Self motivation

May 9, 2011

Self motivation & discipline do not come naturally to most people.

In exercise, this is especially true.

We know exercise is good for us. We are fully aware of the plethora of health & esthetic benefits it provides including making us look better, feel better, increasing energy & focus, reducing stress,blah, blah, blah.

Despite these pretty amazing benefits having the motivation to “just do it” more often than not becomes a colossal endeavor.

Not enough time. Too busy. Boring. Too hard. Too much trouble. Not enough knowledge. The excuses are endless.

Perhaps this is why we feel disdain for the individual who seems to exercise with ease.

Individuals who always eat right & are motivated to forever go.

One thing is for sure. I am not that guy.

I basically live in a gym and still find it hard to schedule three workouts per week. Therefore, what does that mean for the regular client?

In addition I have a list of vices that would make the TLA nutritionist cringe: For instance, I know all the best places to have sweets: chocolate, cakes, pie, cinnamon buns, meringues. In other words if it’s good and it’s sweet…gone. Dentists love me. Then of course, there’s the additional vices of espresso’s, plus a nightly dram of scotch or pint of lager. Under daily analysis I could easily pass as a band member of one of the Pogues. People in exercise often use car analogies. If I was a car I would definitely use diesel fuel. Despite this, (or maybe because of this) I can’t remember the last time I got a cold or flu (maybe five years ago) and luckily my body fat consistently hovers around 10%.  Yet, under this growing banner of vices I needed to create the optimum elixir for working out. Otherwise I’d be huge. For instance, just going for a run wouldn’t crack it.

Therefore, here is four crucial elements towards what I believe is the optimum elixir for working out & staying self motivated?

#1.Bang for your buck exercises. Use a workout strategy involving lean weight training integrated with anaerobic heart rate training. Weight training done right is a phenomenal tool. There is so many training combinations. You can  build strength, endurance or muscle, get lean, work on movement patterns, power, and balance.  Meanwhile, anaerobic heart rate training done progressively after a thorough warm up is spectacular. With clients & their busy schedules this integrated system brings the best results.

#2. Applying Recovery. If you have as many vices as I do you become good at this one. Even though I’m a personal trainer I don’t like to exercise everyday. I love exercising, but everyday takes away the joy and adds an unbalanced dose of narcissism to the mix.  Besides, there is too many life things that get in the way. I would rather read the latest and greatest on my Ipad, cook a great fish’n’chip dinner, have a bath, micro stretch, play with my two wee lads, read about exercise, shag: anything but actually engage in exercise. Guess what!  This european attitude is a bonus! A recovery day is when we make our gains. Great news for exercisers who don’t always like to exercise.

#3. Training environment. On the topic of of self motivation I envy individuals who can exercise in their living room, go for long slow distance runs, or train outside at parks with boot camps while doing weird stuff in public. (For instance the other day I saw a boot camp and everyone was running with their hands in the air: what’s that about) In my experience when you’re training in the right environment, results soar.

Inside the private studio of the TLA we use the same equipment the Dutch Speed Skating team used to achieve their magnificent bodies (and terrific bums) during the recent 2010 Winter Olympics. Nearby is a track, a sand pit, steps, the tennis courts, and small grade inclines. When used properly these accessories make you pretty athletic. Another training environment prerequisite is music. The right music can add to any session just as quickly as the wrong music can kill a session. We favor tunes you can hum too, or songs that get the spirit going. We don’t do metal as metal seems to be directly related to gyms with big bellied clients. However, we do play the Stones with the Beatles, Nirvana & The White Stripes with the the Hives, Deadmau5 & his electronic buddies, or an alternative playlist of Mumford & Sons, Gorillaz & Kings of Leon, or for the TLA girls, something that makes their hips sway. Finally, the last important motivational element of any training environment is booking & setting the exercise time. When someone is waiting you absolutely have to come. After all, it would be rude not to. Suddenly exercise is not just a priority but a necessity.

#4. Timeline. With the TLA Challenge we created a timeline. You have 30/60/0r 90 days to get it sorted.  Sometimes in our lives we need to stop living like cars on diesel. Sometimes we need to eat right, be self disciplined, take care of #1, see a nutritionist, stretch with an elite instructor, train in a program that progresses & for a while at least, temporarily stop our vices like drinking scotch every night. In the process, this discipline, alongside the right exercise program allows us to become athletes.

By using #1-#4 self motivation becomes far less of an issue. Instead, you just feel and enjoy the many benefits that comes with exercise.

As it should be.

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