May is traditionally a month to celebrate. It’s the beginning of Spring (in the
Northern Hemisphere at least); new growth, flowers appearing and Winter being
Which makes it a great time of year for starting a new exercise programme or
giving your mind and body a boost. So here are a few thoughts on ‘changing up’
“Tomorrow is Today’s most popular labour-saving device”.
Getting motivated to exercise, even if you have regular classes with a PT
assisting and advising you, isn’t always as simple as making the entry in your
diary. Your session is approaching fast but are you “up for it”?
As a PT I have to be fully aware that, even though a client has committed to a
series of workouts, he or she has to juggle their calendar to accommodate work
demands, family issues, other leisure pursuits, illness, caring, school concerns
and emergencies etc. All of which consume time and absorb both mental and
physical energy so that periodically the ‘fitness session’ has to take a back seat.
With all these extra and unforeseen pressures is it any wonder that our
enthusiasm for physical exercise can take a”hit” occasionally. How many of us
let a little thought creep in to our minds that, “It’ll be better if I do it tomorrow.
I’ll have more time”? You have to agree, it is very seductive; there’s always
something more urgent (and less challenging?) that must take precedence.
Even if it’s a workout with a PT, sometimes it’s simpler to ease off a little with
the effort you’re putting in if you don’t feel “prepared”.
We’ve all done it but what’s the antidote?
Your motivation takes you from thinking about doing something to actually doing
it. And motivation can come from within i.e. ‘Intrinsic Motivation’, a combination
of your desires, resolve and passion to attain targets that are personal to you.
When you yourself want to get things done for your own gratification or for
pleasure. Or ‘Extrinsic Motivation’, which is defined as being derived from
external influences such as prizes, peer appreciation or awards etc.
Getting started is the toughest part so with this in mind I thought some tips
Be clear about your reason or reasons for exercising. Why you want to
do it. When you’re in the middle of a session, with all the discomfort
and challenges that can involve, the last thought you want to occur to
you is, “Why am I doing this?”
Knowing the effort is worth it to achieve your target, whatever it is, is
key to driving you on.
Train for a ‘Good Cause’ e.g. a charity etc.
If it culminates in an event e.g. a race, then the completion date in the
diary will spur you on.
Start with small goals. Don’t try to push yourself too hard at the
beginning. A professional PT will always design a routine to suit the
individual client such that the exercises and activities are achievable
and commensurate with the capabilities of the client.
If you’re training on your own and you’re finding it hard to get going or
you’re tight for time, just set your sights on doing, for example, sit
ups, then do ten reps of the exercise twice instead of three times.
Chances are that once you’ve been through the sequence once or
twice, you’ll want to switch it up to your normal levels.
Stay in touch with other like-minded people using Social Media to
compare progress and indulge in some friendly competition.
Elsevier has published a Preventive Medicine Report which showed that,
anonymous social networks significantly increase enrolment in exercise
classes and that social influence is more successful for improving physical
Make a date in your Diary. A study carried out by in the USA found
that scheduling exercise as a daily activity promotes regular exercise.
Sounds obvious but having it there in writing must help.
If you have regular dates with your PT then this goes without saying.
Set your alarm and place it on the other side of the room so you’re
forced to get out of bed to switch it off. (It works!).
If working out at home, allocate a special place for your workouts. Inside and/or out. It will
automatically assume the identity of your ‘personal gym’. And you’ll
never forget it.
Change the exercises in your workout and be careful not to over-train. Ensure you get some rest during
your exercise programme. PTs are adept at reading the signs and will
rarely allow a client to overtrain.
A lot of people find that a PT can help them motivate themselves to, in
the first instance, actually start exercising. The PT can set them off on
the right track, designing a bespoke routine, ensuring proper performance techniques and monitoring their progress, fine-tuning along the way.
Alternatively, an experienced gym-goer can benefit from a PT
providing motivation them by changing their usual fitness programme
to freshen up the challenge.
Check out the videos available on my facebook page
They might help you get in the mood.