The fitness transformation game is a marathon, not a sprint.
Q: Joe, I am writing to you in hopes you can provide some much-needed help. I, like many people, seem to say, every few months, “OK, I am going to get in the gym, and I am finally going to get back in shape.” I start going, eating healthy, cutting back on alcohol and after a few short weeks, I start missing more days in the gym. I find my workouts start to be extremely laborious and boring and eventually I quit. I hate feeling like a lazy bum who cannot stay committed. This has been a nasty repetitive cycle for the past six to seven years. Please help! You are the master of fitness intellect and motivation!
A: Have no fear, my friend; you are not lazy and certainly not a bum! You have the fire and desire to create change; you simply need a system of checks and balances – a plan to hold you accountable and keep you focused, and your eyes on the prize!
Here are five tips I think that will greatly help you overcome the commitment hurdle and keep you on track to your fitness and life-changing goals.
1. Find a workout partner! We all have plenty of friends or maybe even co-workers who want to get in shape but are most likely in the exact same situation as yourself. Talk up your buddies and see who is most motivated to get in the gym with you. Having a workout partner forces you to be accountable. We all have those days when we don’t feel like going to the gym after work, but if your buddy is already waiting, you simply cannot leave him hanging! I have found even with myself that having a workout partner gets me to show up on those Saturday mornings or Sunday evenings when I would much rather be out working on my horrendous golf game. There is nothing more embarrassing than walking into work and having some of your co-workers break your balls because your buddy already told them you wimped out missing another lift.
2. Find a written workout program! Going into the gym and just winging it is an exercise in futility. With social media, we have a wealth of free information right at our fingertips. I post free workouts on my social media pages every week. Screenshot them, take it to the gym, and you and your workout partner tackle it with everything you have. Then you can comment the next day on my posts about how much you hate me for that workout like everyone else does!
3. If variation is your key to longevity and success, then day-to-day repetitive duplication is your avenue to failure. What I am trying to say is, keep changing things up. Never do the same workout twice. Do a chest workout, and then the next week do it completely in reverse. Doing the same thing every day in the gym is just like eating the same foods day after day after day. Eventually, you are going to get bored, as you know, and fall off the wagon. Do not fall into the rut of the exact same training style like so many. Mix in a variety of concepts – from supersets, to giant sets or an entire workout of drop sets. Add in resistance bands, and superset push and pull muscle groups. Keep it new, keep it fresh, and keep your mind and body challenged with new workout hurdles each week!
4. Do not become the guy who is all gung-ho, all in, 100 percent committed, eating perfect and training every day. This will guarantee you will fail – trust me. It is too harsh a lifestyle change to do a complete 180. Set goals such as working out every other day. Or do two workouts during the week after work and then two workouts on the weekends when you are off. The same goes with nutrition – do not completely cut out all small indulgences. If you bust your ass in the gym, then, yes, go get a slice or two of pizza if you desire, or get some frozen yogurt. Put in the work and reward yourself for doing so, within moderation. Remember – the fitness transformation game is a marathon, not a sprint!
5. Create goals and make those goals public! Whether it is competing in a show, running a half marathon or whatever, set a clear goal on a concrete date! Then I want you to make that goal public. Tell friends, coworkers, family or a spouse. It is very easy to write down a goal in a notepad and then forget it a few weeks later. It is almost impossible to ignore that goal once you have made it public to your social circle. The fear of not living up to expectations to those around you will keep you focused and accountable.