I have been a personal trainer for over 10 years, and in that time I have lost count of the number of people who have said that they either lack motivation to train or that they felt very motivated over the first month or two of training, before gradually feeling their interest slip.
I’ve also met and spoken to many people who have moved from one big chain gym to another, tried pilates or power plate sessions or continually switched the personal trainer that they use – all in the vain hope that this time things will be different. They hope that this new gym or this new exercise class will change their body and that they will be more motivated than ever. Very rarely does this prove to be true.
In fact, motivation is much easier to achieve than most of us have been led to believe. Staying motivated is not some magical formula, but rather a simple process to follow.
The key to becoming motivated and staying motivated is as follows:
1. Your goal must really excite you
And I mean really excite you. Which is why it’s best to try to avoid setting goals such as to ‘tone up’ or ‘get fitter’. It can be very hard to get excited about something as non-descript and lame as that. Your goal could be to attract a new partner, to keep a current partner interested or it could be to look good in your favourite item of clothing or to run a marathon. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what your goal is – it just matters that you are excited about achieving your goal.
2. Know exactly what you want
When setting your fitness goals, this is no time to be vague. The more you can be descriptive and use emotional and powerful words, the more motivated you will become. Be totally specific. Don’t say ‘I want to lose a bit of weight’, say exactly how much weight you want to lose and over what time frame. The combination of setting a goal which excites you and knowing exactly what you want to achieve will not only motivate you to train but it will also help you to make the right nutritional and lifestyle choices, such as saying no to that packet of crisps, chocolate biscuits or glass of wine.
When setting your goal, avoid using the word ‘but’. This is generally the word which gets used just as excuses are made.
3. Visualise yourself achieving your goal and how good it feels
This can be done by simply taking a quiet moment and imagining yourself looking the way you want to look and how your friends and family are responding to the new you. If you’re someone who doesn’t find visualisation easy to do, then you can use a couple of simple techniques:
a) I had a client who owned a very expensive pair of jeans that she could no longer fit into. She would bring the jeans with her to every personal training session, and I would measure how close she was to fitting into them again. Before her 12 weeks of training had finished, she was able to wear her jeans again and the visualisation process that she had used was one of the main reasons that she achieved her goal.
b) Most of us are familiar with the feeling of looking at ourselves on holiday in a pair of swimming trunks or a bikini where we are not happy with how we look. When one of my clients said that his goal was to have a six-pack and look great on the beach on holiday, I asked him to look through some holiday brochures and find a picture of somebody who was ripped and looked just how he wanted to look. My client then superimposed an image of his head onto the photo, and stuck the picture onto his fridge. Over the following few months he trained harder than ever to reach his goal and when his summer holiday came he was in the best shape of his life. When he returned from his holiday, he showed me a photo of himself on the beach and his physique was just as good as guy from the brochure.
If these three simple steps are followed, then motivation is guaranteed and it’s also much easier for a good personal trainer to write the correct training programs and nutritional plans for you. Much more importantly, you’ll actually follow the training plans that are written for you. In fact, getting up in the morning to train or eating healthy nutritious food will seem really easy.
Finally, it is important to assess your progress as you go and to really enjoy yourself on your way to achieving your goal. When you are highly motivated, it is surprising how much fun training can be.
Revolution Personal Training London