Let’s face it. When it comes to staying healthy and fit, we’re all battling our inner demons. We struggle everyday to get out of bed – or the sofa – and wonder in amazement at how others could do it. Staying motivated has much to do with the psychology of the mind and social support.
First, understand that we all are creatures of positive reinforcement. No one likes to be told to do something. So when it comes to workouts, choose something that you enjoy doing. Alina Kamaruddin speaks of her gym class, “When choosing a gym, I make sure that it has a variety of classes that fits my personality. I don’t do workouts that I dislike, in this case, zumba. But that’s just one class out of a week and my gym still leaves me with plenty of option to do something else.”
Rewarding yourself after a workout also helps get you committed to more workouts in future. Personal trainer Jonathan Quek says, “I encourage my clients to reward themselves after a good workout – whether they want that ice-cream or that burger bakar.” There is nothing wrong with indulging, especially in food, says Quek “because you have worked hard at burning off those fat, and so long as indulgence is done in moderation, it is a good motivator.”
Self-control is another way to motivate you to exercise more. Understand that every one has limited self-control, and that this resource thins out the longer the day wears on. For example, you have better self-control to plan your day if you start in the morning. As the day goes by, and more variables go into it, you will keep on losing control of what you can or cannot do.
This is why some fitness experts encourage us to exercise in the morning. This is when you’ll have less hurdles and excuses to overcome, for example an over-extended meeting at the office or running errands after work. If a morning workout is simply impossible, then come up with an alternative plan that can help you remove those hurdles or have you work around them.
Finally, embrace the concept of social support. Human beings are by nature, sociable. We like to feel we belong, and whether you admit it or not, we sometimes seek a group’s approval of our actions and behaviour. This is the reason why people who work out in groups fare better in sticking to their exercise routine than one who works out alone. MetCon X founder, Daing Daniel Fitri, explains, “In a group workout such as with MetCon X, you never feel alone. There are always people in your group to motivate and cheer you on, regardless of your fitness levels. Sometimes when you feel like giving up, you won’t because you see others marching on.”
Another reason group workouts are great, he says, is they also motivate you to work harder. “You don’t realise this but in a group, when everyone’s doing it together, you’re more likely to go beyond your comfort zone.” So the next time you plan to workout alone, try roping in a friend or a group. Committing to a workout with others is the best motivating factor to get you out the door and onto the road of fitness.