Getting into a regular exercise routine can feel like a daunting task at times, despite the benefits of exercise for your body and mental health.
It is easy to make excuses or simply lack the motivation to exercise, even when you know its positive impact on your physical and mental well-being. While it is okay to be flexible with your training sessions, making overall healthy wellness habits should be a top priority for anyone wanting to better themselves both physically and mentally.
Mental blocks are one of the top reasons people lack the motivation to stick with an exercise program. Overcoming these mental blocks is key to regaining your motivation and sticking to a fitness routine, but also to help improve your workouts by pushing yourself to reap the physical and mental health benefits of exercising.
Below, we will discuss different ways to improve your motivation, things you should consider doing before working out, and ways to improve your workouts.
Preparing for Your Workout Leads to Natural Motivation
Preparing yourself for your workouts can help boost your motivation in the gym, leading to higher self-esteem in the long run.
There are many different ways to prepare yourself for your workouts, and they ultimately differ from person to person. Some people can easily just hit the gym for a HIIT session with little preparation, while others take more planning and visualization to help them prepare.
Your preparation also depends on your workout routine. Home workouts and general gym workouts often take a little more overall preparation as you must prepare your workouts, round up your equipment, and mentally prepare as well.
Other specialized gyms, such as a CrossFit gym, often have your workouts prepared for you. Your job is to show up and crush it. However, preparation is still needed mentally!
Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your workouts:
Start by setting weight loss or general fitness goals for yourself. Setting realistic and achievable goals is important because goals that are too ambitious can lead to frustration, ultimately causing you to give up.
Start with setting short-term goals and then progress into long-term goals. Setting goals will help prepare you mentally as it will motivate you to be successful in the gym.
Make It Fun
Don’t make your workouts boring. Preparing fun and challenging workouts will help you show up. Any physical activity is worth trying, whether it's a sport or a specific type of workout you like doing.
Visualize Your Success
Picture yourself hitting your one-max rep or going heavier on a lift.
Visualizing your performance, whether it’s through meditation, yoga, or other mental exercises can help you get the most out of your workout. One study even showed that those who visualized their performance before testing showed improvement in strength.
Create a Playlist
Recent studies suggest that playing music during an aerobic or strength training workout helps reduce fatigue, which can help you stay motivated and maximize your results.
Not only does it reduce the feeling of fatigue, but it can also improve motor function coordination and increase mental sharpness. Apps like Spotify or Pandora can help you create playlists that fit your workouts.
Get Into a Routine
Routines and building positive associations can help you stay focused and motivated. Think about the Pavlov Theory. Ivan Pavlov found that classical conditioning is learned through association.
Pavlov showed that dogs could be conditioned to salivate at the sound of a bell when sounded repeatedly at the same time they were given food.
Establishing a routine can be a key factor in your fitness success. So, establish a pre-routine that you can maintain daily. This might include listening to music that pumps you up while getting dressed for your workout or grabbing the well-organized gym bag that you packed specifically for your workout and then hitting the gym.
Find a Class Buddy
Having a friend or loved one that you can help hold each other is another great way to stay motivated. When you have someone you can work out with will help push you to get the max results from your workout.
For instance, attending CrossFit classes with a friend will help you show up to your workouts and motivate you to work harder.
Prepare Nutritionally Before and After
Nutrition plays a vital role in your workouts. Fueling your body with proper nutrition helps you build muscle and strength, which in return helps you push yourself during your workouts. Poor nutrition can lead to muscle fatigue and weakness.
Try to avoid working out on an empty stomach. Going into workouts under-fueled can lead to feeling weak. It is essential to find the right balance of proper foods as well as timing is key to maximizing your performance.
Post-workout nutrition is just as vital to your workout routine, as is pre-workout nutrition. What you eat after a workout helps refuel your body and helps repair muscle tissues. Capitalizing on the right combination of fats, protein, and carbs can help you get the best possible results from your workout and prepare you for the next workout.
How Do You Push Yourself While Working Out?
Below are some ways to push yourself during your workout to maximize your fitness results.
Staying hydrated will help push you through those tough last few reps. Think about how much you sweat when you work out. You need to replace the fluids you lose through sweating by drinking throughout your workout.
When things get tough or are hard, we naturally want to give up. However, we have to learn to go outside of our comfort zones to get the results we want. If you have fitness goals you want to achieve, the only way to maximize those results is to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Think about the “40% Rule” taught to Navy Seals. It’s the idea that when your mind is telling you you’re done, you are really only 40% done. This is an excellent motto to keep in mind because it will help you push yourself through uncomfortable points in your workouts. The next day, you’ll be glad you did those two extra sets of squats.
What Should You Do Before Working Out?
As mentioned above, routine is key, especially the pre-workout routine. Below are some other key factors that you should consider before working out.
Eat Some Calories
Fuel your body for your workout. This will help you push through your workout and help you get the most out of your workout.
Try Pre-Workout Supplements
Some avid gym goers like to use a pre-workout supplement prior to their cardiovascular or strength training workout. Pre-workout supplements come in either the form of pills or powders and are meant to be consumed about half an hour before exercise.
Pre-workouts are some of the best exercise supplements out there, packed with vitamins and nutrients as well as caffeine. Many gym-goers say that pre-workout gives them the extra energy they need during their workouts and helps them recover faster.
The Bottom Line
The mental block that many people experience when it comes to working can be hard to overcome. But getting into a routine, setting goals, and visualizing your success are just a few ways to overcome those mental blocks.
Remember, one of the hardest parts of staying motivated is just showing up. Get into your routine, blast some music, hydrate, and fuel yourself, then hit the gym and crush your workout.