We’ve all been there. We are on a training streak and everything is running like a well-oiled machine. Our program is perfect, out workouts are flawless, and we have the momentum like a freight train. Then, one day, whether by happenchance or some fluke of life, that train comes to a screeching halt and we get knocked down right on our arse.
You think that you’ll be able to dust yourself off and get the train rolling again but, as nature would have it, you just can’t manage the same muster you did prior. A number of factors could be to blame. Perhaps you’ve reached a different point in your life and you don’t react to the same routine as you once did, or maybe your priorities have changed and you honestly don’t have the desire to be the biggest and strongest dude in the gym. Whatever the case, you need a boost. You need to rekindle that enthusiasm you once had.
6 Tips to Get Yourself Rolling Again
Below are a few tactics to try if you’re having a difficult time finding motivation and need a little enthusiasm to start down the tracks again. Some are no-brainers, yes, but at times we all need to review the simple stuff in life in order to progress.
1. Stop overthinking things
More tinkering with the machine sometimes isn’t the solution. It may just bury you deeper into the rut you got in in the first place. More sets, reps, weight, overall volume, intensity, or crazy-sounding techniques just won’t do the trick this time. Another practice that is common is the act of doing more research on the latest programs or asking around for help with your training.
Do yourself a favor and stop overthinking this whole training thing. Always remember the big picture. In order to spur any progress in your training, you’ll have to push a bit beyond your limits each session, eat a well-balanced diet, get appropriate rest, and know when to back off. That’s it. Most successful programs are the simplest ones full of basic exercises, schedules, and techniques. Hard work, consistency, and common sense will reign supreme every time. Additionally, it’ll be easier to adjust your program when things are kept simple.
2. Re-establish your goals
Do you know what you want out of training? Is it the same as it was five years ago? How about three years ago? Maybe you’ve just been going through the motions and have no direction. You aimlessly go to the gym and, like an old man sitting down to watch a game show, you perform your workout just as you did last week. Rep for rep and set for set—it’s all a broken record.
Do yourself a favor, sit down with pen and paper and write down what you want out of your training. No matter how outlandish or long-term it may sound, write it down word for word. Be as clear and succinct as possible without reserve. The simpler the goal, the more it will make sense and the more it will be attainable. Don’t complicate things by getting wordy or too complex with explanation. At the end of the exercise, you will have established a clear vision of where you want your training to take you.
3. Do something new every day
The merry-go-round of training will do only one thing: give you what you’ve always gotten. Ask yourself some serious questions: How have you changed in the past three months, six months, or even a year? Still lifting the same old weights? Things need to change.
Normally, you would look adopt a new program and then run with it, but I propose for a limited amount of time try something new every single time you enter the gym. Each day do something drastically different than the day prior. You will follow no program, no specific training variable, and no goal. Just go in and do what feels natural and out of left field. For example, you could perform sets of pull-ups until you reach a total of 100 reps or so, perform squats only for a lower body workout, or do a full-body bodyweight session non-stop.
4. Put your confidence in someone else
As human beings we all have some level of ego. I’m talking about the stereotypical type of ego, not the psychologically dissected nuanced reference. We all like to think we can go it alone. We don’t need anyone’s help, much less unsolicited guidance. We are self-motivated leaders who wake up at the crack of dawn, put on our armor, and go to war. We are heroes in our own minds.
But what happens when this lone soldier mentality takes a major hit and gets severely derailed? Or you may just run out of steam always going to extremes with your foot on the gas at all times? Some may say to get a training partner to keep you accountable and focused. But I say take it a step further and put yourself in someone else’s hands altogether. Tell them you are theirs to train and you will do whatever they say. You will be surprised at how liberating this can be once you put your ego aside and decide to put full faith into how they will help you.
5. Set limits
Let me guess, you have a set number of sets, rep ranges, weights, and a roundabout time limit on your workouts right? Over time, the problem can be that your routine gets old, stale, and just downright boring. You don’t need a small adjustment here or there, you need to turn the tables and do something significant. Adopt a limit mentality. Set hard and fast rules on your training and abide by them no matter what.
For example, you can set a crazy time limit for lower body training. Set a time of 30 minutes to complete your normal routine. Sound impossible? This is where you’ll need to be creative in order to be successful. Start taking shorter breaks, superset exercises, cut out all the chit-chat, and you’ll quickly learn what it is to have an intense, efficient, and effective workout. Another example would be to set a rep goal such as 1000 total reps in a single workout. Focusing on more non-traditional methods of training will surely renew your gusto.
6. Take a break
When all else fails you may just need a break. Now, this can be taken several ways. Many see a break from training as a green light to completely let loose with their diet and sedentary habits. Late night sugar feasts, fast food binges, and ample time on the couch binge watching s favorite series is a risk we all run when we decide to take some time off.
A few better options would be to either take a week or so off and still adhere to your healthy eating habits (with a cheat meal or two thrown in) or you could just participate in some other recreational activity while away from the hardcore weights. Whatever you choose, don’t let it be something that puts you back so far that you’ll have to play major catch-up later.