Monday, June 7, 2010

How do you keep yourself motivated?

I wake up at 5:30 every weekday morning, leave the house by 6:00am and I begin my workout by 6:30am. Have a quick yet intense work out, shower and then head off to work. As most of you might have guessed, lifting weights at 6:30 in the morning is not exactly the easiest thing to do. Whenever I tell people about my routine, they always ask me “How do you get motivation to do that every morning?” My answer is that I want to avoid the traffic jam, so that’s why I wake up and leave my house so early so that I get to avoid the jams.

Although a lot of you might say that “traffic jams” can’t really be categorized as motivation, I choose to view it differently and that is how I use it and turn it into motivation for me. That’s the thing about motivation. Motivation doesn’t necessarily have to be people cheering for you or people saying, “Hey you look like you have lost weight”. Of course motivation like that is great and who doesn’t love it. But the key to working out, is to take all the unexpected things around you and turn it into motivation and you will be surprised at how much more these small things will add up. So, here are some tips for you to derive motivation from just about anything.

Play out the “what if worst case scenario”
Just like my traffic jam example, every time I wake up in the morning and feel like I just can’t do this, I play out the worst case scenario. If I don’t go to gym, then I am going to get stuck in the jam. Not only do I have to deal with annoying drivers, I could be late and if that happens, I will never hear then end of my boss yelling and screaming. So with all that in contrast, a quick 1 hour lift doesn’t seem that hard to do. So weighing the consequences, I think I would rather just go for my workout than to skip it. Also, if you are a person who trains regularly, you know that if you skip this work out, you are going to feel guilty about it all day. So rather than feel crappy all day, I might as well get it over it.

Remember that after working out, you will always feel good
This has actually been scientifically proven. Working out actually triggers your body to produce adrenalin and endorphins, which are hormones that act as natural feel good drugs. So though it might be difficult to get out of bed or get off that sofa and start your workout, think about how good you are going to feel once you complete your workout. If you are feeling lazy and down, tell yourself that this will all change once you sweat it out and finish your work out.

Don’t think about it. Just do it
Working out for me, has become part of my routine. Just like you would brush your teeth every morning when you get up, working out at a particular time has become part of my routine. I have actually programmed myself in such a way that I just do it without thinking anymore. Sometimes when I look back, I can’t believe that I have stuck with this same routine for more than 8 years. That’s a long time.
So whenever you feel lazy or feel like you just want to skip it, re-program your mind immediately. Tell your self that you just have to do it. Every time a negative thought comes to your head, push it away and say “I just have to do this”. Don’t let these negative thoughts rule your mind and make decisions for you.

I am not like everyone else.
When you wake up at 5:30 every morning, it’s hard to tell yourself that you need to go the gym and start working out. All sorts of thoughts race through your mind. The one that always races through mine is “Why do I have to do this? Everyone else is still fast asleep.” Of course the answer to that question is always “I am not like everyone else and I don’t want to be like everyone else”. You will be surprised at how effective that is.

Get a gym buddy
This is actually one of the easiest and most fun way to stay motivated. Get a friend who shares your enthusiasm for working out and make it a point to work out together. Not only is working out together fun, it is also great for keeping each other motivated. You get to compare yourself with someone, and this creates a competitive spirit which all in all is a good thing for working out. Besides that, having a gym buddy also helps when you start slacking off. When you don’t feel like going or if your gym buddy doesn’t feel like going, you can push each other to go. Plus, if you cancel, you are not only canceling your own plans… there is someone else who is depending on your plans as well. So start persuading your work mates, family members, friends or college mates into getting fit. Having a gym buddy is always the best way to work out.

Take a break from time to time
This is an extremely important tip. Lot’s of people who start off as real enthusiasts suddenly quit after awhile because they don’t feel motivated anymore. Often times, when you do the same thing over and over again, you tend to get bored with the routine, hence making you feel unmotivated and the feeling of wanting to quit.
To avoid this, make it a point to take a one week break from your routine every 4 or 5 months. During the one week, take up other activities like swimming or playing football or any other kind of sport. Once the one week break is over, you will probably feel guilty that you haven’t worked out for awhile and this will give you more drive and motivation to work out again.

Keep Reading Fitness Malaysia's Blog

Yes, this is the best way to keep yourself continuously motivated. OK OK, jokes aside, but I really do mean this. Reading this blog will help you stay motivated because you are always learning new tips which you can’t wait to try at the gym. So make sure you check out this blog every week to keep yourself motivated all the time.

So now that you have an arsenal of motivation tips, make sure you put them to use. Don’t let yourself feel down and lazy resulting in you quitting. Working out takes time to see results and a lot of times people quit because they don’t see the results. Believe me, the results will come to all those who work for it. The only thing you need to do is to keep working at it without quitting. Easy isn’t it? As usual, look forward to reading your comments.


Aizan Suhaira said...

I always feel sleepy after a workout. Which I guess is good because I read about a study which says that the body recovers best if you take a quick nap after an intense workout.

Which is why I don't hit the weights in the morning, choosing instead to do it after work.

Go home, rest a bit. Train. Protein shake. Shower. Quick meal. Read a bit. Sleep.

Granted, I've never tried doing a 'wee hour workout' (5.30 is wee hour for me). Perhaps I should try it one of these days.

Rajan said...

Aizan: you should give a try to working out in the morning. It gets some getting used to, but once you are used to it you will not turn back. Even on my leave days i wake up at 5.30 and go. One more benefit of working out early in the morning is the gym is not crowded.

ian yusof said...

I'm with you. I'm a morning riser and love to hit the gym or park in the morning. It feels good too.

Kasey Brown Fitness said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kasey Brown Fitness said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rajan said...

Ian: actually i am not a morning person at all. :-) Given the chance i would sleep in. But i am motivated to do what i need to do. So if i can do it, anyone else can too.
Kasey: ace zombies? Nah, im not worried about then. comment moderation was more for these spam postings i keep getting. I used to delete about 3 or 4 a day. Its been reducing lately so maybe i will remove the moderation soon.