We think it’s fair to say that, for the majority of Brits over the past 18 months, our dedication to keeping fit has come in waves. In fact, the global pandemic seemed to bring about several distinct phases of fitness motivation, each more fervent than the last and all of them feeling a little silly now.
There was that time Joe Wicks became a quasi-religious figure, with the nation hopping, squatting and crunching to his every command each morning.
Or how about that period deep into the first lockdown, when home exercise equipment became more elusive than flour and toilet roll? Hey, some even resorted to using all that flour that they’d hoarded to do their bicep curls.
And who could forget the part when exercise was the only chance you were allowed outside, and you’d don your running shoes to go drink some cans in the park. Not to forget the outward bound, hiking phase, when suddenly long walks became every Brit’s favourite pastime.
Heady days, indeed, but we’re glad that’s all behind us now. What is striking about recalling those times (admittedly cliched as they were) is that without the usual distractions of the big wide world, the motivation to exercise was felt with clarity and precision.
Conversely, now that restrictions have lifted and gyms are fully open again, many have found that motivation wanting, with summer’s distractions turning heads in favour of drinking, socialising and living in the moment.
If you’re keen to get back into your exercise groove as autumn descends, then you’ve come to the right place; here’s how to stay focused and consistent with your fitness goals.
FIND YOUR UNIQUE MOTIVATION
If you want to build a solid fitness routine for the autumn, the first thing you should do is find your own unique motivation. Perhaps you’re keen to stay healthy since you’ve just become a parent? Then picture the little one when you’re tempted to quit 4 kilometres into a 5k run. Maybe you’ve vowed to get stacked to impress your new neighbour, who you find rather attractive? Picture them when you’re struggling under the weight of your final rep on the bench press?
Or, maybe you’re doing this purely for yourself and your own self-esteem. Focus on how much more uplifted you feel after a workout as an incentive to keep pushing. To stay focused and consistent with your fitness goals, you need to find your own, unique motivation.
MAKE YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE
Sometimes, the road to achieving your fitness goals can be a long and lonely one, and feeling like you’re doing things on your own can seriously hinder workout motivation.
Disappointment can come from not seeing results in the arbitrary timeframe you’ve put on yourself, so why not delegate some of the accountability involved in your fitness journey to someone else?
It’s prudent to enlist like-minded people who have similar fitness goals and driving forces to help offer encouragement and incentive along your journey. There will be days when the sofa seems more appealing than the treadmill, but peer pressure can be one hell of a motivator when it comes to exercise.
If you struggle to get the results you want, getting in touch with a personal trainer might be a good idea, too, adding another layer of accountability to your fitness journey. There will always be days when you feel like skipping your training session, but having a personal trainer can help you get through those moments without abandoning your routine.
And if you’re keen to continue those home workouts instead of going to the gym, you can easily find a mobile personal trainer, too.
CHANGE YOUR ENVIRONMENT
One of the reasons you might not be able to develop a fitness routine that you can stick to is that you’ve become complacent in your current regime or environment. Though routine and structure is, of course, integral to hitting your fitness goals, complacency and contentment can sometimes hinder proper progress.
As such, it might be worth considering switching gyms, exercising in the morning instead of the evening, switching up your routine to incorporate more cardio, or joining a group class instead of always exercising solo. Small changes such as this can keep things interesting and, ultimately, provide the motivation you need to hit your goals.
A sense of boredom can be hugely detrimental to a successful exercise program, and it’s vital that you keep your workouts fun and surprising to ward off any temptation to coast. To help with that, check out these tips on how to make fitness fun.
DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS
One of the most common problems people face when trying to improve their fitness levels is comparing themselves to others. This type of thinking can only make you feel like a failure, as there will always be people better than you at something. Remember that nobody is perfect, all bodies are different, and Instagram very rarely tells the full story.
Don’t judge yourself based on how other people look and perform because you will only get discouraged, and it will never lead you to success. Instead, focus on becoming a better version of yourself.
THE BOTTOM LINE
When it comes to embarking on a fitness journey, the people who have the most success are the ones who started small.
Cumulative, manageable change is so much more sustainable than trying to do too much, too soon. Doing so will only risk injury, embarrassment or demotivation. Instead, make small, incremental changes to your routine, and build focus and consistency in everything that you do. Success in reaching your fitness goals will naturally follow. Good luck.