Following through with your workout can be one of the hardest parts of committing to a better body. Sometimes all you need is the right approach. My top 5 tips will help you get to the gym on time, settle into your workout and have you feeling incredible when you’re finished.
1. Visualize your end result
You probably hear it all the time; “start with the end in mind.” That’s because it’s very helpful to do so when you’re moving toward a goal. It’s super-easy to forget the reasons we do things—especially things that require courage, determination and commitment. However, by consciously visualizing the end result in your mind—perhaps a lean body, incredible stamina, huge muscles or simply to be noticed by the opposite sex—you create new neural pathways that link your task (working out) with your end result (satisfaction). The more you do this, the stronger the neural pathways become… so ensure you do this before every workout.
2. Give yourself only one outcome
Now that you’ve visualized the end result, it’s time to get real. There’s only one way that you’re going to reach your lean body, incredible stamina, huge muscles or being noticed by the opposite sex. Yep, you guessed it; it’s by taking action and getting your butt moving.
There really is no other way, unless you’re reading this in the future and body transplants are common practice.
So agree with me and yourself on this, that there is in fact only one outcome you can give yourself if you want a better body. Imagine every other option you thought you had, is now gone. No eating. No extra sleep. No working longer hours. If you want that body, either take the one option which is to get your butt moving or concede that you just don’t want a it enough. After all, why else wouldn’t you take action?
3. Inspire yourself
Once you know that there’s only one outcome, then it’s time to massively inspire yourself. Don’t get me wrong, having only one option means you are absolutely going to work out, but there’s a difference between working out at 50% and working out at 80–95%.
When I want to get inspired, I usually fire up YouTube and watch a few videos of Arnold in that old movie ‘Pumping Iron’ from the late 70’s. I find Arnold’s physique from that era astonishing, and although I don’t want to be as big as Arnold, to see him working out with such drive and intensity has a positive impact on me as I’m watching, raring me up for my impending workout.
So it may be a YouTube video, or a song you’ve always associated with success or taking action, or checking the Facebook page of your favorite bodybuilder. Whatever it takes to get you inspired and motivated, you must do this in order to have your best workout possible. Don’t leave this out—it’s important to get from that 50% to 80–95%.
So you’re at the gym. You’re about to start but you can’t get it out of your head that this first set is going to be so uncomfortable. It’s going to take a lot of energy and “I’ll get that red face and heat rush I always do” in the middle of it. Plus the air conditioning isn’t on and it’s stuffy. “Am I really going to be able to lift this as well as I lifted it last time?”
Let’s face it; the first set is just a warmup set. It’s OK to feel uncomfortable. In fact, the first set warms up our muscle group and gets our body prepped for the next. It’s a necessary step to going through the rest of the workout as smoothly as possible. And when you think of it like that, it really is just a small hump to an almost rolling hill after that.
Instead of worrying about how it’s all going to turn out, I’ve found that my personal successes come most frequently when I’m completely focused on the actual movement of the exercise. So instead of having my mind elsewhere, I just focus like a laser on the exercise; I feel the weight pull on my muscle and I breathe in and out with the extension and contraction. I monitor my body and attach no judgement of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ to how it feels through it. If there’s discomfort, then that’s OK with me. It’s just a necessary step in my quest to improve my body. Simple. Doing it this way makes the workout so much more manageable that you can end up wondering why you didn’t do it in the first place.
5. Recognize your success
After the workout, if you did your best and broke a sweat—more so if you passed a plateau or did the workout in a quicker time—then you would do well to pat yourself on the back.
Congratulating ourselves is something we don’t often do. We usually leave it up to others to dish out the celebrations when we do something that we should be proud of. However, by recognizing our successes—no matter how big or small—we create momentum that takes us on a journey and reminds us that what we’re aiming for is achievable in small steps, and that each step of that journey can be pleasurable and mightily satisfying in and of itself.
Ways that I recognize my success are:
- I mentally note that I did what I set out to do and it was a much more pleasurable experience than I’d predicted it to be.
- I have something extra-nice to eat, such as a nice lean steak instead of diced chicken (mmm… everyone loves steak).
- I brag about it on Facebook (letting your friends know that you’re having success with your workouts not only further fuels your motivation but it also inspires others to do the same).
There’s a ton of different ways you could congratulate yourself but I’ll leave those up to you. Simply recognize that in doing so, you’re helping your own journey become a reality faster, and easier.