Pro-level athletes are not more motivated than you are.
Olympic athletes don’t just “want it more.”
The best CrossFitters in your gym has the same struggles with motivation that you do.
The difference? They know how to get motivated (and what to do when they don’t feel motivated at all).
Ask anyone at the highest levels of fitness: Sometimes they don’t feel like working out. And those folks with ripped abs? They want a slice of cake.
So why do they work out anyway? Why do they stick to their meal plan when things get tough?
Here’s how to do it—and the great news is that you can use the SAME strategy they do.
Get a coach
You need to be accountable to an objective third party. Your wife will let you off the hook. Your coworkers don’t actually want you to succeed. And your friends don’t want you to change at all. You need someone who has been through this and can help guide you through the roadblocks. Training partners are helpful, but they are going to be susceptible to distractions and “off days” like you.
You need someone to:
Remove the guesswork
Get you results FAST (you’ll see why in the next step)
Hold you accountable. You can “ghost” someone over text, but you can’t miss appointments.
Provide a “pain” for failure. That means you have to pay for coaching. If you don’t, there’s no real penalty for failure … and you’ll backslide.
Be able to help you when things are going like you think they should be.
Get a really fast result
Our brains are wired to reward quick wins and novelty. If we don’t see results quickly, we lose motivation.
It’s key for someone to say, “You did really well at X”. Apps like Strava and Garmin Connect are great at giving you little rewards when you accomplish something for the first time. When I first started running, I went for every challenge Strava had. Marginal gains lead to big results. So even if your result is tiny, it’s one step further towards your main goal.
Set a short term challenge for yourself but…
have a plan for after the challenge ends.
A six-week sprint is great for motivating yourself. But most people drop off the edge when it ends, and many actually wind up worse than ever. In my experience, people who do short-term diets (like intermittent fasting or keto diets) usually gain back the weight they lost and far more. The unsustainable nature of the diet, plus the long-term damage to their metabolism, actually leaves them less healthy.
The Plan for after the challenge is the key. For newer members we have an on-ramp that lasts for 8 weeks. The goal is to keep you consistent after you finish the initial phase. That is the ultimate goal of the on-ramp and nutrition kickstart programs we offer.
You can do these things; don’t get me wrong. Do the short term diet or challenge if that’s what it takes. But have the second step all lined up and ready to go before you take the first.
Again, a coach can build this plan for you.
It will eventually become a habit
It won’t always be hard to go to the gym, or shop for groceries, or prep your meals. It WILL get easier, but only if you keep the habit going. Usually it takes around 90 days for our behaviors to become habits and then a few more months for our habits to become “just what we do.”
Track your workouts. (Wodify, Strava can log your workouts)
Note your personal bests. (Also Wodify and Strava will tell you when you’ve hit a PR)
Track your food intake. (MyFitnessPal or a journal)
Note your wins. (Screenshot and post to Instagram or FB)
Track your sleep.
Note how they all tie together.
If I sleep less, I want more caffeine. When I drink more caffeine, I want more sugar.
When I eat more sugar, I lose motivation to work out. When I don’t work out, I get more stressed. And when I get more stressed, I sleep less.
Then I get dumber, fatter and sad.
(That’s just me…but I know some of you can relate.)
Use your tools to build your routine
For example, instead of just putting today’s food in MyFitnessPal before bed, enter all of your meals in MyFitnessPal in advance. Then add or subtract carbs, fats and protein to make your macros, and voila – you have a food plan for the next day! Here we use Wodify, so go ahead and reserve or log into the class you plan to attend.
Trust me, it’s much better than being hungry and trying to figure out what restaurant has the meal that should fit into your goals… Uh, at least that’s what my friend tells me …
Check your progress
Look, you’re not going to have a personal best on every workout. But that matters zero percent. What really matters is consistency. People who show up every day, even if they put out 50% of their best effort, get better results than people who crush it once a week.
The people who “sprint and crash” usually get amazing results, and then they get fat again. Or they get strong, and then they get injured. The people who just show up for their appointments get strong, lean and happy for life.
I want you to know this: The days when you feel the LEAST motivation are the days you’ll get the BEST results.
Consistent, imperfect action always wins.
Inspiration provided by Chris Cooper at Catalystgym.com.