There's no shortage of fitness and health information at your fingertips right now.
Anything you can think of from exercise knowledge and workout ideas to nutrition can be looked up and used.
Even on my FB / Insta / Website there's loads of practical information.
But sometimes the problem you have is putting that knowledge into action.
Taking that first step.
And then continuing to take those steps forward.
That's where having an accountability partner can really help to get you started and keep you moving in the right direction.
It doesn't have to be difficult to find a partner or a group and work together. It could be:
- people from work
- family & friends
- your partner
- from a club / group you belong to
- Hiring a personal trainer
- From the gym or fitness class
You can ask them directly or put a post up on your personal FB, IG, etc
I belong to a few fitness groups where I've seen people post for accountability partners and had plenty of responses
If you want to go it alone, make yourself a tracking spreadsheet and keep it visible as a reminder. Then work on taking ownership of it and keeping yourself accountable.
Lots of possible ideas to consider and it might make the difference between you sitting there only reading about exercises & workouts and actually getting up and doing them.
Two common misconceptions about motivation are:
1) You should feel highly motivated all the time
2) You need motivation to do a job / task / workout / chore
There is quite a lot of information and theory behind motivation but for the purposes of keeping this post simple and useable for you:
1) Motivation ebbs and flows - Think of the seaside, you have periods of high tide and periods of low tide. Your motivation is the same - it comes and goes - so you will have periods of high motivation and periods of low motivation
This is perfectly normal for everyone.
The key is understanding this and realising you won't feel motivated all the time and that you still need to work towards your goals.
2) Try starting the job / task / chore / workout first - Linked to the above point, you will have periods where you're not motivated to do something and you don't want to start.
However, work on putting that feeling aside and starting the thing you need to do - whether it is a job; a task or a workout.
Give it about 5 - 10 minute of getting into the work and often times, you'll feel more motivated and then want to get it finished.
After it is done, give yourself praise for the completion despite not necessarily feeling like it.
Since the second lockdown announcement, I've seen a lot of negative comments about exercising and eating.
Generally along the lines of:
"Oh great, now I can't exercise"
"My gym has closed so I can't do anything"
"I can't exercise so I'll just starve myself" (Note: If you are genuinely considering ideas of starving yourself to maintain or lose weight, I would recommend speaking to a professional. It doesn't have to be that way.)
I get it, it's all too easy to go straight to focusing on the negative of a situation (and it is a shit situation) and jumping to an extreme.
However, in rushing quickly to that mindset you shut yourself down from thinking up actual solutions which can help you.
The easiest way is to start this change is by asking yourself "How can I?" type questions.
It's a simple question that helps to shift your focus and perspective from shutting down ideas to thinking up ideas.
In action, it would look like this:
Instead of saying "My gym is closed, I can't exercise"
Try asking yourself "My gym is closed, how can I continue to exercise?"
Instead of saying "I can't work towards my goals"
Try asking yourself "How can I continue to train and eat towards my goals?"
When you find yourself only focusing on the negatives. Stop for a moment and try asking yourself "How can I" type questions and making a note of all the answers you can think of.
And I mean give it some proper thought too. Not 5 seconds of "oh I can't think of anything, I give up". Keep working on that question and see what ideas you can generate.
After you have thought up some ideas, read through them and see what ones you feel you could try which would help and put them into action.
You decide to get in shape
You start eating better
You start working out
Then life happens. Something gets in the way and you hit a proverbial brick wall.
Your plans go crashing out and you give up.
Does that sound familiar?
A powerful tool in helping you to achieve your goals is planning for obstacles.
This is because we have a tendency to think "Everything is going perfectly, so I will do.... "
And unfortunately, life does have a habit of taking a giant poo all over that way of thinking because something will always come up.
Whether that is a going out for a meal, going to a birthday party with lots of sweets and cakes, feeling stressed and wanting a massive takeaway or your gym having to be shut down.
Figure out the events (when they are allowed to happen again, obviously), or issues that are likely to come up that could mess with your progress.
This is because once you have defined the issue, you get a clearer picture on why this will get in your way and you can start to think up ways to deal with it.
Then, you don't sabotage your own progress and give up because things stopped being perfect.
So the takeaway points are:
1) You know what you would like to achieve
2) Write down somewhere, the obstacles that are likely to come up or have come up already that mess with your progress
3) Then think up ways you could deal with those issues in a way that allow you to continue making progress towards your goals.
One of the best ways to guarantee you will struggle with your fitness goals right now is to be stuck in a rigid mindset.
A rigid mindset is one where you have a tendency to make a choice based on one extreme or the other.
You create a false dichotomy in your mind that there are only two choices.
All or nothing.
You might have gone through this same situation with the first lockdown and just started to get back into working out. Or decided to start working out after the lockdown ended.
With a 2nd lockdown happening very soon and gyms and fitness studios shutting down for the next month, you might be inclined to think:
"If I can't go to the gym then I can't workout at all"
This doesn't have to be the case.
Instead of thinking gym vs do nothing, think of everything in between you could do instead right now.
For example, the options could be more like this:
- Commercial gym
- Kitted out home gym
- Home workouts with some weights
- Home workouts with some weights and bodyweight
- Home workouts with some bands and bodyweight
- Home workouts with bodyweight
- Mini home workouts
- Stretching and mobility sessions
- Going outside for a walk
- Getting up during the day and moving around
- Do nothing
There could be other options you think up that sit in that scale of options too, for example training outdoors.
The point is, don't get stuck into thinking it's the gym or nothing.
There are always other options.
This is my, mostly, Personal Trainer musings and information which I hope you'll find helpful!