The day has finally come. You've decided that you want to start today. No more, "I'll start tomorrow", or, "On Monday, I'm going to start getting in the gym". You do well for the first week. Week two you stay on track and miss maybe a day or two. Week three instead of missing a day or two, you workout for only a day or two. By week four you're burnt out and back to old ways. Sound familiar? Don't worry, you're not alone.
I'm going to give you the 3 secrets that you need to know in order to stay on track not just for a couple of week, but for week after week after week.
Secret #1: Plan, Plan, Plan
Everyone has goals that they strive for in life. Do you know what the ones that accomplish their goals do that everyone else doesn't? They develop a plan of attack. They form a strategy, or a battle plan, that outlines what they need to do everyday.
This is so important! When you plan, you don't have to worry about what you're going to do that day in the gym, you already know! It's one less hurdle to jump! Here's my recommendation:
- Buy a journal and a pen. These will become your best buddies as you smash your goals!
- On Sunday evenings, write out each and every workout you're going to do for the week. Kind of like writing out your meal plan for the week. Don't spare any details.
- After you plan your week, you and your journal aren't done yet. Take your new best bud to the gym with you and track every single part of your workout. How many reps you did with how much weight, how far you ran and how long it took you, really anything that you do in the gym, write it down. Why? It's a way to hold yourself accountable and to track your progress! You'll be able to visually see how you are progressing in the gym. It's hard to see progression in real time but when you look back at your records you will be able to see how far you've come.
Secret #2: You Need Systems!
Systems? I'm sure you're thinking," What in the world is this guy talking about?". I promise it will make sense, just bear with me.
Think about the reasons you've decided to skip going to the gym.
- Your bed is too comfy that early in the morning.
- You don't know what to wear to the gym.
- You don't know what workout to do that day.
- You forget your gym bag with your workout attire.
I'm sure the list is almost endless, but do you know what can overrise all of these reasons? Systems.
Whether your schedule allows you to workout in the morning or evening, systems will ensure that you make it to that gym to get your work in. Here are some of the systems that I put in place if I know I'm working out in the morning:
- My workout is already planned out (see Secret #1) before I wake up so I don't have to worry about what I'm going to do.
- My phone is my alarm, so I set it across the room so that when that alarm goes off, it forces me to get out of bed and on my feet. That eliminates the bed being too comfy barrier.
- Next, I don't have to worry about getting my workout clothes and hydration essentials together because the night before I pick out my gym outfit and get my ice water into my GO Active bottle so that it's still cold in the morning (That's a good product plug, I know ;) ).
- Along with my workout essentials, I also make sure that my truck keys, snacks and headphones are all together and ready for me to grab and go.
For the days that I workout in the evening, I have similar systems in place.
- My workout is already planned so I don't have to worry about that one!
- Next I make sure that I get my gym bag packed up with everything I need and put into my car before I go to bed the night before. This is so I don't have to worry about getting it ready early in the morning before I go to work.
- A piggyback to reason to why you need your bag packed and already in your vehicle is so you can go straight to the gym after work. If you have to go home to get your bag, more than likely you'll find yourself staying at home because your mind associates home with relaxation. It will make it near impossible for you to get back into your car and at the gym.
Thinking is hard. Putting systems in place eliminates the need to think, it just allows you to do. Use your systems, do more, be more, live more.
Secret #3: Ready, Set, GO
After I finished my collegiate athletic career, I found it incredibly difficult to get motivated to go to the gym. For the past 20 years or so, I had something to train for. I had a reason to go the gym. I wanted to excel at what my job was at the time whether it was baseball, football or basketball. I had a why.
The why I was able to give myself after a long time of inactivity was races! I signed up for a half marathon and knew that I needed to start getting back in the gym if I had any hope to run 13.1 miles at one time! On my first day of training preparation, I ran a mile. I thought I was on my death bed. I knew I needed this in my life. I was challenged and I was motivated just like I was when I was training for sports!
So, secret #3 is sign up for races and events whether it be a 5k, 10k, 15k, half marathon, marathon, Iron Man, Spartan event or Tough Mudders. Sign up way before you even consider yourself half ready. This is the motivation that will wake you right up in the morning and makes sure that you're in the gym.
EVERYONE has some sort of competitive spirit or drive within them. Find yours and use that to fuel your workouts!