Staying motivated is hands down, bar none, one of the most mentally challenging things you will face. Regardless of whether you’re new to the fitness world or you’re an experienced vet, the process of change will inevitably slow down. And when that happens, the true test of your mental fortitude will be whether or not you decide to continue your fitness journey, seeing only incremental change along the way. Sadly, many lose interest when the going gets tough.
Fitness fanatics from lifters to triathletes tend to follow similar trajectories as their journeys progress. Initially, in the first 12 months, plus or minus a few, progress is fast and linear – lifts steadily go up and distances are steadily covered in less time. Then, trainees enter the intermediate stage and progress slows. Creative and unique training methodologies keep things interesting and tend to help jumpstart progress again, but never at the rate seen in new trainees. And finally, trainees hit the wall and have to make the decision we discussed earlier – to continue training or not.
The real differentiator between those who continue and those that choose not to, is the way that they view progress. Many people get into fitness because they’re looking to see a physical change, and stick with it after that change occurs because they’re motivated to push themselves further. The idea that progress is about more than physical change is the mindset that has to be maintained to stay motivated. Make it about numbers and the way you feel when you hit the numbers you’re after, and you’re golden.
Instead of shooting for a new 1-rep max or a new 5k PR, diversify and expand your goals. Then utilize a variety of training methodologies to help you achieve them.
For lifters, a great way to do this is to pick the major lifts (bench press, overhead press, deadlift, and squat for example) and chart out rep maxes for 1-10 reps. Instead of having one number to break for each lift, you’ll now have 10. Those of you participating in endurance sports like running and cycling can do the same for distances – there is no reason why the only PRs that matter have to be race distances after all.
Not only will creating new goals in this fashion give you more to shoot for, but it can also force you to adopt new training methods you may not have tried in the past. For example, lifters looking to hit new 1-rep maxes tend to focus on powerlifting-style training to get there. In order for them to see progress in the higher rep maxes there’s a good chance they’ll have to modify their routines. For those of you in endurance sports, speed work may have to be added to your training to hit shorter distance goals since it tends to fall to the wayside as training for longer distances takes over.
As always, if you’ve got any questions, comments or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out by commenting below or shooting me an email.
Founder & CEO