Gym Motivation - How to have and maintain it? Seven steps to kick a lazy person's butt!

SRKPhoto courtesty: Eros International

In general, people think that going to gym and maintaining a good physique depends only on diet and exercising. Only if we were machines and doing that was so easy! I have listed some points that I think may help any lazy person.

Before going into the details, I want to emphasize this: Don’t beat yourself, my friend. Most people who drop things in the middle are those who can, if some guidance is given, shake the mountains. They have something else going on in the back of their minds which they are not clear about or there is something that they are stressed about. If things are too stressful, pray. Play it cool and have fun. Laugh it off, laugh it off and laugh it off. Alright! This single thing can help one reach up to 90% of their goals if they practice because this is one of the inner game exercises that make the foundation strong.

Let me also give a brief overview of why I would like to share my ‘Gym Motivation’ tips with you. I am a software engineering consultant who works long hours and yes, the job can be stressful and demanding sometimes. I like going to gym because I feel very active when I maintain this routine.

I imagine myself becoming a good fitness model and being an inspiration to others. I like to see my clothes fit me well and give that cool photogenic appeal.

I used to be very lean in my childhood (I am still a lean (lean and muscular!) guy but I think my body is in healthy and good shape :). I want to give a message to others that anything is possible if you have a high ambition and passion for it. If I can do this, you can tear it apart! Ok, keep on reading!!

1. Do you think you are a model?

Do you have any specific idea about what are you trying to attain by going to gym? Are you just trying to get in shape? Are you trying to get six-pack abs? Are you trying to become a model? Do you also know that exercise is not only effective in helping with weight loss or gaining strength, but is also effective for reducing stress and improving your self esteem and how you feel about yourself? If you are clear about what you want, 25% of the battle is won! (actually more!).

So, what do you want to achieve by going to gym?

2. Keep the initial goal reachable. Don’t aim for the sky!

I hear many people say “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars”. But I think if one wants to have unshakeable focus, initial success is very important. Without some form of initial success, people soon lose motivation. So, don’t aim for any big things right now (but do keep those goals in reserve and do not forget them), and keep your initial goals simple such as 'feeling more active'. Other things will work out later.

Add 10. 35% of the battle is won!

3. Surround yourself with positive images, magazines and success stories.

I would suggest keeping a favorite collection of want-to-be pictures of yourself of your favorite models and actors. Sounds like a hype? No my friend. Try this. It works!

I have my collection of about 20 pictures ranging from Om-shanti-om’s Sharukh Khan to Enter-the-dragon’s Bruce Lee! (Well, the latter is just an ideal for me. I don’t want to become so lean and muscular but still Bruce Lee is Bruce Lee!). Personally, I just don’t admire models with great physiques unless I like something else in that person. I like Bruce Lee because he is also a good philosopher.

Put 5 more into the basket. 40% done!

4. Time to take attendance – Are you present?

Keep aside at least about 3 hours a week for gym. We have 168 hours a week and I am just asking 3 hours! Because I know this can help your overall positive growth and it pays very well in the long run.

Have these 3 hours planned in advance. When you plan in advance, your subconscious mind will keep pushing you toward it even when you get busy in other things. And just go to gym at these planned times! It does not matter how long you will stay there. Even if you just go there and come back, it is worth it because it reinforces your belief and integrity in yourself.

Research also tells that it takes about 21 days to form a habit. So, try going to gym 2-3 times a week for one month, no-matter-what and here you go, you are already pumping yourself in the gym!

Add another 10% to get 50%. You are already half way there!

5. Do some research on good and healthy food.

Just by going to gym and exercising will not help. Exercise is only a part of the game. Having good rest and quality food is important.

I try to eat about 5-6 times a day i.e. small portions of food separated by 2.5 to 3 hours each. My sample menu for the day is:

* 8 AM – Oatmeal + 1 scoop whey protein
* 11 AM – Small handful of Walnuts/almonds
* 12:30 PM – Wheat bread sandwich with peanut butter + 1 cup soy milk
* 3:30 PM – A small protein bar (if possible, I would like to keep these artificial proteins as low as possible)
* 6:30 PM – Brown rice (I use Para boiled ones) with chicken breast (these are Tyson-chicken breast strips which I buy in Wal-Mart)
* 9:00 PM – Vegetables/Salad with whey protein (or soy milk or chicken) and a multi-vitamin tablet
* 11:00 PM – ½ cup cottage cheese + 1 table spoon flax seed oil  

I don’t say my diet is the best. But I think it’s definitely better than white rice, pizzas and saturated fat foods which I used to eat before. It is not expensive when you plan it.

Also I don’t take enough rest which is a big disadvantage for me. I tend to keep reading books till night. So, 8 hours of rest a day is not for me! But I try to have at least 6 hours of sleep.

In spite of my busy schedule working as a software engineering consultant who is frequently moving, I plan my food properly. All it takes is just a few days of good planning and practicing to form a good habit! So, buying some good and healthy foods and keeping them at handy is a good approach rather than searching for whatever comes in the last minute.

If you can do the above step for one week, you are 60% close to your goals.

6. Maintain good form while exercising and target big muscle groups first.

Don’t just go to gym and rush into doing whatever exercises you like. Do a good warm up like bicycling and jogging first. If you are not sure of how to use a piece of equipment, ask the trainer there and he/she will be happy to assist you. Try different training machines that you may like instead of sticking to one. In this way, you won’t get tired of your gym schedule.

Depending on your fitness goals, the kind of exercises you should do may vary. If you are looking for fat loss, combine weight training with cardio as well. If you have a very lean-build, then cardio may not be needed frequently. Give preference to big muscle groups like legs, chest or back first because that's what helps in efficient muscle gain or fat loss. So, have some plan and get some knowledge of what you want to do in order to be what you want to be.

People often tend to hurt their backs if they do work out in bad form. So maintain a good form. It’s ok if you do light weights. Put your ego aside. Don’t compare. Concentrate on your workout!

Add 20% here. It is 80%. You’re almost there!

7. Companionship

This can not be counted less. If you have a friend who can accompany you for exercising, this will take you a long way. Because when you are down, then your friend’s enthusiasm will lift you up and keep your spirits high and vice versa. Also, when you help your friend reach his/her fitness goals, you will have great satisfaction in your heart.

If you cannot find any partner for this, don’t worry. Eventually, you will find someone in gym who has similar emotional level like yours. If that does not work, try some good music with your mp3 player. Add 20%.

THERE YOU GO! You have the 100% ingredients in reaching your fitness goals!! Depending on the type of person you are, the allocation of points to these steps may vary a bit but I hope these steps can help one to form and maintain a ‘gym habit’ pretty quickly and achieve his/her fitness goals.

By the way, if you are lazy to follow all these steps, I still have one backup step for you! That is – Just go to gym! And keep going!! Fit your fitness times whenever possible. If you do 4 quick sessions of 10 min. workout, that is effective as one 40 min. session workout. So, don’t neglect that ‘Taking stairs instead of elevator’, ‘Visiting a not-so-far neighbor’s place by foot rather than bike/car’, whenever it is possible.

Finally, I have a small word of suggestion. Excessive obsession is also not good. So don’t forget to treat yourself with a cheat meal once or twice a week. It is OK to skip a session or two, but the key is to get back on the schedule!  And  put the steps into action!  You may have  great planning and thoughts but without action, it's not going anywhere! 

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