Professional athletes are not more motivated than you are. Olympic athletes don’t just “want it more” than you do. The fittest people in your gym have the same motivation struggles that you do.
The only difference between them and you is that they know how to get motivated and they’ve probably got a plan in place for when they don’t feel like they’ve got any motivation.
We guarantee that professional athletes have days when they don’t feel like training. We know that even those people with ripped abs know that cake is delicious.
So how do they get themselves to do the thing that they don’t want to do, or work cake into their nutrition plan?
Their secret strategies?
1 – Get a coach
The fortunate position that you’re in, is that you can do exactly the same as them! You can make yourself accountable to someone objective. Your significant other will probably let you slide. Your friends at work don’t want you to succeed anyway because it’ll make them look bad. Your family may even spin you the “you don’t need to change” line that does no one any favours.
- Removes the guesswork
- Gets you results FAST
- Holds you accountable in person or via FaceTime
- Provides a “pain” for failure – you’re paying for this service and there’s no penalty for failure if you’ve not got skin in the game
2 – Get a really fast result
Our brains love it when we get a quick win. That’s why that free game you downloaded on your phone has supper easy levels at the start of it. If we don’t see something happening quickly then our motivation levels drop.
Everyone likes hearing about something that they’ve done well – there are apps that can do it for you but there’s no real replacement for human interaction.
3 – Set up a short-term “challenge” for yourself … but have a plan for after the challenge ends.
Doing something for a month is a great way to motivate yourself and start to build good habits. But there’s a real danger of dropping off after it ends and sliding back to further back than you were before. We all know someone who stopped eating “all carbs” for a month, lost a few pounds and then put on more than they lost once they went back to how they were eating before! It’s not sustainable so it doesn’t work.
What would work would be working with a coach to aggressively drop weight in a month with lifestyle adjustments, but making sure that there was a plan for after that month so that the rebound was avoided and the habits became routine. Having the second step lined up before starting on the first is key to long term success.
4 – Know it will eventually become a habit
When you start off it can seem tough to go to the gym three times a week. It can be daunting to shop for food to support your new goals. Meal prep can be a big mental hurdle.
But the longer you keep up with a habit the easier it will get. Usually it takes around 90 days for new behaviours to become part of our habits and then a few more months for those habits to become part of what you do on a day to day basis.
5 – Track everything
- Track your workouts – we use SugarWOD for this at Second City.
- Note your personal bests – again, SugarWOD is great for this.
- Track your food intake – could be on a piece of paper, could be on MyFitnessPal.
- Note your wins – celebrate your Bright Spots every week in our Facebook members group.
- Track your sleep – use a wearable like Whoop or just a piece of paper by your bed
Note how they all tie together into the bigger picture and create a virtuous (or vicious) cycle…
In general the less you sleep, the more caffeine you want. More caffeine to get through your day tends to lead to more sugar cravings. When you eat a load of sugar working out can feel like a chore. A lack of physical activity leads to increased stress levels, and that then makes your sleep worse! It truly is a cycle that needs to be broken.
6 – Use your tools to plan
If you are planning your food intake on MyFitnessPal then you can either enter your food at the end of the day and hope you were close to your targets, or you can plan the following day before you go to bed and have a plan in place. You’ll probably sleep better.
You can look at the workouts for the week ahead on SugarWOD and plan which days you’re going to do which class (or even ask your coach which classes would be best for you!)
You could look at your sleep data on your Whoop band and correlate poor sleep and poor recovery with poor food choices and plan to limit those in future.
7 – Check your progress
It’d be mad to think that you’d be setting personal bests on every workout forever, but the key to all this isn’t constantly pushing the limits of what you can do, it’s all about turning up. It’s about being consistent. People who show up 3-4 times a week and put some effort in regularly get better results than the people who show up once a week and try to bury themselves.
When you look back in 12 months time you’ll barely recognise the person you used to be as you’ll have been making progress (and have the data to prove it).
Consistency + effort = winning
Inspiration provided by Chris Cooper at Catalystgym.com.