Why do you go to the gym? Why do you go to those Zumba classes or go out jogging. Why do you get up at a ridiculous hour to go swimming before work?. I bet you’re one of these people who have established the exercise habit, but you’re bored …?
Perhaps it’s because you’re bored, or maybe you don’t see the point in doing the exercise anymore because you’re not seeing any changes for the effort that you’re putting in. You’re exercising now because you ought to and to tick a box.
Firstly this has got to be congratulated. Well done!! Clearly if you’re one of these people, you don’t find the exercise that you’re doing particularly enjoyable and it’s a real challenge to make yourself get up and go, or motivate yourself to go out when you’ve arrived back from work and you’re tired.
Don’t fear, all is not lost! You just need to re-think things a little and employ a couple of simple tools.
Tip 1: Develop specific goals
How many of you turn up to the gym/track/pool without a goal in mind? Yes, you’re going to run for 30-minutes, say, but are you just replicating what you’ve always done? By replicating the same work-out or exercise session time after time you reduce how challenging this becomes for your body. That’s great initially, because maybe you lose a bit of weight, you feel fitter, bit after that you plateau and no more gains….
Each week or session have a specific goal. “Today I’m going to…” and challenge yourself.
For example, if you run for 30 minutes on the treadmill at the same speed every session, each week, try and make the exercise a little harder by either:
- increasing your speed,
- increasing the duration OR
- increasing the incline.
When you start to feel out of breath again, you know that you’re challenging your body to adapt, which costs calories and if you stick at it, should result in you increasing your fitness.
Tip 2: Track your progress:
No wonder you’re becoming bored if you’re not seeing any visible results. However, record your sessions and improvements and you’ll soon regain your motivation. AND measure things relative to your goal. If you want to lose weight, don’t just focus on your weekly-weigh ins, measure your waist and hip circumference, you can measure your thighs and upper arms too around the widest part. Write down your measurements every couple of weeks or so. As you well know, you can change your body shape (lose inches) without losing much weight.
Goal setting is a big topic and one I’ll address in a separate blog, but make sure your goals are simple, measurable and achievable – i.e. don’t set yourself up for failure.
This principle can be applied to all aspects of health and fitness. In Tip 1 we explored increasing the difficulty of the exercise to improve fitness. Record how long it takes you to cover a certain distance on the treadmill, bike or outside and use this as one of your goals to beat. You can also measure other things, such as how many bent-knee (or full) push-ups or sit-up you can do without stopping.
One you’ve established something tangible to aim for and you start to make changes to your routing the motivation issues will soon be a thing of the past.
Have fun and happy training!