A friend once told me 'If you don't like where you are, then you better keep going'. What a great statement! In this world of instant gratification and quick fixes it's hard to maintain consistency and not get discouraged. Maybe it's just getting the motivation to start exercising. Maybe it's the constant, unhealthy battle with food. Maybe it's progressing from 2 to 4 pull-ups. Maybe it's losing those first 10 pounds. Maybe it's losing those last 10 pounds in your quest for extreme ripped-ness and low body fat.
We all stuggle. It's relative to where you are. But if you don't like where you are, then you better keep going. I struggle with how easily I gain lower-belly body fat and how freaking hard it is to get rid of. Others that I know don't have that problem and it pisses me off! I work hard and eat great. But that's just the way it is sometimes. I'll tell you this; to steal a line from 'Night At The Museum': I Ain't Quitin' You! That's what I have to tell myself sometimes. Trust me -- even super fit individuals have their struggles. BUT, they work through them and they do not quit.
So how can you stay motivated to get through the rough spots?
- Community - stay connected with a fitness community in some way, somehow. Find a message board or community that fits your fitness goals with like-minded people AND people who have done what you want to do. Here's a great one. And another.
- Write down your goals - book after book and study after study have proven that those who write down their goals achieve them more frequently and faster than those who do not. Tom Venuto is one of the best at explaining the psychology of goal setting and writing.
- Accountability - This may go hand-in-hand with community. You may prefer a close friend or spouse to keep you accountable. My wife helps keep me in check. She'll remind me of my goals if I need a gentle nudge. She'll tell me, on occasion, to skip a workout and will even tell me to relax my diet and have fun when I'm a bit too uptight and 'anal'.
- The 80/20 rule - 80% of the time - eat right. That may mean something different to you than it does me. Do what works for you. I believe a more primally based diet is healthier and offers a better opportunity for success, but others who are ripped, lean, and strong don't see it that way. Again, do what works for you. It might be simple calorie restriction either through daily restriction or intermittent fasting. Plants, animals and fruit comprise most of my diet. Oh, and coffee.
- Exercise Intensely - You must exercise with a purpose. Why workout otherwise? Aren't you exercising for results? That means when you 'bring it' -- freaking 'BRING IT'! You don't need to spend 2 hours in the gym. 30 minutes of high-intensity, heart-pounding, muscle-building exercises will bring you better results in a shorter period of time. For added benefit, workout in a fasted state.
- Change It Up - Don't get stuck in a rut. If you don't feel like working out, then maybe it's time for a change of pace. Go outside more. Ride a bike. Take a run. Hike a trail. Go run sprints. If you usually do barbell squats, do dumbbell squats or weighted walking lunges. You get the point.
- Have Fun - Most people do not continue to workout after the 'New Years' Resolution 3-month experiment' period because they get bored doing the same ole crap and force themselves to do exercises and routines that they do not enjoy. Good grief! Have fun. If you have a trainer and you do not enjoy working out with that trainer -- fire the trainer! You don't need a trainer anyway. There are enough resources available through the internet free or at minimal cost to help you achieve your fitness goals.
- Intermittent Fasting - I think I've mentioned this a time or two (insert sarcasm here). A must-use tool of health and fitness. It will motivate you to make good decisions and you will feel remarkably healthy and clear-minded.
- Enjoy Compliments - There is nothing like working your butt off and people noticing the positive changes in your appearance. Don't shrug off a compliment. Admit that you are working hard and making positive choices. Enjoy it and strut your stuff.
- Take Breaks, But Never Quit - Take breaks because you need them. A 2-week break after an extended period of intense workouts will only help your body and mind. If you feel worn down and tired, then take a break. Listen to your body. Let it heal. But do not quit. Pick up where you left off and continue on your way.
Remember: If you don't like where you are, then you better keep going.
Until next time...