We all know that a lack of exercise is bad for us, yet, most of us don’t actually workout that often.
So, why is that?
We don’t even need that much exercise to stay fit. According to CDC, people between 19 and 64 need only around 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week to stay healthy, which translates to what, a little bit over 20 minutes of exercise per day?
That’s actually not a lot.
It’s certainly a lot less than most people think they need, but that doesn’t answer our question.
Why Aren’t We Motivated to Exercise?
In the opinion of many researchers, the biggest problem for many people is that working out is not a habit or a daily routine. Instead, exercise feels more like a chore, and that’s why many people easily push it off their agendas.
What are worse, recent studies have discovered that people who’ve never worked out in their lives, don’t spend any time thinking about the pros and cons of working out.
So if you want to make working out a regular thing in your life, you need to plan your workouts carefully, because planning is perhaps the most important strategy in instigating behaviour change.
Planning in high detail in advance how to deal with certain obstacles and possible setbacks, like bad weather or the inevitable lack of motivation will definitely increase your chance of successful behaviour change.
How Do You Keep Exercising in the Long Run?
Until recently, most scientists would tell you your lack of willpower is the main reason you’re failing to stay motivated to stick to your fitness plan.
But it turns out; your dopamine receptors are actually the ones to blame. A new report from the NIH (published in the Cell Metabolism Journal) discovered that the lack of motivation to exercise stems primarily from small alterations in your dopamine receptors.
These receptors trigger feelings of reward that make your brain say “come on, do it more” and help you adopt both positive and negative behaviours. So the good news is, you’re not as lazy as people claim, but the bad news is, you don’t have too much control over your problem.
But all is not lost, because there’s enough evidence that you can kick start your motivation by gradually increasing your physical activity, having a healthy diet and losing some weight. This will fire up your biological reward system and make you want to exercise.
Four Fitness Motivation Methods
All of this means you simply need to make your workouts enjoyable from the get go. And in order to do that, you have to make some plans (and backup plans as well) that will ensure that you won’t start skipping workouts after a month.
So here are a few of methods that will keep you motivated for training:
1. Start Things Off With a Personal Trainer
So how can be this certain that you need a personal trainer? Well, you have to remember that people before you have travelled the same road. And a vast majority of them thinks that personal trainers are at least partially responsible for their fitness achievements.
In fact, a recent survey conducted by Supplement Critique revealed that roughly 83% of people who’ve used a personal trainer in the past are completely satisfied with their results. And luckily, you can easily find a personal trainer in any gym across the world, and some will even come to your house to help you. But needless to say, those guys cost a little more than your average fitness trainer.
And why are personal trainers so valuable? Of course, they will help you with the exercises, tailor a program that’s right got you individually and most of them will also help you come with a proper nutritional plan (you know, meal prep isn’t always as easy as it seems) as well.
Addition to keep you motivated during your workouts, personal trainers can also keep you accountable. You’re far less likely to skip a training session if you know that you’ll be leaving your trainer hanging. Of course, trainers aren’t the only people that can keep you accountable…
2. Have a Workout Buddy by Your Side at All Times
Everyone feels lonely from time to time. But loneliness is actually more harmful to your well-being than you might think. According to a new study published in Perspectives on Psychological Science, loneliness is actually harmful to your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
So if you want to improve your health, you should focus on hanging out with your friends more. And if you manage to combine exercise with your friends – you’ll hit the jackpot, my friend. Because not only will you feel more motivated for training, you’ll even enjoy your workouts more.
Recently, a group of researchers from the University of Southern California examined 117 adults and discovered that those who work out with close people (including co-workers and partners) enjoy their training sessions far more than those who do it by themselves.
It makes sense, doesn’t it? Everyone likes hanging around with their friends; and if you even remotely enjoy exercising, you just need to combine the two, and you’ll practically double the fun. And because people are naturally competitive, when you’re exercising with a fit friend, you’ll eventually start pushing yourself more to keep up with him.
3. Every Now and Then Change Up Your Routine
Of course, after a while, your mind will get bored with the same old gym routine. But you have to be aware that your body will also get bored if you keep doing the same exercises for months. Eventually, your body will hit a plateau and get used to your workout routine completely.
While you’ll not lose any ground because of this, you won’t get any ground either. So if you want to ensure that both your mind and body stay interested in your workouts, you have to change up your routine from time to time.
How much time should pass before you change up your routine, you might be asking right now. While we don’t have the exact number (because you know, it varies from person to person), some professional trainers can offer some advice on this matter.
Take for instance Lee Boyce, a professional strength trainer, whose work was featured in major publications like Men’s Health and Musclemag, who recommends that you should change up your fitness program at least every 6 weeks or so. But if you feel like you’ve hit a plateau earlier than that, talk to your trainer and change your routine by all means.
4. Keep Track of Your Progress
With each workout, you always have that temptation to do just a tiny bit less and to stop pushing yourself as hard as you used to. After some time, people even start skipping their workouts altogether, simply because they’ve partially achieved their fitness goals. Our nature dictates that our efforts decline over time, and, without an occasional reminder, most of us would give up.
Around seven years ago, a group of researchers conducted a study on how feedback can help patients to make more progress. One group of test subjects was given feedback, while the other was not. After the study, the first group showed fewer readmissions to therapy programs, while the other subjects checked back into their therapy programs much more often.
So a big part of staying motivated involves reminding yourself of all of the hard work you’ve done thus far and what you’ve achieved. One way of keeping progress is taking pictures. And don’t worry, you don’t have to share these pictures with anyone; they are there to serve as a reminder of where you have come from. And this will naturally keep you going.
But if you’re not too fond of this idea, you can keep progress in other ways. For instance, if you’re a runner, you can always record how far you can run or maybe how long it does take to run a certain distance. The main thing here is to always measure and review your process in order to improve upon what you have accomplished.
Music. Music can motivate you to push yourself during a workout. It increases the resistance and perseverance capacity of mind, and you might end up doing a few more pushups or another mile of a run just by listening to such music.
One of a type is given below. Test it out and let us know what difference it makes for you. If you want more music recommendations for the workout, do let us know.
So those are a couple of things you can do to stay motivated and make sure you achieve every single one of your fitness goals. And now, in order to sum it all up (and help you even if you don’t want to read our article), let’s go over some key points again:
So what do you think about the methods we’ve talked about in this article? Do you think we missed out on a couple of important methods? Do you have motivation methods of your own? If you do, leave a comment bellow and share your methods with the rest of us.