Steph's Motivational Advice To Smash Your Workouts
When it comes to motivation, some days are harder than others. Dragging yourself out of bed can seem like a huge task, and making it through the day can be draining — especially when you’re tired, busy or stressed out.
Whatever the reason for your lack of motivation, a solid sweat session is great for your mood and mental health. I know I always feel better after a BUILD workout, even if I don’t want to get started in the first place.
To help you stay focused, I’ve compiled my best motivational advice. You can expect to be challenged — but that’s what you’re here for, right?
Whether it’s fitness or lifestyle, work or diet, shifting your mindset and embracing discomfort can work wonders. Here are my top ways to stay motivated.
1. Put emotion aside
It can be easy to give in to your emotions. So get on the front foot and take control... so they don’t control you.
Aside from having a solid pre-workout routine, a good dose of motivation can go a long way. Sometimes, the hardest part is mustering up the energy to get to the gym. But you never regret it when you get there.
What do I do when I’m struggling? I go to the gym anyway. It’s important to remind yourself why you got started, and stay fixated on your goals.
I guarantee that if you feel flat, tired or unconfident, the post-workout endorphins will have you bouncing back and ready to take on whatever your day has in store. Even if the heavy-lifting session is a struggle, you’ll sleep better and feel accomplished for showing up anyway. It’s a win-win!
Advice: Keep your head in the game and never fall victim to your negative emotions.
2. Embrace fear and discomfort
Nothing great happens in your comfort zone. Think about it. Those record-breaking Olympians sure as hell didn’t get to where they are today because they took the easy road.
No personal bests were ever achieved by picking up weights that felt comfortable. They’re beaten by pushing through discomfort and taking things one step further.
To succeed in something, you need to work hard. That means doing things that are uncomfortable and scary. Harnessing that fire in your belly will fuel you to achieve the impossible. Trust me.
Tips for beginners
Waltzing into the weights section can be super intimidating. Whether it's jacked-up guys, unfamiliar machines, or just the fear of performing a movement incorrectly… There are plenty of reasons to be apprehensive! BUT taking that first step will feel amazing. Remember, everyone starts somewhere.
I guarantee, once you’ve got your first heavy-lifting session under your belt, you’ll have much more confidence from there on in.
Fun story: One time I went skydiving as a reluctant birthday present to my partner Jamie. I remember feeling SO scared when I got into the plane and the nerves continued to climb as we got higher and higher.
When we reached around 12,000ft my instructor pushed me to the edge of the plane to prepare to jump… I was petrified! But once I gave the “ok” they pushed me out of the plane and I began to free fall.
The speed was exhilarating but so frightening! Once the instructor pulled the parachute we slowed right down and a HUGE sigh of relief set in as I was able to now relax and simply enjoy the view.
This is the closest analogy I can think of that relates to facing your fears when it comes to entering the infamous weight section of the gym!
Just remember… All you’ve got to do is “take that first leap out of the plane” and once you get over that initial fear — you’ll most likely relax and even begin to enjoy it!
Tips for more experienced lifters
Fear and discomfort can strike when you least expect it. You might hit a plateau, sustain an injury or simply feel as though you’ve lost your groove.
My best advice? Tell yourself that no matter how hard it gets – you’re going to make it. You’ll be surprised at just how much mental resilience you can build in the gym. As I’ve said before, heavy lifting is just as much a mental game as it is a physical one.
Advice: Train with intent but manage your expectations and leave your ego at the door.
3. Plan your goals
Setting goals is probably the oldest trick in the book, but holy heck it works!
Goals provide direction and structure for your workouts — and they’re a great way to measure milestones and progress.
Once you’ve worked out what you want to achieve, set up a plan as to how you’ll achieve it.
The SMART goal setting model is a fantastic way to structure your goals.
SMART is an acronym which stands for the following:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Relevant
T – Time-based
Your goal should be to check off each one of these variables when you are setting a target for yourself.
Why you should choose your goal thoughtfully
A common goal that people often set is they “want to lose weight”. This is a good example of what wouldn't be considered a SMART Goal. Muscle weighs more than fat tissue, so when you build muscle, chances are you will gain weight! A better goal is to improve your body composition, or set a target of lifting a certain weight.
Choose a goal that you can stay accountable for. Share this goal with your trainer (tag me in your Instagram story!) and with your family or friends. Make sure you set a goal that is attainable and make a plan to get there.
When you reach your goal, take a moment to reflect on how you feel. If you’d stuck with the goal of losing weight, would you be where you are now? I doubt it! Remember to celebrate your progress and then set a new goal.
Setting a SMART Goal
So let’s transform the goal of “deadlifting 60kg” into a SMART goal by checking off each letter in the acronym:
SPECIFIC: Deadlift 60kg for 5 reps
MEASURABLE: Plan the day when you’ll test this goal
ATTAINABLE: What steps do you need to take to reach this goal?
RELEVANT: Is this something you really want and are you going to stay motivated to work towards it? Will your training plan get you there?
TIME-BASED: 6 weeks
This would be our new SMART Goal:
“I am going to lose deadlift 60kg for 5 reps by training consistently for 6 weeks. I will stay motivated to work towards this goal every day as I know it is possible”.
Now that’s a SMART GOAL!
Advice: Set SMART goals and put a plan in place for how to achieve them.
Reframe your thoughts
If you ever lose track of your training or diet due to illness or any other unforeseen life events… Then I would URGE you to stay focused on your goal. Hitting a bump in the road doesn’t mean that the journey is over – it just means you have to work a little harder to get back on track!
Get back on track by focusing on all of the things that are in your control (rather than getting down about all of the events that are outside of your control). Things like managing your schedule and diet are usually things that are always in your control.
Even if you’re not feeling the best – you can still schedule a workout and just walk through the gym door! The quality of your session is irrelevant… But staying in your routine and making an effort is the only thing that matters! So the next time you’re feeling sorry for yourself and reaching for that piece of chocolate… remind yourself of your goal and remember that YOU are in charge.
As tough as it is to do – always try to make the most out of every situation.
Feeling sore or tweaked a muscle? No problem – focus on nailing your diet 100%.
Slipped up and ate something you shouldn’t? No problem – smash your next workout or even fit in an extra session (this could be a LISS workout or one of my challenges found of the SWEAT app).
Advice: Don’t fall victim to your emotions or circumstances – focus on what you can control and always do your best to stay on track towards your goal.
4. Exercise patience
This one can be a tough pill to swallow — especially if you want results right away.
News flash! That’s not going to happen. Building serious strength takes time and a whole lot of perseverance.
The lessons I’ve learned in my fitness journey have shaped who I am today and shifted my perspective when it comes to hard work and patience. I can look back and reflect on tough times, knowing I can and will come out on the other side better off.
The biggest mistake you can make is giving up when you see no progress. Keep at it! It’s better than not trying at all.
Advice: Work hard and the results will follow.
Ladies, you can do it!
Nothing good ever comes quick or easy. Reframing your thoughts and building mental resilience is incredibly powerful. A lot of the time it’s your mind holding you back from getting started with BUILD, not your body.
What’s your best motivational advice? I’d love to hear what you tell yourselves (and each other) to stay on track! Let me know in the comments.
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.