Plenty of people get excited when they’re about to start a workout program. But it is possible to abandon it before seeing the results. I teach you how to keep up the challenge.
Doesn’t matter if it’s running to lose weight, weightlifting to build muscle, or endurance training for stamina — whatever their goal is, they’re usually very excited (not to mention motivated) during those first few workouts. They buy workout clothes, special shoes, weights, even a new iPod.
They make a drastic change to their diet and decide that they’re only going to eat X-amount of food everyday and commit to it like their life depended on it.
It’s good for the first week or two, maybe even three. But after that, their excitement and motivation just starts to wane down. Suddenly, there just isn’t a desire to workout on that day. Either the weather’s bad, there’s a really good television program on, got caught up in work, etc. It’s fine, they say, they’ll just make up for it tomorrow.
But then tomorrow never comes, and it just keeps getting pushed back further and further. Until before you know it, they’re back to their couch potato habits and putting all sorts of junk in their body.
I know this because I was one of these people. It took me years and years to get off my ass and make a permanent change to my lifestyle.
Hopefully, these three little tips will help you do the same:
#1: Push Yourself, But Don’t Push Too Hard
In my opinion, this is the #1 reason why people start a running regimen to lose weight, then fall out by the second or third week (if not the first). Simply speaking, they try to do too much too soon. They push themselves to the brink, and eventually fall off the cliff and never get back on track again.
While some people get a high off pushing themselves nearly to death every workout, it takes an intense amount of mind power, testosterone, tolerance to adrenaline and a little insanity to keep doing this day in, day out. Not to say that it’s a bad thing, but what if you’re just not one of those people?
If you look back at the previous times that you tried to follow a workout regiment and find that this is one of your problems for not sticking with a workout, then here’s a simple solution: aim to push yourself just a little bit past your comfort zone, and nothing more.
Bit by bit does the trick. If doing nothing is 0%, you’ll find yourself much closer to your goals if you push yourself to 10% everyday than to push yourself to 80% once and then tucking away your running shoes for the next 365 days.
#2: Reward Yourself
I love it whenever someone says, “I just don’t have the time to workout” then spend hours on the couch at the end of the day watching TV.
Fact: everybody has the same 24 hours in a day, and it’s all up to you to decide how to use it. If you watch a lot of TV (I personally cannot be torn away from Entourage, CSI, Family Guy and Friends reruns) then use that as a reward when you do workout instead of an excuse not to.
Most people have the technology to record television programs anyway. Record your favorite shows, and discipline yourself to only watch those episodes if and only if you complete a run today.
#3: Measure Your Results
Nothing can be more demotivating than putting in all this hard work and not seeing results. It could even make you think that you’re a little bit crazy if nobody else comments on how much slimmer you’ve gotten.
This is the reason why I log as much data as I can. The best motivation to keep working out is when you actually do see positive results of your hard work. I have a journal where I log everything from my starting weight, body fat percentage, actual time spent running vs. walking, distance, and intensity.
Whenever I don’t forget to, I actually take pictures so I actually have visual proof of what I used to look like a week ago, 4 weeks ago, 8 weeks ago, and so on and so forth.
That way, even if nobody seems to notice your progress (yet!), at least you know that you’re going crazy. If you stick to the program long enough, however, people WILL start noticing — and honestly, that is one of the best feelings in the world.
Good luck with your running, and I’d love to hear whatever progress you make!