Motivation, preparation, dedication and perspiration are four of the most important words I can think of when I consider a health and fitness lifestyle. They cover many of the disciplines we must master to become a healthier fitter version of ourselves.
Motivation: I think it’s fair to say that motivation is one of the things that most people struggle with. Every morning as soon as my alarm goes off I get straight out of bed to start my morning cardio. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of things running around my head trying to convince me that it would be so much better to just stay in my nice warm bed, but I put those thoughts aside and remind myself what condition I want my body in. Keeping in mind a goal physique and some inspirational athletes is a great way to help push yourself to do the cardio, or the workout or whatever it might be. There is certainly something to be said for having a training partner, and knowing that they are trying just as hard if not harder than you. This sort of competition mind set can help motivate you to get up off your ass and do something. If you are lucky enough to have a training partner that’s great, but you have to remember and keep in mind. This is about you and what you want, not just about who you want to beat or impress. I encourage you to scour the internet for images of inspiration and to take mental pictures of them. The people who have pushed themselves already and have achieved great results and success were just like you once. They needed some mental push to make them get out of bed and start the day a better way.
Preparation: There is so much to say about preparation I’m not sure I have the scope in just one article. Preparation is key – I’m sure most of us have heard the phrase ‘Fail to prepare, Prepare to fail’. It’s not just a witty play on words, it’s very true in so many aspects of healthier living. How many people go to the gym and wander aimlessly from one machine to the next, not really sure of what they will work on. Quite often they end up at a machine simply because it became free as they were passing, not because they had planned to use it. Before going to the gym for your workout, sit down and work out exactly what you will be doing.
• What muscle group will you be working on?
• What exercises will you perform?
• How many sets will you perform and at what weight?
• How many reps will you aim for in each set?
Mentally go through each and every rep before you even set foot in the gym. Have it all done in your head so that it is a foregone conclusion. When you get to the gym, you’ve already performed this workout down to the letter in your head so you can spend less time thinking in the gym and more time working. Another key area where preparation is vital is of course nutrition. Whether you’re trying to lose fat or gain size (or both) you need to have your meals prepared beforehand where ever possible. Cooking up lots of meals can sound daunting, but it shouldn’t be. When you’re at home making your dinner tonight after reading this, don’t just make your dinner for tonight, make enough to freeze and have ready for tomorrow’s lunch or mid afternoon meal. It’s just as easy to cook four meals together or six as it is to cook one, so think smart and be ready so that you don’t just reach for a fast food solution tomorrow, or miss a meal altogether because you didn’t have one ready. Don’t forget to also carry snacks like almonds or homemade protein bars with you where ever you go so there will always be something healthy for you to dip into. There is a lot that has already been written on meal preparation and lots more I could say here, but the key point simply is – Be prepared!
Dedication: This is another thing that I’m sure many people find difficult. Of course we all start out on a new fitness lifestyle super dedicated and determined to change our life and our physique for the better, but sometimes it can be difficult to stay dedicated. Your body might not change as quickly as you’d like, but dedication and staying committed is what it takes to make the changes. Consistency is key. You can’t dip in and out of the gym or correct nutrition and expect amazing results so stay dedicated. And what do you do if you fall off the wagon and have that cheat meal? Do you tell yourself that today’s healthy eating has now gone out the window so you’ll start again tomorrow? No! You move on to your next meal exactly as you had planned. A bump in the track won’t derail your train, but if you purposefully take your train off the tracks altogether, you won’t get very far.
Perspiration: Finally perspiration, no one is going to do it for you. You’ve got to work at it and work hard. Achieving those washboard abs and beach body to die for isn’t easy. Everyone wants it, but not everyone is prepared to work for it. When it comes to your cardio, push through it, sweat is a good thing, keep that mental focus on the results. Don’t allow yourself to find excuses not to do it because you’re only cheating yourself out of the body you CAN have. And in the gym, leave everything on the gym floor. There is no point in showing up at the gym to do a half assed workout. Make every rep count and leave nothing in the tank.
Remember, when you finish your cardio, or your workout, you’ll never wish you hadn’t bothered, but if you skip them and don’t get the body you want, you’ll always wish you had.