Everyone experiences a lack of motivation with their health and fitness. Whether you are an athlete, a mother of 3 children, or a working professional, periods of demotivation are bound to set in with your health and fitness goals.
This applies to all things in life. Whether it be a relationship, your job, a career, or life in general, we will always go through times where putting in the effort and work just isn’t fun, and you feel like you’d rather be doing something else.
The key is to recognize that this cycle exists, but to avoid staying in it long term. Getting caught in this cycle of demotivation long term can lead you to revert back to where you once were, and having to start from scratch. At the same time, it is really important to recognize that you will never be 100 % motivated 100 % of the time to reach your goals. Expecting yourself to be is completely unrealistic, and will set you up for failure and disappointment. Sometimes you need to feel demotivated to give your body and your mind a break, and allow yourself to recharge and rejuvenate. However, the key is to ALWAYS get yourself back in the game as soon as you can.
Here are some great tips to help you move through periods of demotivation, and to ensure you are always staying the course:
1. Set and/or reevaluate your goals.
Constant growth is a basic human need. We need to feel like we are constantly growing and striving towards something big to feel stimulated, alive, and passionate in our life. Whether it be in a career, job, relationship, our education, health/fitness, etc.
Far too often people become demotivated because they don’t have something big to work towards. They have stopped growing. They have stopped pushing, challenging, furthering, and engaging themselves in something that creates excitement. Often times they don’t have a goal that creates the fire and passion necessary to get and keep focused and on track, especially when you “don’t feel” like it.
So set some goals that really fire you up, and create passion and excitement. Perhaps it may be time to re-evaluate your current health and fitness goals. Maybe you have already surpassed your goals, and its time for new ones. Or maybe the ones you have been working on, don’t light you up anymore and you need to set other ones to re-inspire you. Sometimes we need to recognize that maybe we have outgrown our goals, and are ready to move on to bigger and better ones
You wouldn’t want to be stuck back in high school would you? For most people, the answer is “of course not!”. And why is that? The answer is likely rooted in the fact that you have outgrown that period in your life. While that time was fun, and filled with great memories, it no longer serves in your development as a person. This why most people will move on to something that is more fun, engaging, and stimulating. Some people go right into the work world and find a career while others study at university, go to trade school, or go travel. Maybe it’s time to look at your health and fitness goals in the same light.
Either way, to get that passion and fire back, evaluating your goals is necessary. Ask yourself “Will this goal help me grow, and engage me in fun and challenging ways?”
Another thing to consider is declaring “why” that goal is important to you. Figure out why you want to achieve the goal you desire, and what that will bring you in your life. If your “why” is big enough, then nothing will ever stop you.
If you work with a trainer, or come to our Calgary Bootcamp, this may be the time for you to book in an initial consultation with us or another reassessment. Sometimes having a third party like a coach or trainer can really help in this process.
All Vitality Fitness members get an initial consultation and as many reassessments as they want.
2. Ensure you are always progressing.
Sometimes demotivation is rooted from stagnation, especially with your workouts and results. Lets face it, constant progress and results motivates everyone to succeed. Progress is never a linear process like people think though. There will be times where you won’t feel like you’re making any progress, not getting fitter, stronger, or losing weight. The key is to stay the course, and evaluate whether or not you are continuing working towards making progress with your workouts.
Think of when a baby starts to walk. Do they just stand up, and just start walking as soon as they learn how to crawl? Haha of course not. There is a process in between. The baby attempts to walk, but is met with a lot of falls, stumbles, running into furniture, etc.
While it appears that the child is stagnating, and not making progress, the exact opposite is happening. The falls, stumbles, and running into things is how the child does make its progress and learn how to improve.
Working out and fitness are no different.
Here are some tips to ensure you keep progressing with your workouts:
- Challenge yourself with more weight or added resistance. Increasing strength, much like progress, is never a linear process. The key is to be patient, and over time to start incorporating more weight into your exercises. Increasing strength is one of many ways to measure progress. Example: Lets say you are at our Calgary bootcamp and can deadlift 35lbs dumbbells for 3 sets and 10 reps. Keep doing this for the next 3-6 weeks, and then by week 4, try to incorporate 1 set with 40lbs and 2 sets with 35lbs. Alternatively, if this jump is too high, complete 8 reps with 40’s and finish your 1st set off with 35lbs. Then the next 2 sets would be completed with 35lbs dumbbells. Keep this pattern going until you are doing all of your sets with 40’s. Strength takes time to build, and is a slow process, especially the stronger and fitter you become.
- Increase tempo, or incorporate more difficult exercises or variations of exercises in your routine. You can challenge yourself with advanced variations of the movements you usually do by using a trx, power wheel, stability ball, kettlebells, and moving through different planes of motion. If you come to our Calgary Bootcamp, then trying out our advanced class would be great if you want to challenge yourself with these ideas. In this class, we work through many planes of motion, incorporate trx, kettlebell, stability, and advanced core and dumbbell work. Another option that will really challenge your muscles is you can continue lifting the same weight, but with a greater “time under tension”. This means you are lifting under more control, and with much more tempo. You will still be making progress, but just challenging your muscles in another way.
3. Take a break.
I know this may sound crazy for a lot of you, but often times the best thing you can do is to take a break from your fitness routine for a week or two when you are feeling demotivated. Taking a break means taking a complete break from exercise and doing nothing at all.
In fact I recommend all trainees take a break from training every 12-16 weeks, provided they have been training consistently during that time at least 3-5x/week.
Taking a break and doing nothing can recharge you mentally, and have you feeling re-motivated and refocused to tackle your goals again. Additionally, it gives your body a chance to repair and recover from all of the work you have put in. It is quite common to come back from a 1 week layoff, and to actually be stronger and fitter, due to the extra recovery time.
A great analogy to consider is a vacation. Why do people take vacation from their job, career, or life? The main purpose is to recharge their batteries, and come back feeling refreshed. You likely wouldn’t take work with you, and spend time on the beach on your cell phone or computer all day doing work related tasks, as you would never really have a “break”.
Working out and your body/mind work the same way. Experiencing both physical and mental fatigue can create a challenge in staying motivated, so often times one week off can be the best remedy.
When Michael Phelps won his 8 Gold medals after the London Olympics, he was instructed to take 3 months off from training, and do nothing. His trainer made this wise recommendation knowing that Michael needed the mental and physical recharge, after going through such rigorous training leading up to the Olympics.
If Michael had continued training he would have hit burn out in time, maybe would have gotten sick or injured, and would have DEFINITELY been demotivated with his training.
These are 3 tips that I know will help each and every one of you get back in game, and break through that cycle of lacking motivation. Don’t forget, that there will be times where motivation levels are going to be lower compared to others. Sometimes you just wont feel like putting that effort and work in. And that’s ok, The key is recognizing when this is happening, being okay with it, but putting in these strategies so this doesn’t become a long term thing.
Always hear to inspire and motivate you, David Macdonald and the Vitality Fitness Team.