This is rather an obvious point but nonetheless one that far too many people choose to ignore. If you set off in your car without having an end destination in mind exactly where would you end up? Most likely it would be nowhere.
Set a series of specific milestones and use them to inspire you to dream and to motivate you as each small step leads you to surpass short term, and eventually longer and once seemingly daunting, goals. Remember the cricket analogy – a century is scored with ones and twos, not by constantly striking for sixes. All of of our personal training clients are constantly updateing their goals as they reach new milestones.
Invest in Some Good Tunes
Countless studies have proven that inspiring music can raise testosterone levels and improve athletic performance. Whilst you are warming up strap on your ipod and play whatever get your heart racing. I kid you not when I tell you that I know one elite female trainer who gets in the zone by listening to show tunes!
Use Emotion to Your Advantage
I am an angry trainer. My best workouts have always been motivated by angry thoughts that raise my hackles and set my nerves on fire. But it has also been said that I am angry person. So what are you? A calm personality may need happy thoughts, or as I have often observed they may need a kick up the arse and lessons in how to be aggressive with the weights. Certainly I have had personal training clients whose meek and mild temperaments meant that the controlled aggression of effective weight training didn’t come naturally to them. It can take weeks and even months of coaxing but eventually we had them roaring out their last few reps on barbell squats to the total and unarguable improvement of their gym performance and physiques.
Whether you need to be reminded just how good you are and how far you’ve come, or need a reality check to bring you back down to earth, having photos of your physique in all it’s stark glory can add significant fuel to the motivational fire. A great example of this is the guy who thinks he is lean because he may have the blurrings of a six pack, but misses his love handles because they don’t show up when he stands in front of his preferred mirror at the preferred angle, in the preferred light. You get the picture I hope.
Have a Mentor / Someone to Look Up To
It can be a tough grind constantly motivating yourself to push forwards to bigger and better, or faster and leaner. Having a mentor to guide you takes away much of the uncertainty and guesswork leaving you fresh and focused.
Having someone to emulate is a great inspiration – you can see what they have done and how they live their life and it should spur you on to achieve great things for yourself.
Find a Gym That Suits You
I have had the greatest workouts in some of the biggest dives. I have also trained in some spotless gyms that made me feel uncomfortable and self conscious even if I contemplated breaking sweat. Find the gym environment that suits you best – for some it might be training in a park in the great outdoors, for others it might be in a dark and dingy bodybuilding dungeon. Discover the right place for you and watch your motivation and performance soar.
Do You Need a Training Partner?
The truly self motivated don’t need a training partner to help them through gym troughs, but the mere mortals amongst us need all the assistance they can get, and having a reliable training partner is just about as good a motivational boost as you can get.
Knowing that there is someone waiting for you at the gym eradicates all the lazy excuses that prey on everyone’s mind when motivation is low. Factor in the competition and camaraderie that comes from finding the right training partner and you have a good recipe for continued gym success. If you can afford it and can find a good one, then choosing a personal trainer is also a fantastic option.
Crank Up The Pressure
This is a trick that works well for someone who isn’t afraid of pressure. Let everyone at your gym, or at least those whom you respect, know what your goals are and how you are going to achieve them. Vocalising things in this way can add a tonne of pressure and so long as you are strong enough to deal with it this pressure can supercharge your workouts to new heights.
Use the Right Supplements
You probably already know that caffeine is the single best, most proven pre workout stimulant don’t you? Not only have countless clinical trials proven its efficacy at increasing fat loss but it will also make you stronger too. Anything from 1-3 cups of strong coffee will do the trick, depending upon bodyweight and how well you cope with stimulants.
On top of this, or instead of for those who are overly sensitive to caffeine, you can increase training drive by using supplements that increase output of dopamine, the neurotransmitter responsible for focus, such as Alpha GPC and a great, if little known, supplement put out by iconic strength coach Charles Poliquin called “Fast Brain”. Add these to caffeine based pre workout stack and you will have the training session of your life!
Finally, nothing beats smart training to keep the workout fires burning. Ensure that you change your workouts every 3-6 weeks, especially the repetition range as this is the aspect of strength training that your body most readily adapts to, and you will stay both physically and mentally stimulated without the boredom and stagnation that often is the malaise of the frustrated and unmotivated trainer.
By Nick Mitchell, “London’s Best Personal Trainer” (Time Out London 2010)