Start incorporating healthy food into your diet. Have more vegetables and fruits. Opt for baked and steamed instead of fried and grilled. Cook your own meals rather than going out to eat or ordering delivery. Do this and see for yourself how motivated and energetic you will turn out to be.
6. Put the 5-minute rule to good use
Another tactic that has been proven effective in boosting your motivation to exercise is the 5-minute rule. This rule requires you to stand up the moment your alarm goes off. If you are too lazy to push through with your regular fitness program, just simply commit to doing your workout for 5 minutes.
Set the timer then get started on your workout. After 5 minutes and the alarm goes off and you still don’t want to continue your workout, you are free to stop. But most probably, you will already have the energy and determination to finish your workout once you have gotten started.
7. Use visuals for your benefit
This may sound a bit weird and awkward. But for a long time, visual suggestions have been proven effective when it comes to stimulating motivation. This is because visual cues can be a wake-up call to your brain. It can remind you to work out, and it will also give you determination do to so.
If you wish to be reminded of your workout, try to place your workout clothes and gear in front of your bed so you can see it right away when you open up your eyes.
If you wish to beat boredom, try to change the environment where you are working out. If you usually hit the gym, try going out to the park to run or walk. It has been proven that the color green is the best color when it comes to boosting your motivation.
If you have always worked out at home, try visiting the gym. The change in scenery can certainly boost your willpower to stick to your workout and beat boredom or laziness.
Another idea is to take a before-and-after picture of your body so you are able to see how far you have come. If you are starting to think that your workouts are no longer making a difference, those photos will be a good reminder for you to keep on going.
8. Consume dopamine-releasing food items
This is a simple yet very effective way of hacking your fitness motivation. One of the most common dopamine-releasing food item is no other than chocolate. If you do not believe it, there are already lots of studies about the effects of chocolates on the brain.
These studies have shown that eating chocolate releases a hormone called phenylethylamine which can stimulate the body and the brain. It can also trigger the release of dopamine which can boost heart rate and your motivation. It can also have antidepressant effects that can make you feel happier and more energetic. Hence, you will be more inclined to push through with your workout.
9. Find the perfect playlist to work out to
Another common hack for exercise motivation is to take advantage of the powers of music. We know that music can evoke a lot of emotions in us. It may cause sadness, fear, anger but it is also known to make people happy, calm, and determined. Because of this, we can harness the power of music to keep us motivated.
If you wish to get hyped for your workout, try creating a playlist that contains lively and upbeat music. And don’t stick to just one playlist. Just like your workouts, make sure to spice up your playlist from time to time too! If you do not have any idea on how to create your workout playlist, check out these best running or workout songs.
10. Look for an exercise routine that you love
Often, many people get easily bored with their fitness programs because they do not like what they are doing. It is important that you like what you are doing because if you are not passionate about it, there will really come a time that you would give up doing it and you would not be able to reap its benefits.
When choosing an exercise routine, you should opt for one that will not just make you look good, choose one that will make you feel good too. The main goal of the exercise is not just to improve the way your body looks; it is also designed to improve your overall health and outlook in life. So do not just simply choose a workout just because of it is trendy, choose the one that you love to do and make the most out of it.
11. If you want to stay accountable, try working out with a fitness trainer
Sometimes, it is not enough that you have a buddy or a group to work out with. There are times when you will need to enlist the services of a professional that can help you keep going.
A professional trainer can hold you more accountable than most of your friends can. In addition to that, he can also help correct any mistakes that you are committing during your workouts.
They can also help you to customize a fitness program that is most suitable for your physical abilities, schedule, lifestyle and fitness goals. These experts can also help you customize a diet and offer supplements which can help boost your energy and motivation to work out.
Hiring a personal trainer may be a bit expensive. It can add to your costs, but all the benefits that they can provide will certainly be worth it.
By the way, getting yourself a new gear will also help. For example, if you want to make it a habit to run, you can get yourself a new pair of running shoe. This will make you excited to want to try out the shoe and to run on it.
And if you are doing CrossFit, you can also check out these gloves.
Let us face it, exercise is good for you but it is no fun. Sticking on a regular fitness workout can certainly take its toll on you. You will get bored, frustrated, tired, and even, feel defeated. But please do not let those things get the best of you.
The motivation to work out is fleeting. It will come and go, and it is up to you to keep pushing through even though you lack the determination to do so.
You can always (and you are given every opportunity) to fight off that fitness slump. Just simply focus on doing the things that are mentioned above, and for sure, you can finally get into the fitness mojo that you are trying to achieve for so long.
About the Author:
Emily is the founder of BodyShape101.com, a blog where she and her associates talk about exercise, fitness, and yoga. Their aim is to help people like you to achieve the perfect body. BodyShape101 is concentrated on exercise & fitness tips, and making the most out of it. She is also a mother of one and she tries to find a balance between her passion and her biggest joy in life.