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Archive for the ‘Mind & Body’ Category

How To Motivate Yourself, Part 2

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

A while back, I wrote an article titled “How To Motivate Yourself“. I came across a few more suggestions for people out there who are lazy or don’t feel like working out on their scheduled day. This is something I experience quite often, but easily control with the following tips.

Before I give you my suggestions on how to deal with laziness and tiredness, I’ll tell you my personal experience first. Since I’m a computer programmer, I sit on my ass all day writing code. This is mentally exhaustive to begin with and coupled with the caffeine crash, it really drains you down. When I get home, all I want to do is veg out and not socialize with anyone. Thanks to all this, I really don’t feel like training at all.

So here’s what I do: I think back to my previous training experiences, especially at the end of every workout session. Anyone who remembers their training days will recall the period of relaxation after a good workout. In case you’re wondering, it’s when your hormones (dopamine and serotonin, among others) get released. Don’t you feel happy after pumping some weights? This is what I focus on. This alone gets me motivated to hit the weights again and give it all I got. Once you prepare your mind for it, the rest will flow naturally. Just doing the first exercise alone (e.g. squats) really gets my blood pumping. I am then happy that I did not ditch the scheduled workout for the day.

Now, what if you’re physically tired? This is up to the trainee to figure out and organize their schedule accordingly. If you’re constantly doing physical activities (job-related, sports, etc) it’s best to train on your off days or times where your body isn’t under constant stress. At this point, athletes should talk to their personal trainer/coach for scheduling, and people working physical jobs need to find some time to let their bodies relax before pounding it with some weights.

A forgotten tip, one that I always have to remind myself to do, is taking a quick nap (1.5-3hrs) before your workout to let your mind & body rest a bit. Coming home after a hard day’s work and sleeping for a bit is quite possibly the best thing you can do for yourself. You’ll feel so much more refreshed upon waking up, and a lot more motivated to train.

One last thing I recommend is a cup of coffee or tea before your workout. This is only useful for people who don’t already load their bodies with caffeine throughout the whole day. I find that a cup of tea or a can of Red Bull can really do wonders before exercising, almost magical-like. 🙂 There are other supplements out there in the wild that are really potent in terms of energy, but I will withhold myself from listing them as getting used to them is a waste of cash and sometimes can be harmful if abused. You’re better off with my above suggestions for now. Happy training!

How To Motivate Yourself

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

Some people out there lack motivation when it comes to working out. Usually, they would love to get into the habit of working out on a weekly basis, but they can’t seem to motivate themselves to do so, or more specifically, they bring up a lot of excuses such as “I don’t have time” (that’s a good one) or “I don’t have the money to go to the gym” or “I don’t know where to start”. While the latter one is a decent excuse, it still doesn’t cut it. Below, I have compiled a list of the top excuses and what you can do about it.

Not enough time: My solution to this problem is to simply organize your day around your training time. It may not work for everybody, but if you prioritize your training above everything else, you’ll manage just fine. Students should excel at organizing their daily schedules, so inserting 3-4 hours of training per week can work. People with day jobs can also manage; just hit the gym before or after your job. I would say from experience that the best time to train would be in the morning right before work or school, or during noon (around 1-2 PM) but your mileage may vary. I have noticed that training beforehand makes your day go by much quicker.

Not enough money for a gym membership: Maybe I’m spoiled with the extremely low membership fees at my local gym, but this shouldn’t be an excuse. Let’s say a yearly gym membership costs 4 to 6 hundred dollars (USD). For teenagers and students, this may seem expensive, but for the working-class people out there, it shouldn’t. Instead of dining out every week, put the money in a jar and save it for the gym membership. Having too many parties? Spending too much on gadgets? You get the drift. Remember, the gym (and training) is an investment for your health: if you much rather sit at home and watch movies on your spiffy new Blu-ray player, then perhaps it’s time to change your ways and get off your ass.

No clue on where to start: this is a valid excuse for most people, but if you’re reading this site, it no longer is. Just do yourself a favor and buy a strength training book and learn from a professional coach with visuals. You’ll thank me later.