Saturday, 12 November 2016

Motivation is what gets you started...but what keeps you going?

One question that I often get asked is ‘how can you be bothered?’ when I’m going to train yet again or I often get the comment ‘I wish I had your motivation’. I’ve learned to just smile and go along with it when yet another person will say the same thing to me. But the reality is I’m not always motivated and I can’t always be bothered.
I don’t always bounce out of bed at 05:45 to go to Bootcamp and I can’t always be bothered going to train after a long day at work. These things are slightly easier now in off-season but on competition prep when my body is depleted and I’m on reduced calories these things are HARD. My motivation isn’t exactly through the roof either when during prep people at work would be tucking into cakes and chips at fuddles and I’m there sat eating my cod and broccoli.
The reality is that when my alarm goes off at some crazy early hour to go train, I’m laid warm in bed, it’s cold outside, I have a big day at work ahead of me and my eyes struggle to open. It would be the easiest thing in the world to hit that snooze button for another hour and skip my workout but I drag myself out of bed, pour myself a coffee, throw on some clothes and get out of the door to the gym before my brain has chance to process what’s happening and form any sort of protest.
So what keeps me going? What makes me resist that extra slice of cake? And what makes me go to the gym 6 days a week?
Discipline. It’s as simple as that. And for anyone on a health and fitness journey that’s one thing you have to learn…and quick. Because the motivation of the goals you’ve set yourself won’t always be at its optimum on a daily basis, especially when the going gets tough and you have hard days. The only way you will achieve it is through discipline.
Motivation helps when you have an end goal to focus on but that’s a general motivation that won’t always be there at 6am in a morning or when you leave the office headed for the gym.
You have to learn how to stay on track and what’s needed to hit your goals. It doesn’t mean living a completely restricted life (unless you are on a competition prep and then yes it does because you can sadly kiss goodbye to any lifestyle flexibility) but it does mean that you have to learn how to say no sometimes and how to make yourself do things you don’t always want to do.
If you want to lose a stone in weight before a holiday, giving into the vending machine every day won’t help you. And when that mid-afternoon slump hits and you just want a bar of chocolate it’s tempting to think ‘oh just the one, it won’t hurt’ but that will just move you further away from your goals. And it’s the same with going to the gym or any type of keep fit, you won’t always want to go. But that fat certainly aint gonna shift itself.
I’m not 100% disciplined all of the time as at the moment I’m on off-season which means I can have a little more flexibility in my approach so if I want a packet of crisps I can have one…but not every day so there’s still an element of being disciplined but within realistic realms.
Becoming disciplined takes some practice and along the way I’ve found a few things that help me to do that. Structure and routine is the key for me. Without a real structure to your life it’s hard to stay on track as there’s a lot of room for slippage. I am a real routine person so for me that always works best for me but especially when I’m on competition prep.
My weeks would be meticulously planned out to a tee. On the Sunday ahead of a busy week I would know what each of my meals looked like for each day (it wasn’t hard to remember though given that it consisted mainly of cod, cod and more cod. Oh and a few veggies). I’d know what time my alarm would need to be set for each morning to allow for my cardio before my working day. I’d know what body part I was training each evening and I’d know that my gym routine after work would consist of 1 hour weight training, 20 minutes cardio and 15 minutes posing practice. My life was like a military operation and of course it’s not great to have to live that way all of the time; and sometimes it’s not possible with other commitments but when you have such strict goals you’re discipline must match those goals.
I can honestly say that during prep I would not flinch if a slice of cake was put right in front of me (I might drool a little perhaps). There was not a single cell in my brain that would consider having that. It was purely not an option. Now bodybuilding is something that requires the utmost discipline at all times on prep, without fail. For most of you out there whose goals are within normal parameters i.e. losing a bit of extra fat or training for a 10k run for example, you won’t need to exercise the same level of discipline as what’s required to compete on stage, however if you can’t discipline yourself you won’t hit your goals, it’s as simple as that.
So next time you’re struggling for that motivation, remember that’s normal. But also remember to dig deep and find that discipline to do what you need to do. No one’s going to do it for you and no one’s going to be more disappointed than you if you give in and don’t hit those goals.

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