Maintaining Training Enthusiasm !
by Tim Wescott
Anyone who`s trained with weights for any length of time know`s how hard it can be at times to remain positive and enthusiastic about their workouts.
After training for some years, it gets difficult at times, to go to the gym and train with the intensity of a man possesed, or to maintain some semblance of a healthy,"clean" bodybuilding diet. It`s tough to push heavy weight, and go beyond the pain barrier all the time. It`s also not easy to eat like a Spartan, 6 times a day. Let`s face it ,training hard, and eating right, day after gruelling day, takes a lot of mental tenacity, and "sticktoitiveness".
Anyone can manage to go to the gym a couple of days a week, and put in an hour of talking,socializing, and half hearted attempts at training, followed by a trip to your local McDonald`s, to indulge in some less than healthy pigging out. This is too easy, and we see it happen all the time, from a lot of trainees who claim they are dedicated and serious. This type of regimen can easily be justified by the trainee, in that he will often say to himself that it`s a downtime in his routine, or that he misses days because he`s only trying to maintain muscle at the present time,or he is eating to "bulk up".When in reality he is just not enthusiastic about training anymore,and is plain old burnt out.
If and when this happens to you,and it happens to all of us at times, take a seat and think about why you started training in the first place, and what you presently want from your training. Do you want to invest time, sweat,and money, only to falter, and quit your regimen, because you`ve lost focus,or train occasionally doing half-hearted workouts? Of course you don`t. What you need are some guidelines and tips to keep things interesting and to keep up your motivation. Here`s a few tips to help you stay on the right track to reaching your training destination.
Set Goals :
Set small range achievable goals that are realistic for your particular case. You should also have a larger goal that is achievable in the not too distant future. "Realistic" being the key word used here . Don`t expect to bench press 400 pounds, or become a Mr. Olympia overnight, as these aspirations are not easily achieved by the average bodybuilder. It takes fantastic God given genetics, and an unparalelled work ethic to even come anywhere near this level for most of us. Instead opt for setting goals that are applicable to your present training situation.
If you decide you want to lose 10 pounds ,or lower your bodyfat a few percentages,add 20 pounds to your bench press, in an alotted time frame,that`s a realistic goal to shoot for. Give yourself plenty of time to reach your goal,progress is sometimes slow after training for years.Your long term goal can be something that you want to achieve in a year or two of training,such as competing in your first contest.Whatever you decide to shoot for, be focused and consistant in your pursuit of the goals set. Write down your goals and the plan you will use to reach them and review it several times daily. Post it in a place you will see it throughout your day such as at your job, and on your fridge at home.
Positive Affirmation :
Take the trouble at various times during the day to think about your goals and aspirations and reinforce your drive by repeat to yourself that you can and will reach or surpass all obstacles placed in front of you.Give yourself a pep talk ,beleive in yourself and you will go farther than you`ve ever imagined.Conceive it,beleive it,and achieve it !!
Training Partner :
Having a good partner to train with can be a valuable asset to making progress.
Find a partner that is as enthusiastic about training, and making gains, as you are.Sometimes a partner can help talk you into having a great training session, even when you feel less than energetic. Having a partner who is just as strong as you are,or even a bit stronger than you, is a great motivator to help keep you pushing at 100% intensity.You can also make your workouts better by challenging each other to do a certain weight ,or a certain amount of reps with the only true winner being your physiques.
A good partner is worth his weight in gold, and soon learns all your strengths and weaknesses, as well as being there to push you through the hard reps, and to spot you on heavy sets. If you choose a partner who is less than stellar, and misses days, or talks a lot during workouts, tell him to get serious or hit the road. It`s hard enough to stay motivated at times without having your teamate bringing you down. Hopefully you get a good partner, as opposed to the latter. Set up competitions between each other, and use a good post-workout meal on the winner, as the prize. As I said the only true winner will be your bodies!
The Proper Mindset :
Every time you enter the gym you should be focused, and ready to train. Take a few minutes before you get there to think about your workout, and visualize yourself training harder than ever. When you get to the gym you should be good to go, with an attitude much like going into battle during a war. You are at war with the weights, and you will not lose, or give quarter. Train fierce and hard, and never say die! This type of attitude will go a long way towards your body making progress.Challenge yourself to do one more rep, or add 5 more pounds to the bar, as nothing brings about change in the body, like new stresses to the muscles.
Setting new personal records will also make you feel good about your workouts, and nothing succeeds like succsess.
In other words,if you`re doing great in the gym ,your enthusiasm will run rampant. Dig deep,and aim high. If you fail at your endeavors, which we all do at times, turn it into a poisitive experience by learning from your mistakes. File away the things that you did wrong ,and vow to never repeat them again!
100% effort,and focus is required at all times. Be positive, and stay in a positive frame of mind. If you have friends who put your efforts down, avoid them and remain steadfast in the pursuit of your goals.Chances are they are a bit envious because they can`t generate the focus you have, but would surely like to if they could.
Visualization can really help your efforts in the gym. Picture in your minds eye, the type of physique you are trying to acheive. Envision your waist shrinking, and that much admired V-shape appearing. Arnold Schwarzenegger imagined his arms as mountain peaks, and look where he ended up.Take the time daily to think about your ideal body. "See" yourself as you would like to look.The mind is a powerful tool to implement into your training.Where the mind goes, and what it dictates to the body, has a direct bearing on how far the body will go, to a degree. See it, beleive in it, and go get it !
Training Variety :
Don`t let your training routine become stagnant. If you are just burnt out with the routine you are presently using, don`t be afraid to change it up. There is probably no easier way to stray from your training,than if your training is straying from you. Inject variety into your program constantly, for continued success and enthusiasm. I feel it`s imperative to keep things fresh, and to enjoy your training sessions. Chances are, if you are bored with your routine, you will be less apt to do it. Your body and muscles will also adapt quickly to a set plan and refuse to grow. Keep things exciting, to keep on growing.
Good luck and train hard!!!