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A Motivation Story (And Four Killer Tips)

A Motivation Story (And Four Killer Tips)

A Motivation Story (And Four Killer Tips)

Guest post by Jack Purdom

This is a fitness motivation story with a twist. It’s about  how an unmotivated client finally got into the fitness habit, once and for all…without the use of a megaphone. It’s a new take on the old problem I deal with in my free eBook Getting Past Busy <<<=== Download Here

Whether you’re a coach or a personal training client, you’ll probably find it resonates with you. It helps solve the perennial problem of motivation to actually getting workouts done. And I’ll top it off with four tips you can use right away.

Liz’s Fitness Motivation Story

It all began with a text from my client, Liz:

“I don’t feel motivated to go to the gym today.”

Now, is this an unforgivable crime against the fitness world or mankind as a whole? Obviously not. I think we’ve all been guilty of feeling this way at one point or another.

Liz’s problem? She sent that text (or one like it) at least once a week.

We tried rah-rah pep talks.

We had discussions on the importance of consistency.

We experimented with positive and negative reinforcement.

Hard-assery, open and honest discussion, anger, compassionate understanding: none of it worked.

Nothing ever changed.

Inevitably, I would receive a text or call a couple of hours before our scheduled session complaining of a lack of energy or motivation.

I was at my wit’s end. So was Liz, she felt l her goals would never become reality.

We both felt helpless.

I was convinced I had failed her and she was convinced she had failed me. Both of us assumed responsibility and wanted to make it work. But we didn’t know how to “create motivation” on days where there wasn’t any.

How Everything Changed

Liz had gone away for a week on vacation. She actually showed up for her first post-vacation session. It seemed like a good opportunity to something new and different.

So I hit Liz with this non-negotiable demand:

“I want you to make your bed every morning for the next week.”

I didn’t demand she change anything else.

It had nothing to do with fitness. It had nothing to do with what she was putting in her body for nutrition. And it had absolutely nothing to do with her goals.

What Happened Next

To cut to the chase: it worked like a charm.

The first week went by and Liz proudly reported that she had stuck to the plan and made her bed every morning. Outside of that, she didn’t feel much different. In her words: “Life was business as usual.”

With a successful week of bed-making behind her, we added drinking a full glass of water upon waking to her morning routine. At the end of the second week, she walked into her session beaming.

Not only had she completed her tasks every morning, but she was bursting to tell me that she felt she had made much better choices when eating during the week.

Over the next two weeks, we added a couple more small items to her day. Liz completed them all.

After a month, Liz had solidified four habits into her daily life.

But that wasn’t the best part…

Liz didn’t miss a workout all month. She didn’t even realize it. Liz had been so laser-focused on completing her tasks every day that she didn’t notice not missing workouts.

The added bonus? Liz also lost five pounds that month. It was a tasty cherry on top.

According to her, “the workout was just another part of my day. I didn’t think about doing it, I just did it.”

And that’s the beauty of habit-building.

The Power of Habit in Fitness Motivation

Allow me to let you in on a secret.

The almighty Church of Motivation is selling you lies and hampering your progress.

– You don’t need to watch another video montage to the soundtrack of The Dark Knight dubbed over with inspirational speeches.

– You don’t need the perfect Spotify playlist with every song synced to a specific section of your workout.

– You don’t even need to be feeling great or having a good day.

Motivation is fleeting and can only carry you for so long.

Habits, on the other hand, work regardless of circumstances and are lasting. Once built, they stick around and actually lead to unconsciously building other habits.

They don’t need to be difficult, they don’t need to be time-consuming, and they don’t even need to be directly related to your goals. (At least at first.)

The Takeaway

Here are four fail-proof methods to begin your own habit-building journey:

1. Create a Morning Routine

There is no more surefire way to increase productivity than by starting your day out with a few easily repeatable actions in the morning. It will lay the foundation for success and frame your goals for the day.

How To Do It

  • Choose 3-4 small actions
  • Ex) Glass of water, 10 minute run, 3 goals for the day
  • Select a “habit trigger.”
  • Ex) Water bottle, running shoes, notebook
  • Review and Adapt
  • Ex) Completed the routine for two weeks, add 10 minutes of reading

2. Prep and Plan

As the old saying goes, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” Set yourself up for success so there are no excuses. Take one hour out of your week before it begins and plan the following:

  • Your weekly meals and the necessary groceries needed
  • When you’ll workout and exactly what you’ll be doing
  • Your wake up and bedtimes (set 15 minute reminder alarms)
  • Your next hour of review and planning

3. Flex Your “No” Muscle

Now that you’ve made the decision to improve your life and designed your plan, don’t let anything or anyone stop you. Identify where potential obstacles may exist and prepare your response. This doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun the rest of your life, but it has to be within reason. Your family and friends will understand and support your newfound decision to create a better life. Examples of possible situations:

