Weekly column by fitness experts Adam Wright and Jacqui Watson for the Waterford News & Star, in association with Kingfisher Fitness Club
YOU can’t. Article over… Just kidding. Let’s talk about motivation for a bit.
It might appear that fitness enthusiasts are always motivated to exercise or eat well… we aren’t. There is something liberating about realising this. Once a person understands that they won’t always be motivated it can become less of a factor when trying to create change. “I won’t always be motivated… that being the case, how do I create a plan that doesn’t rely on motivation?” I’m glad you asked…
Keep changes small
If a person goes from takeaway food most days and no exercises to a plan that involves drastically reduced calorie intake from only home cooked meals and exercising six days a week… That’s going to take a lot of effort. And “effort” can be interchanged with “motivation”.
I’m not saying that what they’re shooting for isn’t achievable, but maybe not doing it all at once would be a smarter plan. I would suggest looking at one or the other. Nutrition or exercise. And changing one small thing. If they really want to do a bit of both then they can, but still only one small thing in each area.
If they haven’t been exercising at all then one exercise session in the coming week is an improvement. Set that as the target. If they get more then that’s a bonus but if they don’t then they have a full seven days to make it happen… doable right?
The same can be applied to nutrition. If they eat multiple take out meals a week then one more home cooked meal than usual over seven days is an improvement. If they never eat vegetables then one meal a day that includes vegetables is a step in the right direction.
Keeping changes small keeps them doable. Once one small thing has had a little time to stick then they can change another small thing.
Chose something you enjoy
I think I’m three for three on my last three articles on recommending the importance of enjoyment. If a person can choose a kind of exercise or find a way of eating that moves them towards their goal and that they still enjoy, it’s far more likely to happen on a regular basis than exercise or ways of eating they dislike.
It may be possible to make slightly larger changes than those suggested above if there is still enjoyment. If there is no way to make the change enjoyable then keeping changes small is still an option.
Visualise the cost of inaction
What will happen if they don’t change? The answer could be anywhere from “very little” to as unfortunate as they die (or die sooner). Visualising the cost of inaction can help to crystallize why the change is required/ desired.
Having a powerful “why” that they can remember when they don’t feel like taking action is a totally valid strategy in all walks of life, not just fat loss or fitness. The deeper the “why” the better in some respects. If it starts out as “I want to look nice at a wedding next month” keep asking why, and being brutally honest, until a deeper and more meaningful reason for the desired change is exposed. Note: this can be an emotional one.
Take breaks when needed
It’s possible to take a break without going backwards. Taking a break from saving money doesn’t mean I have to spend what I’ve already saved. This is true for fat loss too. Bringing calories up to maintenance (same in as out) temporarily will halt fat loss but will generally not result in fat gain (or regain). Fitness gains take a lot longer than a week to make. They won’t be lost over a short break.
If you’d like to discuss this further: message me on Facebook or Instagram @AdamWrightPT or say Hello in the Kingfisher Club Waterford. Have a great week!