Let’s face it, there are days and even weeks that we don’t feel like exercising. Maybe we are tired, maybe we feel overwhelmed, maybe we have lost sight of our goals or maybe we just feel stuck. Whatever the reason, staying motivated and consistent can be very challenging. So, we have put together a quick list of tips that will help keep the spark, consistency and motivation in your fitness journey alive.
1. Check your goals
Goals are great! In fact, several studies have shown that goal-setting has a direct link to higher motivation, self-esteem, self-confidence and autonomy (1). So, we always advise clients and our audience to set out clear goals at the start and during their fitness journey. However, it is super important to remember to keep your goals realistic and achievable.
You can do this by setting SMART goals (see the article we wrote on how to start your fitness journey).
SMART goals will help you stay motivated by showing you a clear path towards success, as well as showing you the direct correlation between your actions and your results.
2. Make it fun
No one enjoys doing something they do not want to do. Actually, we are more likely to lose interest and motivation altogether. A recent study found that even among active individuals, continued engagement in the same exercise can halt progression and ultimately reduce the motivation to be physically active (2). So, where possible try to switch things up!
Ways you can make exercise fun?
- Try a group class
- Train with a partner or friend
- Join a fitness challenge
- Test out new equipment
- Try a different training style (HIIT, Circuit, Yoga, Boxing)
- Change your music playlist
- Try a different workout videos online
3. Reward yourself
We are hard-wired to do the least amount of work for the maximum amount of reward and joy is one reward that the brain loves. Joy is an intrinsic feeling that triggers the release of the happy hormone dopamine. Dopamine acts as our brain’s main reward center and plays a vital role in motivation, mood, attention, memory and movement.
So, whether it is with a new pair of leggings, an açaí bowl or an episode of your favorite show, giving yourself a reward after exercise creates a neurological habit loop that will keep you going back for more.
4. Follow a schedule
Making decisions takes huge amounts of energy and in today’s world we are faced with thousands of decisions every single day. Following a schedule is a surefire way to avoid what we call decision fatigue. As mentioned in the point above, our brain is hard-wired to be as efficient as possible, anything that slows the brain down is considered a threat and something that we feel the need to resist. By following a schedule, you increase your productivity, create healthy habits and reduce the chance for obstacles/distractions.
5. Give yourself a mindset shift
Change the way you view exercise by practising gratitude. What is normal for us may be different for someone else. Be grateful if you still have the ability to move, walk, lift, jog, run or simply get out of bed, this is a huge blessing.
Viewing exercise as a fortunate opportunity to improve and extend your life can help create a new found appreciation and excitement towards moving.
Ways you can shift your mindset
- Start a gratitude journal or write a gratitude list for your body
- Connect with your body through medication or yoga
- Learn why exercise is beneficial and how it will directly improve your life
6. Find your tribe
We are naturally social beings. If you struggle to stay motivated when exercising alone, consider teaming up with a partner, friend or join a group class. Being around like-minded people with similar goals can be very motivating, uplifting and is great for accountability.
Studies have also found that there is a positive correlation between social support and physical activity (3).
How to find your tribe?
- Join a bootcamp
- Try a fitness class
- Find and online support group
- Train with friends
- Try a sports activity
7. Challenge yourself
Challenges help you to break a plateau, break negative cycles and push you to try new things. In addition, a challenge is a great way to track your progress and give you mini goals to work on.
Fitness Challenges to try
30min 30-day Incline Walking Challenge
Tone and strengthen your thighs as well as improve your cardio fitness.
Set and incline of 5-10% and start at a walking speed you are comfortable with. Do the workout daily and try to increase the speed 1-2x per week.
30-day Push-up Challenge
Increase your strength, muscle mass and general fitness
Aim for 30-50 push ups a day for 30 days. You can do box, half or full push ups. To make the challenge easier you can split the reps up throughout the day.
60sec Burpee Challenge
Full body exercise to increase your strength, endurance and cardio fitness.
Do as many full or half burpees as you can in 1 minute. Record the score and repeat within 2-3 days. The goal is to beat your previous score.
You can do any of these challenges over a 30 day period.
8. See your progress
Sometimes seeing your progress is better than writing it down.
It is hard to see the physical changes we make just by looking in the mirror. This is because we see ourselves every single day and are constantly making micro changes. Taking progress pictures at regular intervals is a great way to document your journey, see your micro changes as well as give yourself powerful proof of how far you have come.
How to take progress pictures:
1. Show your shape
Wear fitted activewear or swimwear. You should keep your arms, stomach area and thighs visible as this is a great indicator of weight loss and/or muscle gain.
2. Wear the same outfit
Where possible try to wear the exact same outfit, as this consistency will give you a more accurate picture of your progress.
3. Have a plain background
Use a white wall or clear backdrop with no distractions, bright colours or patterns. Please use the same spot for each picture.
4. Take your picture from all angles
Set your camera on a stand or ask someone you are comfortable with to take a full length picture at eye level.
Angle 1 – Full Body Front
Angle 2 – Side Profile 1
Angle 3 – Side Profile 2
Angle 4 – Back
Ensure you stand upright with good posture.
Ensure the room is well-lit with natural daylight or as bright as possible without shadows.
6. Check your progress monthly
The best interval to take your progress pictures is a minimum of once every 4 weeks. This gives you enough time to make visible changes each time.
A Few Words…
The most important thing to remember on this journey is to take things one small step at a time. Following each of the tips we have mentioned will not only help you stay consistent it will also keep you motivated. Remember to be kind to yourself and enjoy the journey.
Until the next post.
Mike and Viv aka MrandMrsMuscle
References 1. Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (2006). New directions in goal-setting theory. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 15(5), 265-268. 2. Lakicevic, N., Gentile, A., Mehrabi, S., Cassar, S., Parker, K., Roklicer, R., Bianco, A., & Drid, P. (2020). Make Fitness Fun: Could Novelty Be the Key Determinant for Physical Activity Adherence?. Frontiers in psychology, 11, 577522. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.577522 3. Treiber FA, Baranowski T, Braden DS, Strong WB, Levy M, Knox W. Social support for exercise: relationship to physical activity in young adults. Prev Med. 1991 Nov;20(6):737-50. doi: 10.1016/0091-7435(91)90068-f. Erratum in: Prev Med 1992 May;21(3):392. PMID: 1766945.