Written by Sarah Curran
New Year Motivation
The first few days of a diet or fitness programme are the easiest in terms of motivation for many of us. We are eager to make changes and it can be a novelty picking out what to wear to the gym and even prepping some meals ahead. Fast forward a week on and it might not seem so fun to prepare ahead, especially if you are juggling being back to work again and socialising with family and friends.
Here are some tips to help keep you on the straight and narrow and coming out on top with your new plan in tact!
Consistency Will Always Trump Perfection
This is one of the most important lessons I have learned on my fitness journey. You don’t have to give every single session one hundred percent every single time, and realistically, placing that type of pressure on yourself to perform to that high of a standard year round is setting yourself up for failure. Actually, what’s most important to getting results in the gym is showing up regularly and doing your best. Everyone has off days and it’s perfectly ok to embrace them rather than beat yourself up and make yourself feel bad every time. Keep them as few and far between as possible, stay positive and stay consistent, and the results will come for you!
It’s Ok To Slip Up
In reference to the above point, special occasions with family and friends come through the year, and you shouldn’t be a prisoner to your exercise and nutrition programme. It’s ok to enjoy some birthday cake with your friends or a meal out with family and it won’t mess up your goals either once you get back on the wagon afterwards, don’t turn it into a month’s worth of indulging!
You can also develop a strategy for planning around treats and saving macros if you are a flexible dieter on competition prep. Moderation is key and making memories with loved ones is priceless, so don’t be too hard on yourself and see these opportunities as a curse just because you are trying to stick to your nutrition plan. By allowing yourself some freedom, you will be able to make your exercise and nutrition programme a lifestyle and it will be so much easier to stay with it into the long term!
Planning ahead is crucial if you hope to stick with your exercise and nutrition programme for the long haul. Foresee any hurdles that may come your way and create an action plan to tackle them. This may involve small things like leaving a spare set of gym clothes and a scoop of protein powder in the boot of your car as some emergency supplies if you want to go training after work or straight from a friend’s house but have a habit of forgetting to bring your gear.
Preparing meals ahead and freezing them is another great tip I have found useful for staying consistent with my nutrition, especially at busy times or after work when I don’t feel motivated to cook a dinner or am in a hurry to get to bed!
Take Progress Pictures
Progress pictures are an amazing way to keep your motivation levels high. Some people say never look back, but progress pictures are definitely the exception to this rule!
Sometimes the scale won’t budge for a while, or you may even gain weight, yet you could have made a great change to your body composition. Sometimes we place way too much importance on the scales and almost treat the results from standing on it as a reflection of our self-worth. This is why progress pictures are great; they will show you a true reflection of your progress. Also keep measurements such as your waist and bust etc to help you have a better idea of what changes are happening with your body.
Question Your Motives
Wanting a six pack is great, but wanting to be healthy long term is even better. Exercise has been shown to really make a difference in your health, not just for now, but for later on too. Avoiding type two diabetes and heart disease are great reasons to stick to an exercise routine now, and also to keep at it even when you reach your initial goals!
Take Home Message
Don’t be too hard on yourself; it’s ok to slip up sometimes, the main thing is you jump back on the wagon again. Making fitness and great nutrition part of your lifestyle will help you out a lot with regarding consistency and keeping yourself motivated for the long haul!