Written by: Tamara Makar, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
We are almost in the middle of March – the New Year’s resolutions are only memories. Do you remember that passion and enthusiasm that you felt when you decided to change your lifestyle in the New Year? What happened to those promises, 'I will stick to my diet no matter what' or 'I will do my training every day.'
Lifestyle changes take time, and they don’t happen overnight. And when we are all hyped up and eager to start, we sometimes bite off more than we can chew. We start cutting the calories way too much because less calories = more weight loss, right? Start training – going to the gym every day, because let’s kick it off 100%, no half measures… And by February / March, we realize that it was just one step too far, and we don’t enjoy the process at all because it’s too hard. We can’t keep this going for long, it’s time to take a break, and we slowly get back to where we started from square 1.
It’s very difficult to keep the motivation going when the results stopped showing or if we feel it takes way too much out of us. So how can you keep your motivation when you feel like giving up? Training is too hard, you’re sore for days after that, and you’re constantly hungry! That cookie looks so inviting, too!
We have different motivators and different priorities. If keeping or becoming healthy was a life-threatening problem, you would keep it your #1 priority. However, when it is not that serious yet, we tend to push it back on the list because of the inconvenience it causes or the lack of discipline it takes.
So how can you keep your motivation when giving up seems so convenient?
1. Do what you like doing. Don’t try to force the gym if you don’t like it. The gym is not for everyone. If you don’t like working out with weights, chances are you’ll stop after a while because it doesn’t bring you a good feeling. Instead, try and do something active that you enjoy. Go for a walk or run, go swimming, go cycling, horse riding – you get the idea. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you enjoy that, and it keeps your health in check. We lose motivation very quickly when we do something we don’t enjoy. However, what we enjoy doing, we stick to. What is it that you like doing for your health?
2. Focus on only 1 thing at a time. We change far too many things at once in our lifestyle. New diet? Check. New workout? Check. It’s challenging to focus on so many changes at one time. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do the 2 together. Not at all. I’m trying to say that you cannot do a full-blown diet change and a new workout regime and try and keep it up every day. You have to do it gradually. That way, you will always have something to change, should the process become monotone or when the results slow down a bit. Only change one thing at a time. For example: Start with cutting down on sugar – may be in your tea or coffee, or drink less soft drinks. Or cutting fast food out for a week. No chocolate for 2 days. You get the idea, only 1 challenge at a time. And once that becomes part of your routine, look at the next thing on your list that needs to be reduced or cut out. It is the same procedure with your workouts, whether you can go to a gym or you have to do it at home. Don’t start working out every day; you’ll feel exhausted and sore because you won’t recover between your workouts. Start with 3 days a week for 2-3 weeks, and when your body adapted, increase it to 4 days a week, and so on.
3. Buddy up. It's very challenging to start a new workout routine or even to keep up with your training when the gyms are not open. I’ve seen this with my followers on social media: even people who are seriously into their workouts can slip and stop training because the gyms are shut. While I understand the psychological effects of working out in a gym – I’m a professional athlete, you remember? But I also understand the different motivators for different people and their goals. However, workouts are very good, not only to keep healthy and in shape but also to improve your mood and attitude – especially during these challenging times. You probably feel irritated, annoyed, perhaps anxious, and demotivated. Guess what? Working out can help with all of that! While it can be very uncertain when the gyms reopen in some countries, it shouldn’t be a factor that blocks YOUR health initiatives! It’s your body, and you’re in charge of it! I hear many times people say: I will start when the gyms reopen. Do you know what it is called? Procrastination. And usually, when people procrastinate, they never start. You can buddy up with a friend and start the workouts together at home (over zoom, maybe if you cannot meet) or even in a park. The weather is getting better, so get out and do something for your health! Working out with someone else makes you feel more accountable to turn up. You cannot let your buddy down, right? It creates a feeling of responsibility.
Absolute beginners can start with bodyweight exercises. More experienced people can do TRX or some band workouts – these are affordable accessories. I’m not saying these are going to be your best workouts, but at least you keep going on, and you might even enjoy it! Your body adapts to your training or diet within 2-3 weeks. If you have always been working out in a gym, doing some TRX work or band workouts will spice up your training: different angles, different resistance.
For any training or nutrition-related questions, online coaching, please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tamara Makar, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Tamara Makar is an IFBB pro female bodybuilder internationally known and recognized after competing at the highest level for many years. She has been in the fitness industry for over 25 years, helping people to achieve their fitness goals and desired physique. Tamara's passion and dedication will help those willing to change their lifestyle as well as mindset. With a huge hunger for achieving results, Tamara has been studying psychology (and specifically sport psychology) to combine her knowledge of fitness and nutrition with the knowledge of how people get motivated and how they can change their mindset to achieve their goals. She is a certified Personal Trainer and an Advanced Sports and Exercise Nutritionist and has worked with some of the best in the industry. Tamara is very much a people's person who thrives off working with people of all ages, backgrounds, and desired goals – from beginners to competing athletes. She is relentless in making sure everyone achieves their desired outcome!