For many of us, January is a time for starting afresh. We leap into the new year feeling super motivated, smashing through every planned workout and sticking to a well-thought out meal plan. You feel great initially… But then, February rolls around.
The results aren’t coming as fast as you’d like, your DOMs are insane, you’re tired, work is busy, it’s bloody freeeezing outside and you’d rather snuggle up in your duvet than go to the gym in the morning… Whatever the reason – little by little your commitment starts to weaken and you find yourself skipping workouts and falling off the fitness bandwagon. Sound familiar?
We have all been there. But, for any meaningful progress to be made, consistency is key! So how can we maintain January’s level of motivation throughout the rest of the year? Some of the team at Grow have shared their tips below…
“Number one, rewards. I’m a firm believer that nothing should be off-limits when you’re trying to get fit – being too strict and depriving yourself of the foods you love is no fun! It’s all about balance. Prioritise healthy foods most of the time, but make room for your favourite not-so-healthy treats, too.
“For example, everyone who knows me knows that I LOVE cookies – keeping in shape doesn’t mean not eating them! I always get my favourite one as a treat after my last PT session on a Friday night. It tastes even better when you make it into an occasional indulgence!
“Number two is goals. Whatever it is – to run a 10k, to look good for a friend’s wedding – make that your target and the driving force behind your workouts. When it gets tough, imagine how you’ll feel crossing the finish line or hearing people say they’ve noticed how much stronger or slimmer you look. Or imagine just being able to look at yourself and think, “Damn. You know what? I look good”. And more importantly feel good. You can look at yourself and think – I worked hard. I sacrificed. I achieved this. And this can give you the confidence to go ahead and smash whatever else it is you want to achieve.
“As soon as you hit your goal, set a new one. Always be working towards something. An event, a date, a challenge”.
“If you’re trying to lose weight, the one thing I would say is super important is to not get obsessed with numbers. Our weight fluctuates a lot for a whole host of reasons (this is especially true for women), so weighing yourself on a daily basis can only lead to frustration – it may well be that the number goes up even if you’ve stuck to your workout and meal plans. Plus, muscle weighs more than fat – your body composition can improve massively while your weight stays the same. I’d encourage the use of photos, measurements or simply the feel of how clothes fit instead of obsessing over your weight.
(Pssst. Check out our blog here on non-scale victories)
“My second tip would be to focus on long-term consistency over short-term perfection. Fitness is a journey, involving long-term lifestyle changes – it’s not a race. Focus on making the right choices most of the time, but allow yourself the flexibility to enjoy treats and take unscheduled rest days without any guilt. Fall in love with the process and the results will come!”.
“Sticking to a fitness regime is so much easier if it’s fun, and to keep it that way, variety is key to prevent boredom. Doing the same workout every day isn’t just boring, it’s also ineffective because your body will get used to it and you’ll stop seeing progress. So mix it up with different workouts, do things you find fun, and enjoy the process of getting fitter!
“Another key thing is to follow a diet full of foods that you actually like! Lots of people associate healthy eating with salads, or boring meals made up of rice, broccoli and plain chicken. Nooo! That’s so sad. Healthy eating can be delicious, varied and interesting. Use your fitness journey as a reason to experiment with new flavours and have fun with it – you shouldn’t feel as though you are restricting yourself, EVER”.
“It is so easy to go to the gym and walk out feeling disheartened because you feel like someone looks stronger than you. You might find yourself thinking, “I’ll never get there!”. But you need to remember that everyone has to start somewhere – it’s no good comparing yourself to someone when you have no idea where they are on their fitness journey. And for all you know, someone else may be looking at YOU in admiration and thinking the same thing! Try to focus on what you’re doing and set targets to get better at your own pace, according to your own goals”.
“To become stronger you need to be consistently lifting heavier than you are used to. This isn’t a quick process and consistency is really important when it comes to strength training. A common mistake is to go out and lift as much as possible. Instead you should be looking at how much you can lift while keeping your form and technique as close to perfect as possible. This will help reduce the chances of injury while engaging the correct muscles through each exercise.
“Throughout this process, it’s super important to listen to your body – if you don’t feel tired at the end of a set, chances are it’s because you need to up your weights. Don’t worry though, your PT will also guide you and identify the right moment to pick up the heavier weights”.
“Whatever your fitness goals are, having social support is hugely important! Make those around you aware of your goal and set out clearly what you are trying to achieve, why and how you intend to do this. People will respect what you are doing, won’t try to tempt you with things that will knock you off the rails and will support you on your journey
“A second tip is to work with a PT – when there is a financial commitment to your health, the odds of achieving it increase dramatically! Hire a trainer, commit, respect their cancellation policy and turn up. It’s a simple way of ensuring it happens no matter what the excuses you have on days where you feel you really can’t be bothered! You will almost always come out the other side feeling a damn sight better!
“You could also train with a friend! Not only are you 50% accountable for turning up, you can support each other, track progress together and push through difficult times by supporting each other both mentally and physically.”
“When it comes to nutrition and fitness, it’s all about building positive habits and being aware of existing habits that may be setting you back. I find the best way to do this is to write a food diary to drive awareness and highlight areas to improve.
“It’s also a great idea to list the time that you consume foods/drinks in order to add a deeper level of analysis. For example if you notice you are reaching for the chocolate / bag of crisps at 9.00PM when you have had dinner and finally relaxed in front of the TV – by being aware of this you could decide to change crisps or chocolate for a healthier alternative OR switch what you decide to do at 9.00PM – perhaps read a book, go to bed early, or go for a pre-bedtime walk around the block.
“99% of the things we do daily are habit – both good and bad. There is a lot of value in recognising what these are so you can make decisions to make the desired changes.”
Hope these tips help! And if you need ANY support when it comes to smashing your 2019 goals, whether it’s to do with your workouts, nutrition or staying active at work, don’t hesitate to chat to one of the team. We are all here to support you and love watching you get stronger and fitter. See you in the studio soon!