  •  Text from a friend inviting you to a late night at the bar
  • Your aunt forcing a homemade dessert on you
  • A lousy night’s sleep leaving you tired and wanting extra sleep instead of the gym
  • Co-workers trying to coerce you into getting fast food for lunch

4. Avoid Throwaway Days

Don’t let one bad meal or a missed morning routine turn into “I’ll just do whatever I want the rest of today and start again tomorrow.” Hit the mental reset button immediately because tomorrow turns into Monday, or next week, or next month, or even the infamous New Year’s resolution. If you feel like quitting because of one bad decision, try this:

  • Repeat the mantra, “One mistake is not enough to knock me off track”
  • Look ahead to the next item on your improvement plan and commit to making it happen
  • Remind yourself that a 90% successful day will still bring you closer to your goals while a 0% day will take you in the wrong direction

What new habits will you add to your day?

And how will you make time for it all?

Find out in my free eBook Getting Past Busy <<<=== Download Here

About The Author

jack-purdomJack Purdom is a Chicago-based trainer and writer who helps busy people lead better lives. He holds a M.S. in Exercise  Science and Nutrition, with additional certifications as a personal trainer and nutrition coach from The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and Precision Nutrition. Jack blogs at Trainer Jax. 


Four Surprising Ways to Boost Motivation

tips to add muscle, high performance exercises

We’ve all been there: in need of a motivation boost. 

It normally starts with…

Bing! Bing! Bing!

The damn alarm clock is doing its thing. Again.

But your eyes just don’t want to open. If you’re training,  your body doesn’t want to lift.  

Or, if you’re a trainer… you don’t want to face another 12 hour day of back-to-back clients.  You wonder whatever happened to that great idea of getting out of the “hours for dollars” rat race by launching one of those online training businesses you keep hearing about.

You just say to yourself: “Today is not the day. Maybe tomorrow will be better.”  But will tomorrow ever really come?
weightlifting coach
Sound familiar? It should, if you are being honest.  We’ve all been there. Everyone’s motivation wanes at times.

And the lack of motivation can last for  days, weeks, and months on end. Sometimes it can feel like we are  staring through a telescope at our goals.

The goals seem to live in a galaxy far away…that is receding ever further into deep space with each passing day.

Rather than taking the next step, we sit and wait, trembling in fear  and think: “That six-pack (or new business model) is so far away, why even bother?”

It’s the same sort of faulty logic that leads you to eat an entire container of Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia. After all, you’ve already messed up on your diet by eating the first spoonful.

So why fight it?

And how is one more day of failing to take action on your business plans really so bad?

This sort “stinking thinking is a central concept in the addiction literature.

It stems from a negative feedback loop that keeps us from doing what we know we want and need to do.

Which begs the question:  “What is motivation? “


More importantly, how can we harness the awesome power of motivation  to achieve our dream bodies and lead our best lives?

Motivation is what drives us to take action on our goals.

tips to add muscle, high performance exercises

What are your goals in life? It could be the money or professional status. It could be becoming a beast, having great sex, and looking great naked. It could even be helping others and making a difference in the world.

I’m not judging. (I’ll leave that to your Mom!) And the heavy stuff is probably best left to discussions with your soulmate, shrink, clergyman or bartender.

I am simply suggesting that if you are experiencing difficulties, the problem may be:

The goal isn’t big enough or important enough to you.

Related Post: The Success Mindset

Whatever an overarching driving force, motivation will wane. You’ll have off-days. You will inevitably:

–  Skip a workout
– Blow your diet on that Ben and Jerry’s and Ice Cream
– Decide reruns of Breaking Bad are a better choice than working on that big projectMy advice?

Accept it.

Live with it.

You can’t win every battle.

And we are all highly imperfect human beings.

So we need to forgive ourselves — and move on, as we refocus on goals and motivation.

Use  the steps that follow to:

–  Persevere
–  Simplify
– Get back on track

Most of all, focus relentlessly on the next, best action.

 

1. Set Habits to Eliminate Decisions

Discipline begets freedom. This seems like an ass-backwards thought, but setting guidelines and rigid habits is the key to maintaining motivation in other areas. Motivation takes willpower.

And willpower evaporates faster than steam when you have too many decisions to make and decision fatigue sets in.

That’s why President Obama only wears gray or blue suits.  He says: “I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.” And the same was true for Steve Jobs and his well known turtle-neck and jeans.

We have a limited capacity for decisions and thus, motivation. My training and business coaching clients have the most success when their mornings become automatic.

Start the day off with minimal decisions. Have your clothes picked out, a breakfast shake or other food choices ready to roll, and your plan of action already decided from the night before.

Reducing decisions eliminates fatigue. With a fresh mindset, you’ll find motivation effortless.

