If you’ve found yourself in a bit of a post-summer slump, then check out these top tips to give yourself that little push. Words: Amanda Khouv
It can be hard getting back into exercise and healthy eating after a holiday or break from routine. While you may be desperate to lose weight, tone up or improve your fitness, sometimes actually getting started is the hardest part. But, never fear! With our motivational tips, you’ll be achieving your goals in no time…
THERE’S NO ‘I’ IN TEAM
There’s no worse feeling than letting others down, especially if there’s a whole bunch of them, which is why taking up a team sport such as netball or football is a great way to stay motivated to exercise. Team sports have a unique sense of camaraderie about them, so even if you’re dreading the workout, at least your urge to socialise will help you turn up to the training sessions. The team spirit will also be enough to motivate yourself to do well, in fear of letting your team-mates down. The other great thing about team sports is that they are reminiscent of games at school, so there’s a fun element as well as the benefits of exercising.
BETTER WITH A BUDDY
It’s a classic tip to get motivated, but it really does work. Find a friend who has similar goals to you, and arrange to do some of your workouts together. Try running a couple of times a week, hitting the gym (having someone simply to do the journey with and chat with in the changing rooms is sometimes enough to get you out of the door), and even try home workouts and DVDs together. This not only turns exercise into a social occasion where you can catch up with friends, but it also reduces the chances of quitting, slowing down or giving up. When you see someone else with the same fitness levels as you performing a move to a certain ability, it makes you believe you can do it, too. What’s more, you can curb boredom by trying new moves that can only be performed with a partner, such as wheelbarrows! To satisfy a friendly competitive streak, why not also have little races every now and then, too? This will push your fitness levels further!
‘Start a blog and make sure you update it every day, tracking your workouts, nutrition and emotions about everything that is happening in your life, health-wise’
DO IT FOR CHARITY
To give yourself that extra push, sometimes all you need is to forget about your own gains and do it for someone in need of help. Which is why sponsored events and charity runs work so well – everyone does them for the same good cause, and the atmosphere is relaxed and encouraging. 5K races are a great place to start, as it isn’t uncommon to lightly jog or even walk these events with friends and family members. Not only will you have a feeling of satisfaction at the end for helping out a charity, but you’ll have also completed a fitness challenge (not to mention all the workouts you would have completed in training). Who knows, you might even get the bug and move on to a bigger challenge in the future!
SHIFT THE WORKLOAD
If you’re struggling to motivate yourself, but really want to see results, the answer may be to pay someone else to do it! Personal trainers are great at what they do, not only because of their knowledge in fitness, but also because they are good at motivating people to achieve their goals. Whether you want to lose weight, tone up all over or build strength, your personal trainer will tailor your workouts to your ambitions and make sure you get through every gruelling exercise. Personal training sessions are also a great opportunity to try out new gizmos and equipment, such as the Power Plate or TRX, which you may not have the guts to tackle on your own.
BLAH, BLAH, BLAH
Tell anyone who will (and won’t!) listen about your goals, plans and progress. Start a blog and make sure you update it every day, tracking your workouts, nutrition and emotions about everything that is happening in your life, health-wise. Then, if you slack off, everyone will know about it, giving you more of an incentive to stick to your training and diet plan! It’s also a handy way to track setbacks; that way, if you come across the same setbacks a second time, you’ll know how you overcame them. Losing face is also something we all want to avoid, so let that be your motivator and tell the whole world about your achievements, even if they’re not listening too carefully!
GET INTO THE GROUP
If self-motivation isn’t your forte, then group exercise may be the answer. Most gyms offer fun fitness classes from Boxercise to Zumba, and they’re a fantastic way to meet new, like-minded people, too. Check your gym for its list of classes and make sure you sign up to two or three different sessions a week. This will help you keep your exercise regime varied and will avoid boredom setting in. It might take a few different tries to find the classes you like best, but once you’ve found them you’ll be eager to get to the gym and into that workout gear – it will be fun, not a chore! Unlike a run, there’s also a slimmer chance of procrastinating and putting off your workout until ‘later’ – the classes are scheduled and they won’t wait for you!