Fitness Pros: How To Stay Motivated With Your OWN Training
The following is a guest post by JC Deen of JCDFitness:
(JCDFitness.com was also one of our 2012 Top 10 Fitness Blogs!)
As a personal trainer, former athlete, and full-time lover of all-things strength-related, I’ve had the great pleasure of going from a weak, pudgy kid, to a much stronger, leaner individual over the last eight to ten years. I became so obsessed with the processes involved in changing my body through consistent manipulation of training and dietary protocols that I decided to make it my profession.
As a result, I get to watch others have the same wonderful experiences I had when starting out and progressing. It gives me great joy.
But guess what? Those rapid gains in strength, muscle, and subsequently, the feelings associated with said advancements are long gone for me. The fact is I’ve been doing some sort of physical activity since I was eight years old, and began lifting weights for sport when I was 12 years old.
This gives me about 13 total years under the bar, and the progress I’ve made in both strength and muscle gains since then are quite profound. When you’re a beginner, the changes happening within your body are fairly rapid, and a TON of fun to undergo. I’ve seen guys go from skinny beanpoles to fairly muscled-up in a matter of one to two years – so much that you hardly recognize the “before” photos.
Oh, how I miss those days of such rapid progress, but such is the life I’ve chosen.
As a trainer, I’m sure many other fitness pros can relate. Going into the gym and doing our routine training schedules has become so ingrained with us, that it’s difficult to imagine a life devoid of this activity. However, just because it’s so ingrained in us, doesn’t mean boredom never sets in.
Within the last year, I found myself questioning my purpose for training. I was in a position where I was fairly content with my strength, health, and physique, and began asking myself, “So, uh, what’s next?”
This is when I needed some intervention. I got in touch with my friend Steve, who is a trainer across town and said, “My training is in your hands, write me a program on YOUR terms.”
At first this was hard for me – handing my training over to someone else. I mean, wasn’t I supposed to be more than capable of writing my own training? Sure, but I wanted to remove myself from the equation. I needed a fresh program that would push me outside of my comfort zone – even if it meant working my abs deliberately (something I detest) in a circuit-style fashion at the end of my training bout.
As a result, I started to break through plateaus and training was, well, fun again. This was a breath of fresh air considering I began to question why I was actually training in the first place, even though I had plenty of reasons.
Just the other day, I was having a conversation with another trainer at Next Level Fitness here in Nashville. He has a similar background as I – been active for his entire life, involved in sports, etc. He’d gotten so tired of strength training, but had to find something that would challenge him and keep him fit. After all, being a fit example for our clients is very important in our line of work.
So what was his solution? He filled the void with Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He now trains actively with other guys and schedules fights on occasion.
So what about you? Are you a fitness professional in need of a change in your programming? Are you lacking motivation to train as much as you used to?
If so, I’ve got 3 simple solutions to stay motivated with your training:
1. Get Out of Your Own Way
Hire a coach – yes, let go of your old habits and put trust in another fitness professional to guide you on a personalized training plan. It might not be easy at first, but having another set of eyes can go a long way in your development. We tend to be biased when it comes to building our own training programs – we often find it easier to make things less strenuous on ourselves and operate in our comfort zone.
Having a coach who can be objective about your current fitness levels and goals will prove very beneficial to you as they lack the bias you possess. In short, they’ll make you do what’s truly best for you, not what you think is best.
I’ve found my strength improves when following a well-designed plan from another fitness pro because they usually have me doing something else than what I’d normally choose for myself. It’s also worth mentioning doing such a thing removes the added stress we often inflict upon ourselves when worrying about our programming, and subsequently making unnecessary changes every few weeks or so.
2. Get Competitive
Maybe you’ve got your training in order, but you need an extra element to get you fired up again. If this is the case, get competitive. f you’re a fan of powerlifting, join a club. Train with the other athletes and plan for your first lifting meet.
If you happen to enjoy Olympic lifting, find a good coach to help you prepare for a contest and don’t back out! Work your tail off and see where you’re at once competition time arrives. Maybe you enjoy more endurance-related activities. If so, check out those events as well. Most cities will have sponsored endurance events (5k’s triathlons, marathons, etc.).
It doesn’t matter what it is you choose to participate in, as long as it’s something you enjoy doing and gives purpose to your training.
3. Create New Goals
If you’re a bodybuilder and tired of the voluminous training programs, just do something different. Perhaps you can swap out the volume for daily squatting like many of the Olympic lifters do? If you aren’t into that, just cut your training back to three or four days per week for a while.
This is something I can wholly relate to as I’ve become fascinated in building up a respectable Oly-style back squat. So, as a result, I try to squat every time I enter the gym, regardless of my main training focus is for that day. It doesn’t take long to get warmed up and working up to a max squat of 3-5 reps. Once I’m done with my top set, I rack the weights and move onto my focus for the day, whether it be back and biceps, chest and shoulders or leg-emphasis.
Regardless of the goal you choose – make sure it’s realistic for the time frame and that you have a plan of action. Know exactly where you’re going and what you’ll do to get there.
What Really Matters
In the end, it doesn’t matter what you’re training for – just as long as you’re doing something. If you have nothing specific to work towards, why not train because it’s simply good for you?
A recent Facebook status read like this, "Someone asked me what I was training for. I told them I’m training for life." I took this to mean she was training for longevity and healthy living, as we know regular exercise and movement contributes to a much better quality of life for most.
What about you? How do stay motivated with your own training?