Many days, I fight an uphill battle. Tormented by the numerous responsibilities that fill my plate as a wife, a mother of three busy kids, residing on the board of a non-profit organization and all the other projects I personally take on. It can only be anticipated I will struggle with motivation in the gym at some point, just as you likely have. When you additionally factor in the 23 years I’ve been weight training, the whopping 130 pounds I’ve gained and lost over the course of my three pregnancies and all of life’s other curveballs, there’s bound to be a few reasons I could’ve lost motivation in my workouts over the years.
There are plenty of days I’d like nothing more than to skip my training. We all have those days, but I make a choice to chip away at my goals because no one else will do it for me and because this whole health and wellness thing is really more of an inside job, if you haven’t already discovered that for yourself. I strive to work on the whole me from the inside out, because unless you set your sights on what you want, you will never have it. For me, this means setting short terms goals and outlining my means of achieving them. It starts with a vision and ends with me.
It is of utmost importance that I continue to work hard and challenge myself in new ways, otherwise I can be overcome with burnout and boredom just like anyone else. Ultimately, I recognize the example I am providing for our children and it is most fulfilling when I witness them make better choices because of it. For me, that is one of the most rewarding parts of my long-term dedication to a healthy lifestyle and something I’m proudest of.
Maintaining a balance, and one in which I still care for myself, is something I find not only healthy, but necessary. Putting off the things that make me feel whole and fulfilled only creates tension and resentment in other areas of my life. As someone that has also suffered from anxiety, I know better than to put myself last or to avoid my own personal needs. The outlets we utilize creatively and for stress release cannot be ignored, they are essential parts of what makes us tick.
I think it’s understandable, that if you’ve done the same thing for any extended period of time, you will become eventually become bored. You must make the effort to keep it fresh, but “How do I do that?” you may ask. For me, I have flip-flopped back and forth from isolation training, functional training, body-weight only workouts, Olympic lifting and combinations of some or all. I will completely take off 2 or 3 weeks over the course of the year to enjoy travel to the fullest and use the break as a reset to come back eager and ready to attack again. Otherwise, I seek a good sweat nearly daily, as I find it therapeutic to spend that time alone with myself. I also appreciate the benefits from a mental perspective.
Fitness should be fun if you are going to stick with it. Never be afraid to transition within your fitness, it needs to evolve just as you do and the thought that the same thing works for everyone is a complete fallacy. Over the past 23 years, I’ve learned so much about myself and my abilities. I’ve tweaked my training and techniques repeatedly to keep my body guessing and also because my personal goals have changed. No longer do I wish to maintain the amount of muscle I had as a figure competitor. It was no easy feat to add 8 pounds of muscle to my frame, nor was it to hold on to it. I prefer my current look, which I have maintained with relative ease, because it’s not extreme. I’ve learned that an anti-inflammatory diet with a weekly cheat meal or 2 works best for me and I follow an intermittent fasting protocol in which I fast for 16 hours a day and eat for 8. I perform fasted cardio 3-5 days per week, alternating between HIIT and steady state and I lift 3-6 times per week with more of a focus on lower body these days.
Because my goals have changed as I transitioned from a figure competitor to my current preference of a more streamlined physique, the need for different methods, techniques, styles of training, etc. was necessary. The peaks and valleys are inevitable, but identifying how you are feeling is the only way to change it. The best you is not a guilty pleasure, it is an essential human need and an amazing goal to set!
Here are 6 key points I run through when I’m feeling less than enthusiastic about my training. Try sitting down with a pen and paper and addressing these for yourself and see if you can find your mojo again!
Have my priorities shifted? It’s normal to fall out of whack, but returning to center is best established when you plan ahead and prioritize. I personally prefer to train in the morning, because far too many things happen over the course of the day and at least I know it’s done and I can check the box. So if you’re spending time on social media, indulging in binge watching your favorite television series, ask yourself, “Could my time be better spent doing something else?” Chances are, you’ll recognize an entire 30-60 minutes you’ve wasted when you could’ve fit in a great workout session and improved your overall health in the process!
Feeling at a standstill and not sure what to do? There are so many ways to shake things up and breathe new life into your training, but when goal setting, you must right it down. The practice of writing your goals down, holds you accountable and makes it more real. Following some of your favorite fitness personalities on social media can allow you to gain some insight into how they train and generate some creativity for your next workouts
Change your environment
A new environment can ignite more passion and excitement for your workouts. It’s a bit like rearranging your furniture or remodeling your home to make what’s old new again. Consider switching to a new gym or even just mixing it up a couple of days each week for a complete change of scenery.
Hire a trainer
Consider enlisting the assistance of a personal trainer. You may know what you are doing, but it is likely you haven’t pushed yourself to the max in quite some time. A professional trainer can aid with the knowledge to break up your program and identify weaknesses. In addition, it’s great to have someone holding you accountable, spotting you when needed and just being a great support system and encourager.
Train with a partner
Perhaps an accountability partner is in order! You can help motivate each other to push harder, run faster and crank out those extra few reps. We can all benefit from a little extra push, especially when we are feeling less than ecstatic about our workouts. Maybe your friend or partner is struggling too, so join forces and have fun together!
Lots of free or reasonably priced training programs available online, so if you are at a loss for ideas, this can really be a lifesaver! I am frequently asked about online training/coaching, so stay tuned at tiffanyleegaston.com.