Whenever someone first starts hitting the gym, there’s a certain period of great initial enthusiasm that we all go through – we feel really good about finally taking control and making an effort to transform our bodies and improve our overall health.
And no matter how much it tires us out or how sore our muscles are, we’re aware that it’s something we must endure if we want to get the body we’ve always dreamed of.
The problem is that this initial drive is only temporary, and over time it slowly wanes. For a lot of people, this is the point at which they quit. They come up with some excuse about not having enough time or being too tired, and then a couple of months later they often repeat the entire process.
There are a few crucial mistakes that a lot of these people make when they decide to start working out regularly, and these mistakes are what kills their motivation. To keep that from happening, I’m going to give you a few tips on how to keep your motivation going long after this initial period has passed, because that’s the only way that you’re going to get any real results.
Making a Plan
Before you even join the gym, I highly recommend that you do a hefty amount of research about the types of exercises you want to do, and get some recommendations on where you should start depending on your fitness goal, your body type, your age etc.
All of these things can significantly affect how your ideal workout will look – for example, if you want to lose a lot of weight fast, you’re probably going to be incorporating a lot more cardio into your routine. If on the other hand, you want to gain some muscle mass, you’re going to be focusing more on weights and strength training.
What you don’t want to do is be one of those people you see just going from machine to machine, working on whatever seems „fun“ at the moment. This will yield absolutely no results, and these are most often the people that quit first. Not because they’re not as strong-willed as you or anyone else, but simply because they didn’t set a concrete goal for themselves.
Understanding the Importance of Exercise
I had a friend who was dangerously overweight a few years ago, and at the same time, she had (still has, actually) genetic predispositions towards broken bones and joint injuries because of her brittle skeleton. Because of this, she’s had several minor injuries such as sprained knees, ankles and wrists – the weird thing was that these injuries happened for no apparent reason, as she wasn’t that physically active. She’d just sprain her knee like it was nothing, limp a bit and then carry on.
One day her doctor told her that this „condition“ of her would get significantly worse as she gets older and that she was at significant risk of serious spinal injury unless she lost a lot of weight. From that day forth, she started hitting the gym every day, changed her diet completely and the results were nothing short of incredible. She had lost more than one hundred pounds and gained a ton of pure muscle mass to keep her brittle bones in place. Over the course of a year and a half, all of her joint pain completely disappeared, she looked and more importantly, she felt better than she ever did in her life.
But did she stop exercising after achieving this goal? Of course not. Furthermore, she increased her workouts even further because she realized that it was crucial in keeping her health. No doctor and no medication could’ve given her what she achieved through her hard work at the gym.
This is the kind of motivation you really need – you need to realize that physical activity is a necessity, and if you don’t find the time for it, sooner or later your body will suffer because of it.
Taking a Break
This is a rather strange piece of advice and definitely not the most popular one, but I find that it worked for my on several occasions and a lot of other people as well. Physical activity is taxing, both for your body and for your mind, and sometimes people can push themselves too far. When they do, their results in the gym suffer because of it, and this can lead to a rapid loss of motivation.
So if you feel like you’re hitting a plateau, like you just don’t feel like going to the gym every single day anymore, do yourself a favor – take a break for exactly two weeks, and then go back as if nothing ever happened. Most people find that this really helps them both physically and mentally, gives them some „recharge time“ and ultimately helps restore their motivation.
The only important thing here is to actually show up at the gym once the two weeks are off, so make it clear in your head first – you aren’t quitting, you’re taking a break and then you’re coming back, no exceptions.
I hope this article was useful and it helps you to stick to your health goals. What changes will you apply to your gym routine today? Share it with us in the comments.