By Steven Cuthbert & Claire Warren
We’ve all been there…
“Work’s busy / I’m feeling tired / the housework’s piling up / I’ll start next week / it’s been a tough day”...
There are millions of excuses for not keeping up with your exercise routine.
The truth is, if you’re making excuses not to do something, it’s not necessarily because you’re lazy or uncommitted, it’s usually because the thing you’re trying to get out of just isn’t keeping your interest.
Think back to when you were at school; in the subjects you hated you’d skive off, turn up late or just not pay attention. In the subjects you loved, you were the model student.
The same applies to your fitness. If you enjoy your training, you’ll be a model gym member!
It’s not surprising that so many people lose interest in the regular gym routine though; sticking your headphones on then running endlessly on a treadmill while watching “Neighbours” with subtitles and never speaking to anyone… yawn!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying training in a big globo gym is bad for everyone. If you prefer being in your own little world and you find this sort of routine does keep your interest and gets you results, by all means carry on doing what works for you!
However, if you are one of the many people who find it difficult to maintain motivation, it might be worth trying some new tactics.
Here are my Top 10 tips to keep your training interesting…
1. Train With A Partner
Training by yourself can be boring, you often won’t push yourself as hard and you may slack off with certain exercises. Plus, when you go to the gym alone, it’s only yourself you have to answer to if you decide to give it a miss.
Having someone there to encourage, support and even compete with, can really uplift your training as well as adding accountability for turning up in the first place!
In Primal’s classes we often use partner exercises, encouraging people to work together. It breaks down barriers, helps you make friends and creates an awesome environment of camaraderie in the gym.
2. Train Mindfully
Aside from all the obvious physical benefits of training, there’s a whole bunch of psychological benefits too. Exercising is a fantastic opportunity to unwind, de-stress and relax by taking some time dedicated to you. It also gives you a huge endorphin rush, leaving you with an incredible sense of wellbeing (ever found yourself standing the shower post-workout feeling like a super hero?)
Being conscious of the mental advantages of training will help you make it a higher priority in your life and all those excuses like “it’s been a tough day / I’m too stressed / depressed / overworked etc” will become a reason TO workout, instead of a reason to give it a miss.
3. Try Something Different
Doing the same old thing, day after day, week after week can become really monotonous. Try and add in something new once a week to spice things up.
In the gym - turn back squats into front squats; if you’re a powerlifter try bodyweight exercises; if you normally do your cardio on the treadmill, pick up a pair of boxing gloves and smash the bag for 10 minutes.
It doesn’t even have to be in the gym; think outside the box! Why not try rock climbing, trampolining, swimming, outdoor bootcamps… whatever floats your boat.
4. Set Yourself A Challenge
Setting yourself goals to work towards and a deadline for achieving them is a great way to stay on track. It could be something major, such as signing up to a half marathon or an obstacle course, or it could be something small such as adding 10kg to your deadlift or knocking 10 seconds off your Fit Test time at Primal.
5. Learn A New Skill
Learning a specific skill can turn your normal exercise routine into an exciting journey, with a destination to aim for.
At Primal, we run a number of Clubs including Kickboxing, Boxing, Calisthenics, Kettlebells and Powerlifting, where our members are taught a specific skill and can hone their technique with like-minded people.
Quite a few of our members have joined the gym saying they just wanted to lose a bit of weight, then a year down the line they're working towards competing in a national Powerlifting competition or training up for a white collar boxing match!
6. Join A Fitness Community
Some gyms now have their own online communities whether it’s a Facebook group, an online forum or a member’s site. Joining and participating in groups like this is a great way to boost your motivation, feel like part of a team and take inspiration from others who are achieving their goals. Check out Primal’s members page on Facebook - Team Primal.
7. Re-Frame Your Mindset
Swapping the disempowering language you use when you talk to yourself for empowering statements can be extremely motivational. In NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) terms, people are either ‘toward’ motivated or ‘away’ motivated.
'Toward’ motivation is working towards a goal (e.g. your first 10km road race) while ‘away’ motivation is working to avoid a situation (e.g. wanting to avoid becoming diabetic). ‘Toward’ motivation tends to be a much stronger driving force as it allows you to focus on positive goals ahead, instead of concentrating on negatives and getting frustrated when there are no obvious milestones.
8. Don’t Take It Too Seriously!
If you mess up a workout, it’s not the end of the world. Unless you’re a professional athlete or preparing to compete, there is no reason to be stone-faced, and even then, every error is simply a chance to improve. Enjoy the journey and focus on getting a bit better each day rather than being perfect. If you don’t enjoy the process, is there any point doing it?
9. Schedule Your Workouts
The best way to stick to any sort of routine is to schedule it in. Once it’s in your diary - it’s official!
You never wake up in the morning thinking, “hmm…I think I’ll go to the dentist today!” do you? You book an appointment ahead of time, then turn up because you booked it and therefore made a commitment.
In the same way it’s not likely you’ll find yourself thinking “hmm…I think I’ll go to the gym now.” Book your classes and training sessions into your diary ahead of time and you’ll be much more likely to turn up.
10. Make It Fun!
If it isn’t fun, it won’t last - simple as that!
If you find hours of cardio therapeutic - as many do - great! Anything that settles the mind and gives you some “alone time” is serving an important function.
However, if you find plodding out 40 minutes on a cross trainer about as rewarding as a politician’s promise, it won’t be long before you’re finding other things to do come gym time.
If it isn’t fun, it won’t last and if it doesn’t last, it’s not going to get you into shape.
The question I’ll leave you with is… is what you are doing right now working for you?
If the answer is yes, brilliant - keep chasing those goals.
If it’s not, what’s the harm in trying something new? It might be the missing the piece of the puzzle you need to get the results you want.
Grab yourself a free week pass for Primal and we’ll see you in the gym soon!