Well, it’s the beginning of the New Year and you are asking yourself what kind of shape can I get into for 2017. You are asking yourself if you are going to go through the same yo-yo effect you have gone through since you started working out. How do you stay motivated and focused enough to take your fitness to the next level? Well, I’m here to give you a couple of pointers and tips on how to keep yourself motivated this year. I will discuss how I keep myself motivated and how I keep my clients motivated and constantly striving for self-improvement.
The first thing you need to tell yourself is that it takes time and a lot of effort on your part. You need to have it made up in your mind that you are seriously ready to get in shape this year. If you think you can do a little bit and get halfway there, it’s not going to work. You need to put 100% effort into achieving the fitness goals you decide to set for yourself.
I first tell my clients to set a goal, whether it’s a percentage of bodyfat or a waistline measurement. I believe you have to set a goal for yourself, otherwise it will never work. Unfortunately, it takes a little more effort than just saying “I’m going to get into shape this year.” Once you have a goal set, you need to have someone available to take your measurements every two weeks. Many of my clients are initially shocked when I tell them this, but I explain that by taking their measurements every two weeks it holds them accountable for their actions. It is also important to have both, bodyfat and girth measurements taken. This will determine your gain in lean muscle mass compared to your bodyfat loss.
You need to realize that anyone can lose weight and look good. You simply need to commit yourself 100% and it will be a successful year! Sure genetics play a part in it, but don’t use that as an excuse to stay fat and lazy. You can do it, if you set your mind to it. In fact, one tactic that I teach my clients is to tell as many friends as possible about how much weight or percentage of bodyfat they plan to lose. The more positive reinforcement that they get from their friends- the better their chances of success. Why? The reason is quite simple. True friends will tend to watch out for each other and provide a strong support group. They will always hold you accountable for your eating habits; they will ask you how your program is coming along and they will begin to (in a sense) cheer you on. Everyone just seems to get caught up in the positive energy that’s being created- take it from me, I see it everyday!
Your goals can be as simple as looking good in a business suit or looking good on the beach. The point is you need to take baby steps when it comes to fitness. You cannot expect to look like a professional fitness model in a couple of months. You need to realize that those people in the magazines have been working out for many, many years. They have muscle maturity on their side and their bodies have become accustom to the fitness lifestyle. So, when you setting your goals- take it one step at a time and it will happen for you!
I also preach to my clients that there is a three-step process to speeding up the fitness process. I call it the “Fitness Triangle”, it consists of cardiovascular exercise, proper nutrition, and resistance training. By doing all three of these in conjunction with one another you will definitely speed up your goal aspirations. Unfortunately, if you only chose to do one or two of the three, it will only hinder your progress- possibly even completely sabotaging your entire plan. So, as I explain to my clients- don’t be foolish and waist your time trying to “reinvent the wheel”! The ones who do are, unfortunately, the same ones who year after year never quite make it to their goals.
Something else that will keep you a little more motivated is a personal trainer. If they do not keep you motivated and aren’t always checking in on how you are doing, you need to get a new one. Our job not only encompasses resistance training, but it also requires us to be a good coach and motivator as well. A trainer should also help you with your diet program and your cardiovascular exercise. They should be able to prescribe a solid and complete program based on the goals you set together. I advise having your trainer keep a copy of your goals in addition to you keeping a copy of them on your refrigerator as a constant reminder and motivational tool. It is important to note that your measurements should be consistently going down. If they are not, your program needs to be adjusted accordingly and your trainer should be able to help you with that. In my opinion this is one of the most important factors in hiring and keeping a personal trainer.
Another motivational tool I have used to keep my clients on track is taking pictures of their progress. I personally use this tool as well. All you have to do is ask a good friend to take pictures of you from the front and the back wearing something that doesn’t cover the body too much (Remember, the purpose of the pictures is to capture your physical changes.). This can be a huge motivator, especially as you start comparing it to some of the older, more out of shape pictures. I cannot explain how gratifying it is so actually see your body change from one image to the next!
You can also stay motivated by entering one of these before and after competitions for cash and prizes. The idea of simply feeling and looking better isn’t enough for some individuals, so having cold, hard cash and prizes is what it’s going to take to get them to step up to the plate. I actually advise my clients to look through the magazines at the hundreds of other overweight people who have totally changed their physiques. I tell them “if they can do it, you surely can too!”
Another technique that I suggest to my clients is to schedule a professional photo shoot. The idea is to pay for the photo shoot in advance, which only helps to reinforce your commitment to your goal. By doing this, you will be driven to look the best you can in three months (or whatever time frame you give yourself). One of my own motivators is the ability to be photo shoot ready within two weeks. For example, this one company out of L.A. requires that I “maintain” a certain condition at all times. If I don’t, I can possibly lose jobs and future connections. I have no other choice but to stay in shape.
One other alternative is to sign up for an amateur bodybuilding or fitness competition. This is a great motivator when you know you will be judged on stage by not only a panel of judges, but the entire audience as well. I personally use this as my primary year-round motivational tool due to the fact that I’m a competitive, national level, drug-free bodybuilder. I usually do one or two shows a year, which keeps me striving to consistently improve my physique each and every year.
One last thing I would like to stress is that you need to realize everyone is human and that if you “cheat” on, or “fall off” your diet it’s okay. Just don’t use this as an excuse to blow all the progress you have achieved so far. In my opinion you need to give yourself certain “celebration” meals; however, make sure they are planned into your program, limiting them to only certain times during the week. It is important to realize though, that in order for you to succeed you must adhere to a schedule. “Celebration” meals are a normal part of everyone’s progress and without them one will surely fail. It’s vital that you reward yourself for all of the hard work and effort you put towards your fitness goals. This will help you stay sane (I can surely attest to that).
I certainly hope this article gives you a little boost of motivation and guidance for this upcoming year. The above mentioned tips and pointers are the exact ones that use on a day to day, month to month and year to year basis with both my clients and myself.
I do believe that they will give you some good ideas how to get started this year on the road to success. Good Luck and stay motivated…and by all means,“get fit and stay fit!”