Where's the Motivation?
It's nearly 9 p.m. You've just finished putting the kids to sleep after a long day at work, and would like nothing more than to plop down on the couch with some crackers and cheese, chocolate or a bag of chips (or, in my case,all of the above).
But you haven't done your workout yet.
Skipping these sessions for legitimate reasons – illness, injury, family or work commitments – is understandable, but this night is not one of those times. You have to get yourself onto that treadmill, spin bike or elliptical machine. What do you do?
I believe motivation is the key factor in a workout program. It's important to have the right equipment, shoes and training program, but without the will, there's no way you'll last.
Long-term motivation is one type. It requires tough but realistic goal-setting, experimentation to find the right type of exercise. For example, do you enjoy working out alone or in a group? At home, in the gym or out on the trails?
For our purposes, let's assume you've already found your groove, but need help getting going at this one particular point in time.
So let's say you're supposed to do a 45 minute easy jog on your treadmill. Begin by breaking the session into segments. Tell yourself you'll simply go into your bedroom and don your clothes and shoes.
Once that's done, put on your music player, and play your favourite song. This should get you ready to move. If the song ends and you're still battling some serious lethargy, try this one; get a pen and piece of paper and write down the reason you're exercising. It might seem silly, but do it. It could be about preparing for a race, stress relief, weight loss, or to make your kids proud. Now, these ones usually get most people going.
Tell yourself you'll just walk for 5 minutes on the treadmill and can quit after that. If you can get to this point, you're set. No one ever stops at this point.
Once into the workout, feel free to add little points of interest. For example, pre-set the treadmill to mildly and periodically change the incline or speed. Taking a sip of water every 10 minutes gives you something to look forward to. Picture yourself out on the race course or stepping on the scale. Visualization, bargaining, rationalization, whatever. If it works, go ahead.
I won't lie – no one sticks to their plan 100 per cent of the time, whether they're beginners or Olympians. The following tips are not guaranteed to work, but for me and those that I've coached, it's sure increased our chances. Good luck.