Motivation is everywhere! Check out your Instagram feed and the yogi effortlessly perfecting the handstand scorpion will have you Googling “yoga studios near me”. Everyone posts their WODs and post-workout selfies in the locker room on Facebook, so, no shortage there. Go ahead, search for workout routines to build muscle and the bodybuilders on YouTube that will have you craving larger lats and all the creatine you can stomach! With over 180 million uses of #fitness on IG, it, along with other social media platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr, the motivation is hard to ignore! You may first ask, “how do I find the motivation to workout?” and then you discover #gymmotivation and realize that you really don’t have to look very far to find it.
Here’s the big question: What do you plan to do with it?
Motivation is fantastic and necessary because it will help you to determine WHAT you want. Do you want a better A1C score, the ability to play with your grandkids, to look good naked? Maybe it’s to pass the military PT test, to be stronger than you’ve ever felt, or to achieve your revenge body?
Motivation, both external and internal, can provide you with your WHY. Is it to live longer and to increase your quality of life? Maybe your motivation to workout is to improve your performance potential (as a husband, employee, boss, parent, friend), because you have to set an example, or just simply to prove it to yourself?
Motivation to workout is necessary, but if you’re planning to scroll all day long you will have the thumbs of Thorbut not much else to show for it.
The cold hard truth is that intention without implementation is worthless.
So, you’ve found your WHAT and WHY and you’re so fueled up on your motivational pre-workout that you’re already in your fat burning zone. So, now it’s time to implement! All of it! At the same time! No…just kidding, that’s silly. Don’t be silly, be smart. Start by setting goals – S.M.A.R.T. goals.
S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym in the fitness dialect that is used to describe how to set goals and create action plans that will enable you to be as effective as possible from the start. It is a simple concept with a cute acronym, but it is a foundational component for a reason…it works!
Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Realistic. Time-Stamped.
Physiologically, you cannot do everything at the same time. Don’t expect that hypertrophy program to maximize your muscular growth while training optimally for the Hershey ½ Marathon at the same time. If you’re adding pounds to the bar every week in order to nail a PR on deadlifts, you can’t simultaneously cut your caloric intake and carb ratios because you want to see the 7th and 8th abs of the pack. If you’re developing a gym workout plan for weight loss, you should expect to eat to support that. You can have more than one variable to your overall goal, but you have to choose a more singular direction. Weight loss is likely the goal for 80-90% of the clientele personal trainers work with. The goal and plan are specific, but that doesn’t mean that the client can’t or won’t get stronger in the process.
Key Takeaway: Well, if you try to do it all, you won’t do it all well.
Make sure you have a way to gauge the efficacy of your plan as designed. Evidence is crucial. Evidence convicts murders and the lack of evidence lets murderers walk free. Don’t put in all this hard work only to allow yourself to be victim to a lack of evidence. Measure your progress. Determine what metrics you will use; what variables will you track, how and when will you measure them. Simple anthropometrics (weight, hip:waist ratio, body fat%, etc.) are frequently used for weight loss clients. You’ll use internal gauges like energy level, sleep and mood to “feel” your progress.
Record, track, assess, repeat. Record your efforts within each workout and program by knowing the variables; the movement, weight, reps, sets, rest periods, tempo. Not every variable will or should change each week, but there must be something that requires a stress overload. Track the trend over the days and weeks. Assess the data you’ve recorded to determine future efforts. Repeat.
Choose the physical & program measurements you’ll use to assess the totality of your results as they are hard measurables and the numbers don’t lie. This concept and process is applicable on a shorter-term and longer-term basis. Short-term: how to adjust your program on a weekly basis. Long-term: how to periodize your program.
Key Takeaway: Measure something that is indicative of the success of your program based on your goal. Track the workouts. Choose a few things to track but again, don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do it all. Also, don’t be a murderer.
Make sure it is possible. Start with common sense for this one and start with the basics. If you set a goal to run a marathon next month and you can’t walk a mile today, your goal may be too lofty. If you aspire to compete in the CrossFit Games this year and you needed help just to move the Olympic barbell, you might need to back it down a bit. You want a goal that is physically achievable in and of itself. It’s okay to have the finish line in mind, but you have to start with the first steps. Despite the empty promises of many dietary supplements and marketing gurus, you can’t bypass the process. The good news is that you can trust the intelligently designed process! A single acorn can produce a forest but you’ve got to plan the seed first!
Key Takeaway: Set a goal that can be fairly achieved so you don’t unfairly set yourself up to fail. An acorn is the nut of an Oaktree that contains a seed enclosed in a tough, leathery shell.
Just because a goal is physically possible does not mean it’s realistic. Remember, you want a goal that is physically achievable in and of itself but also within its process. This makes it realistic. Before you worry about what muscles groups to work out together, you first must make sure you’ll actually workout! Going from not working out in years to working out 5-6 days per week might not be feasible. You may need to be more realistic with committing to 2-3 days per week. You’re far more likely to stick with a plan if it’s realistic for your needs. Think in terms of logistics. Realistically, how many times can you workout per week? How long can you afford time-wise in the gym? How closely can you abide by an ideal nutrition structure? (You didn’t forget that you CAN’T OUT-EXERCISE POOR NUTRITION, did you?)
Key Takeaways: Remember that this is life. If you do not create a plan of action that fits within a practical lifestyle for the duration of the plan, you might as well throw in the gym towel.
“You only grow by coming to the end of something and by beginning something else.” – John Irving
Your goals and plan of action should have a beginning and an end. Physiologically, you cannot have an endless linear progression within a certain set of parameters. Basically, you eventually have to change it up! Every long-term goal is made up of short-term goals. You’ll change your course of action (program) regularly based on your needs and successes. You may have a 4, 6, 8, or 12-week program that you’re progressing through, but be sure to not exhaust yourself within a program and allow it to become counter-effective. Think of your goals as launching pads; you can bound endlessly through your lifelong health and fitness relationship by selecting goals, planning for them, executing the plan, and repeating. Time-stamping something is a “deadline” of sorts and helps to hold you accountable.
Key Takeaways: There has to be some lifeline to it but it shouldn’t go on forever.
Discipline > Motivation
While motivation to workout may rev your engine, it is the discipline to consistently adhere to the structure (which is outlined to promote adherence and discipline!) that will create real #fitness and #results!
But wait…there’s more! When you see the results that you attain from the plan of action you developed, based on the goals you established because you found the motivation to workout…you’ll become more motivated! Hashtag that and hold on to your Instagram handles as you keep bounding off your goals, propelling through your healthy and fit life!
Click HERE to check out some of our clients who found the motivation to workout and have reached their fitness goals
Written by Samantha Stewartz