A big part of joining a gym or sports club is the camaraderie, the corps d’esprit, the friendly competition between you and your training partners, the knowledge that if you don’t turn up someone will notice and probably ask you about it, the accountability of having people around.
The road warrior or house wife/husband, doesn’t have this.
They most likely train solo, in their house, garden or hotel room. No body will know if they slack off or even skip a workout entirely. There’s nobody pushing them to the next level. Plus there’s all the distractions, TV, Facebook (yes, that one gets me too), the fridge and the kettle.
So how do we motivate ourselves? How do we push ourselves? How do we keep going when we could be watching reruns of Top Gear or making another cup of tea to dunk another Hob Nob into?
We need accountability. We need to have some way of measuring our progress, a past challenge to beat and a goal to work towards.
Most of us have been in some corporate training thing at some part. In my old life as a Duty Manager in a luxury hotel, we did dozens of these meetings (yawn!!). So you’ve probably heard the acronym SMART.
Well this bit of corporate bullsh1t is actually valid to you and me. Here’s what it means:
S is for Specific. The more specific your goal the more chance you have of achieving it. Maybe it’s “loose 10 pounds by the 10 August 2009” or it’s complete the 2009 Dublin Marathon in 3hrs 40mins, or it’s simply perform workout X faster or heavier than last week.
M is for Measurable. There must be a way of measuring your progress. Chart the changes in your waistline, record your running times and distances, the weight, sets & reps of your last workout.
A is for Achievable. Is a 3hrs 40 marathon realistic in the time span you’ve set? If not, what is. Can you really perform the last workout faster or add a rep or are you in need of a back week?
R is for Reason. Why are you doing it? My old Kenpo coach used to say, understand the why and the how will take care of itself. Having good reasons to complete a goal will compel you to follow it through to the end. The more personal the reason, the better. Why loose the weight? Vanity or Health, which gets you going the most?
T is for Time. When is the completion date? What date is the marathon? When do you need to loose the weight by? a wedding? birthday party? Have a specific date to work towards.
The best way to do this is to write them down. Keep them somewhere you will see them, on the fridge, beside the bed, wherever you will read them regularly. Get yourself a notebook, this will be used to record all progress, from your workouts to your diet to how you feel. Note the music you listened to while training, time of day. Anything that may affect your performance and help you next time.
Then tell a friend. Accountability to yourself and a written journal are great, but nothing beats having somebody else prodding you to do more. Tell your friends what your doing and why, try to talk to like minded people. Social support and accountability are quite possibly the strongest motivators.
The web is a great way of doing this if you happen to travel a lot or live somewhere isolated, twitter and facebook updates can be used to tell the world (ie your mates) what you ate, what your workout involved and even how you felt. they can reply with encouragement or advice. Don’t take peoples comments to heart, most like to shoot you down for trying to better yourself. Ignore them and instead listen to the ones that encourage you or offer helpful advice.
Just know that if you don’t tell them, they’ll be asking why.
Join me on facebook, I’d love to hear your workout stories. Use the comments button below to post your motivational stories or even to ask for a size 10 up the rear.
The final point I’d like to make is to schedule a time. Book an appointment with yourself. For my wife, she knows that when either I’m home she can train, or if the little fella goes for a nap she can get a quick workout done. Even with my hectic schedule training clients and being a Dad, I’m able to schedule a timeslot to train myself. It’s just about forward thinking, look at the day ahead and say, “Right, at 3pm I’m going to do 3 sets of workout A, it’ll take 20 minutes, then shower, I’l be done and dusted by 3.40pm”. Tell the world this is your plan, and go for it!
Like I already said, drop a comment below or on facebook that way you can be accountable to me and the rest of the No Equipment readers.