Struggling to get in the gym? Having a hard time staying true to the program? Then it’s time to get back to basics with these 5 questions designed to set you back on track.
Doing your workouts in the gym day-in and day-out is tough.
Wanna know how we make it even harder on ourselves?
By not having goals, through unrealistic expectations, and cultivating an environment that is inconsistent with our goals.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
There is an easier way. There is the inner athlete within you that is itching to break out and inflict some serious damage on your workouts.
Here are some simple questions to ask yourself in order to break down why you are having difficulty sticking to the program:
Is your routine not all that appealing to you?
Here is a not-so-secret secret: If you hate your workout plan, and the idea of exercising fills you completely with dread, you are far less likely to go through with it.
Working out is not a punishment, and people trying to get back into shape need to stop viewing it as such. Play to your likes and interests. Working out doesn’t need to be a miserable experience in order to experience increments of improvement.
If you hate running but love swimming, hit the pool for some cardio and interval training. If lifting weights with your local meatheads (of which I am one of) doesn’t appeal to you, throw down some bodyweight exercises at home.
It’s your life, and your body.
Do what you like and enjoy in order to make the most out of both.
Does your environment align with your goals?
Our workouts don’t exist in a vacuum. The things we do outside of the doors of the local fitness center influence what we do inside them.
For better or worse.
Eating junk food right before your workout? Staying up late when you gotta workout in the morning?
When the behaviors and actions outside of the gym contradict what we are doing inside of the gym it is exponentially more difficult to make the progress we want.
Make it easier on yourself to go to the gym by having a set schedule that is non-negotiable. Hang out with people who live the kind of lifestyle you want to emulate. Spend more time hanging around blogs and websites that discuss the kind of goals you have for yourself.
You don’t need to overhaul your life (or maybe you do?), often enough it is just a couple minor changes you make at home and work that help ripple out into big changes in the gym.
Do you have things that you want to accomplish in the gym?
Stagnation, boredom and a lack of focus all originate from a lack of direction or urgency with our workouts. If we walk into the gym simply for the sake of working out, and not to accomplish something, we will be hard-pressed to keep ourselves accountable.
Not only is having a goal going to keep you focused, but it will keep you motivated long after those first few days of inspiration have faded.
Having goals can be ambitious as becoming a world class athlete, or as simple as dropping your 5k time. If you really wanna get serious about being focused, have your workouts planned out in advance with specific targets in mind.
Having both ready, in hand, will keep you zeroed in on progressing, which is the mother of all motivational tools.
Are you bouncing back after your misses?
The hardest days of training for me have typically been after a long break off. Whether planned or not, I get it, it’s tough when we fall off. Shit happens. We get sick, we get injured, family emergencies, setbacks come in an infinite number of shades. It’s not having the ability to completely avoid these types of derailments that holds the key to your long term success in the gym, it is whether or not you are capable and willing to bounce back when they happen.
Researchers found that when people were able to make a new workout habit stick over the long term it wasn’t about them being perfect, but rather that they were able to bounce back quickly when they did fall off. So don’t stress about being perfect, instead, focus on being consistent. After all, consistency conquers all.
Are you setting unrealistic expectations for progress?
Health magazines are the fu***** worst.
They promise you hilariously exaggerated results (“So simple! Instant results!”) that inflate our expectations so that when we get to work in the gym, and aren’t shredded and jacked after two weeks of effort we feel discouraged and let-down.
Obviously we don’t have what it takes, so we return to our sedentary lifestyles until a few weeks, a few months, or a few years later we decide to try again with the same lackluster results.
The key is to suspend expectations and to focus on making the goal the routine.
The goal doesn’t have to be becoming the person who has a six pack, but rather becoming the person that trains like the person who has a six pack. Subtle difference, but important.
Putting it all together:
There’s nothing wrong with baby-stepping your way to success in the gym. It’s tempting to wanna make the wholesale lifetsyle change, but the way change really works is little by little, day by day.
Set yourself some goals. Keep modest expectations. Impress upon yourself the importance of building a powerful routine.
And go forth and kick a metric ton of butt in the gym.