How to drop a squat when you've dropped the ball: our top tips to restore motivation | UQ Sport
So you’ve taken a few days off from your sunrise sprints, heavy lifting and #HealthyEating goals. It can be hard to revert back to wholesome routines when you’re fresh off the holiday high, and the only cardio you’ve done all week involved a chocolate egg hunt.
We all know breaking a sweat at the gym is good for you, but what do you do when your workout motivation plateaus – or downright plummets? Unfortunately dreaming of that six-pack won’t have you waking up with washboard abs – but it’s important to remember that a weekend of indulgence won’t undo weeks of hard work either.
If you’ve got 99 problems, and the soul-crushing guilt when you’re down to the ankles of your third Lindt bunny is one, check out our top tips for getting back on the gym bunny bandwagon.
GIVE YOURSELF A REAL REWARD
And no, we’re not talking about chocolate. Quit reaching for the crème eggs and instead reward yourself with a tangible prize that’ll have you chirping like a chick. For instance, if you smash four workouts this week as planned, why not treat yourself to those yoga tights you’ve been eyeing off?
Your brain loves being rewarded – after all, who doesn’t love a prize for a job well done? When your brain is rewarded, it releases dopamine - the pleasurable feelings that give us positive reinforcement, and encouragement to repeat the behaviour. Soon, it won’t be so hard to get out of bed, as your brain will begin to associate sweat and pain with the feel-good endorphins that comes with a reward.
WHAT’S HOLDING YOU BACK?
Positive thinking will only get you so far. Visualising kicking off the bed sheets and slipping on your running shorts will not get you hitting the pavement as fast as delving into what is holding you back. Really think about what is making you dread going for that workout – is it time constraints? Fatigue? Now work on a solution. If a morning sun salutation isn’t working, try an evening workout, or if you can barely keep your eyes open, try slicing up a banana on a piece of toast for an energy boost.
EMBRACE YOUR INNER MILLENNIAL
Be that guy. The one that stops in the middle of the running trail to snap the perfect shot to up his Instagram game. When you’re dreading your run more than you dread doing your taxes, pick a scenic route and allow yourself to stop and take as many pictures as you like. You’ll most likely run out of phone battery, and be forced to run home for a charger anyway!
PHONE A FRIEND
Two’s a party, so buddy up with a workout partner! They’re your own personal cheer squad and fitness coach bundled into one. Meeting chums at the gym will make you excited for a social hang out, to catch up on the goss while smashing it on the elliptical, and taking the challenge out of the hardest part of your workout – getting to the gym in the first place.
If your pals aren’t fitness fanatics, try Group Fitness for added accountability. The energy in a Group Fitness room is contagious, and you never want to be the person who quits and leaves early.
MICRO-MANAGE YOUR MICRO-CHALLENGE
‘Lose ten kilos’ is a pretty intimidating goal. You’ll likely burn out after a week of hardio-cardio, and feel disheartened when the kilos don’t just slide off. By breaking your goal into manageable, bite-size chunks, they’ll be more attainable, and you’ll have a greater sense of purpose when you step into the weights room.
Even break your workouts down into goals – if you’re three minutes into a stair climb, push yourself to five minutes. Close to reaching 500 steps? That’s your next marker. Similar to ticking things off your to-do list, conquering a bunch of smaller goals will release feel-good chemicals in the body. Keep finding small goals you can smash in each workout to ride the endorphin high.
REMEMBER WHY YOU STARTED
Ah, that old chestnut. We may be sounding like a broken record, but it’s by far the most effective motivator. Ask yourself – will you regret not getting up from the couch and pushing yourself to the gym? Do you really want to start from the beginning again, because you can’t be bothered?
No matter how you get there, there’s no beating the ‘wow’ factor when you realise your body can achieve what you once only dreamed. Remember – you are limitless. Your body is a machine, it’s your mind you have to convince. So slip on your active wear, press play on a killer workout playlist and conquer your next workout!