We all struggle to motivate ourselves to get into the gym now and again. Especially as we head towards the winter months; comfy PJ’s, fires on, and warm drinks punch way higher than a workout. But what can we do to help keep ourselves motivated throughout these times, and the rest of the year too?
There’s a multitude of things at play as to whether we have enough motivation to get ourselves to the gym, get going and hit that WOD that makes us feel fantastic afterwards!
Most of us know that the optimal amount of sleep per night is 7-9 hours. But the majority of us don’t even cut close to this. Ensuring you’re winding down, sleeping well and resting enough to replenish your energy stores is vital to motivation in the gym. That extra couple of hours can make a massive difference to your mood and outlook towards exercise, and your energy levels. Start to set yourself a bedtime and hit the hay a bit sooner!
As a collective, our society is very fast paced. We rush to get up, we rush to work, we rush here and there, then rush back again. The Mentalhealth.org website stated that ‘74% of the UK were 'overwhelmed or unable to cope' at some point in the past year.’ Our Cortisol levels (stress hormone) must be sky high, and this is not going to help when thinking about getting ourselves to exercise.
Managing your stress can be very effective to helping motivation within the gym. Call it clearing up our environments! Whether your stresses involve work, money, children or any other variation, meditation can help with this. Any variation of meditation can be useful; however, mindful meditation is the best way I’ve found for managing my own stresses in life. There are apps to help guide you through this if you’re new!
Also, we offer a child friendly environment within CFNS to hopefully ease some of those child stress issues too!
Relationships are a biggy for motivation!
Your relationships can be with your partners, parents, friends and acquaintances. Any of these relationships can sway your outlook on your fitness. You can easily be led to ditching your workout for a drink with a friend, or a dinner at your parent’s. And yes, nurturing your relationships is very important. However, understanding that some relationships can be detrimental to motivation, will help you prioritise your fitness. Being within a CrossFit community means finding friendships and relationships within people who share the same views and fitness goals as you, so motivation levels can thrive! I’m not saying ditch any other friends who don’t do CrossFit (but do haha!), just be aware these relationships may not serve you well motivation wise.
If I was to survey the box for the actual amount of rest days, FULL rest days, people take, I bet it would be a poor result. But rest is very, very important for your motivation levels. If you’re not recovered well from previous workouts, injuries, or other activities outside of the gym, your motivation levels can plummet. If you’re constantly feeling sore, creaky and stiff, you’re not going to want to smash your workouts. Taking time off is just as important for muscle growth as your training is.
Two rest days per week is recommended. You can begin to introduce ‘active recovery’ days if you’re struggling to rest completely (like me!). An active recovery day can include a brisk walk with the dog, a light jog, a ROMWOD (stretching workout) or another activity that isn’t particularly strenuous. This can help make you feel like you’ve done some exercise, but also allow your muscles to recoup and recover enough to hit Fran first thing Monday morning!
If you’re injured, rehab of that injury is super important for maintaining motivation levels too. See a sports physio, get it looked at, and figure out what you need to adapt and do to help it get better ASAP!
The tip of the pillar!
Nutrition is THE MOST important thing, I find, to maintaining my motivation levels. If I’m fuelling my body correctly, I’m getting the response I want from my training, making progress, feeling fitter, looking better and just overall, I’m happy!
Firstly, you need to know how many calories your body needs to function, you can do this by using a BMR calculator online. You then need to make sure you’re eating close to that amount; you can use a tracking app for calories. Lastly, do some research on macronutrients. Protein/Carbohydrates/Fats - find out how much your body needs specifically, and then eat that amount!! Simple, right? Obviously, it’s more complex than it seems, but it can be made simple by getting some help from a coach. Our transform programme within the gym can help with nutrition, and I run ‘Shreds’ most of the year through to help anyone who wants it, the understanding to lead the front on their own nutrition to complement training!
The final hurdle.
Females – we have a multitude of hormones to contend with on a daily basis. Oestrogen, progesterone, cortisol, testerone (small amounts), HGH, thyroxine and soooooo many more!
Tracking your cycle, your mood bouts and your high motivation days can help with understanding your body and when it’s ok to push yourself to work out, and when it’s also ok to pull yourself back and give in. The way that female training is changing and evolving currently, is impressive. Women are now tracking their cycle and using this as a training guide. On weeks where their oestrogen is high, they’re training hard. On weeks where their progesterone is high, their cutting back and implementing lower training volumes to get the most of out their bodies.
Males – Bar a few lapses in testerone in the winter months (seasonal affective disorder), you rarely see a dip in hormones day to day or week to week. You’re extremely fortunate to not have to have this as an issue, and if you’re struggling with motivation, starting with some of the other issues may be your best bet!
Take all of the above points, get them working in unison, and your motivation levels should be through the roof! If you’re having trouble with any of these things, seek out some advice, make a plan and smash it! But don’t put too much pressure on yourself, the odd day off will most definitely, not hurt.
Coach P x