If you are anything like me, staying on track to achieving your fitness goals, whether it is weight loss or having that perfect "beach bod" for summer, can be quite the ongoing feat.
At this point, I have lost track of the number of times I have started an exercise program or routine in an attempt to finally achieve my goal of looking and feeling fit. Inevitably at some point during the program or routine, I stopped exercising, and every time it was because my routine was interrupted— either because I allowed myself to interrupt my own routine due to a tapering of motivation or because I had an obligation during the time I usually exercised. And off the bandwagon I would fall.
It wasn't until I had to fortune to start working at OnTrack that I was able to find my exercise groove. Working with and for exercise experts can be quite the motivation by itself, but for me, what really helped me find my way to exercise success was talking to Kim, owner and co-founder of OnTrack Health and Fitness, about her experience and knowledge of training for marathons and triathlons. While I am certainly not ready to start training for these incredible races, the words of wisdom she gives her coaching clients have stuck with me, and I have found that it is these 3 running and triathlon teachings that have kept me on course to achieving my own fitness goals.
1. Incorporating the Teachings of "Mental Preparedness" for Marathons and Triathlons into My Workout Routine
Have you ever been mid-workout, feeling incredibly exhausted, and thought to yourself, "I could just stop now. I don't have to keep going."
If you have ever done at-home HIIT workouts by yourself, I'm sure you've had similar thoughts. And it is exactly this kind of thinking that has led me to give up on a workout or to allow myself to not workout one day because "I can just workout tomorrow when I'm feeling more up to it."
So, for me, it was something like a revelation when I learned about mental preparedness training for marathons and triathlons, specifically cues and positive focus. As Kim recommends, it is best practice to have mental cues or words to recite to yourself over and over again during the race, like "I am strong" and to keep your focus internal and your thoughts positive.
Taking this best practice and incorporating it into my regular exercise routine, I have found myself accomplishing a grueling workout feeling powerful. Rather than focus on the pain or fatigue during the workout, I say to myself over and over again, "I am strong." I have found that I work harder during the course of the workout and when the final BEEP comes signaling the end my workout, nothing feels more gratifying than knowing I just worked my butt off without giving up.
I also use positive focus to make sure that I don't skip any of my workouts. Instead of thinking, "ugh, I don't want to workout today," I think, "let's do this" even when my body is tired and sore, and I have found myself smashing my workouts like never before.
2. Incorporating the Dynamic of Having a Coach Plan Your Ongoing Workouts
If there is one thing I know for sure, not having a workout pre-prepared quickly impedes my motivation to workout after coming home from a long day at work. From talking with many coaching clients about their experience training with a coach, it quickly became apparent that not having to think about what to do for their workout each day keeps them on track and focused on just doing the work that is required to achieve their goal.
Incorporating this dynamic into my workout routine, I pre-plan all of my workouts with the assistance of BodyRock's free HIIT workouts (my preferred method of exercise) posted on their website. It so happens that OnTrack's functional fitness room is the perfect place to do these workouts on my own, but if you don't have access to a gym with a big open space, your living room could be a great option for you.
I put links to different workouts from BodyRock in my phone's notes, so all I have to do on any day of the week is click on the next link on my list, look over the exercise routine for the day, adjust my interval timer if needed, and smash out my workout for the day. No thinking or additional time to procrastinate required.
Is running a marathon on your bucket list? Why not work with the best? Contact our coaching team today to get started!
3. Don't Look for Immediate Changes in Your Physical Appearance— Keep Your Focus on Your Improving Strength
Only looking for changes in your physical appearance is a sure way to set yourself up for quick disappointment and loss of motivation. We see ourselves in mirrors just about everyday, so it is harder for us to recognize our own physical appearance changes on a day by day basis.
Instead, keep your focus on your improving strength. HIIT workouts require me to do exercises in reps (as many as I can do in a certain amount of time). Because of the nature of this type of workout, I focus on how I was able to do more reps in the same amount of time or how each rep I did was easier for me to do than what I remember from the former workout. Remember to keep your thoughts positive!
This is the same measurement of success that is followed when training for a marathon or triathlon. The focus isn't on changes in physical appearance; the focus is instead on the incremental improvements in running, swimming, biking time or strength. The reality is that as your strength keeps improving, your physical appearance will continue to change for the better, and if it isn't, you may want to look at the what and when you are eating!