Read More: Morning Rituals to Become Unstoppable 

Hold Back To Move Faster


Another seeming paradox.

But consider something we’ve all seen in the gym. It has to do with  an average gym guy we’ll call Dick. Dick has just  made it back in the gym for the first time in three months.

Dick is pumped. He’s eager to kick life in the teeth and get swole, son! (I couldn’t resist) And the first week he owns it.

He’s in the gym five days, working hard, eating right, and doing his thing.

Then, he fades out. The second week he’s in three times. Then once.

What happened?

Dick took off too fast. Five days in the gym was too much of a change and shock to his world.

Real life intervened, probably in the form of a work or family crisis. So the least familiar task  —  heading to the gym — fell by the wayside.

Biting off more than you can chew is the surest way to  lose motivation. So add five lbs plates to the bar this week, not 25 lbs plates. And if  you’ve skipped the gym for months, go for three days, not five, on your first week back.


2. Get an Accountability Group, Partner, Or Coach

Most people fail a fitness transformation not because of lack of information, but because of lack of direction and accountability.

As I wrote in an article entitled “Why Personal Trainers Need Their Own Coaches and Mentors for The Personal Trainer Development Center:

Sir Isaac Newton, said:

“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

Truer words have never been spoken: none of us achieves success alone. And there’s also an intellectual honesty issue.

If you don’t use coaching yourself, how can you preach its virtues to clients?

This logic exptends beyond coaches.

We all need accountability.

And if motivation is a constant issue, than finding someone to hold you accountable for your actions is the best investment you can make in yourself.

Please keep reading until the end of this article for information about how I might be able to help.

3. Just Get Started

In his book, The Ego is the Enemy Ryan Holiday refers to author Robert Greene’s description of “Alive Time.”

During Alive Time people are learning and taking action. This contrasts with Dead Time  when people are passive and waiting for change to happen.

Motivation and taking action aren’t mutually exclusive.  One leads to the other. You just have to start.  You need Alive Time.

Like a ball rolling down a hill, the longer you keep going, the more unstoppable you’ll be. But it all starts with a nudge.  

Put down the books, throw away the articles. And get to work.

There’s no time like the present. Think less and do more. Then, you’ll find the motivation you’ve been looking for.

4. Stop Focusing On the End Goal

It’s said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. And  we  can’t complete reciting the alphabet from A to Z without hitting B,C,D… and all the letters  in between.

Motivation is hard to maintain because we push our goals too far into the future. We focus too much on how far away we are from the goal, and not enough on how far we’ve come.

So we lose sight of the big picture. We become unduly concerned about small missteps along the way.

And that’s why we sleep in and skip our workout.

Or fail to take action on our plans, like expanding into online training if you are a trainer.

We can only control what we can control, and that’s the present moment. Reflect back and ask yourselves, “What are the actions I can take that will get me to my long term goal?”

Be Present.

Then focus on execution.

Nail this rep.

Or that business plan.

Then the next.

Over time, focusing on each step itself leads to mastering the task at hand and accomplishing the goal itself.

Instead of getting lost in complexity break it down into small, digestible parts. Then, with your goal as a lighthouse in a black sky, take the next best step, one foot in front of the other to get closer to your goal.

“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at. “ -Bruce Lee

Motivation is great, but hoping to achieve your goals isn’t enough. Get someone to hold you accountable.

Simplify the process and set your daily habits to eliminate decisions. Then focus on the moment at hand.

You can’t change the past, nor predict the future. So why not maximize what’s in front of you?

Own the moment, and you’ll own motivation.

Can I Help? If You’re A Trainer, Let’s Work Together on How You Can Build A Thriving Hybrid Fitness Business.

As an online and in-person trainer, I understand the need to build a long-term sustainable business.

You can’t trade dollars for hours indefinitely.

Nor can you continue working split shifts from 5:00 AM to 9:00 PM while neglecting time with family, friends, and loved ones.

And whatever happened to your own training?

Or taking a weekend off ?

It’s time to work smarter and reap the financial rewards you deserve. And help more clients achieve their goals and improve their lives.  

My team and I have developed six figure online and in-personal training businesses simultaneously. We call it the Hybrid Fitness Model.

The team includes Daniel Freedman, a TV producer turned business development and marketing expert who has worked with CrossFit,  Precision Nutrition, and the Personal Trainer Development Center.

We offer hand-on, custom consulting. This is not an eCourse or Mastermind group. We’ll customize our service to your needs and position your business for long-term success. 

Most of all, we’ll show you how to become self-sufficient. We teach you how to fish, not how to keep buying fish from us.

No one gets there alone.  We’ll be with you every step of the way. But due to our personalized approach, we have just five spots available for fitness professionals, this week only.  

Are you ready to re-take control of your schedule, make more money, and help more clients?

Taking action is the first step. 

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