Keeping on track... our 5 top tips to keep your motivation high
Based on your 3, 6 or 12 month goals, you’ll have been keen to get out and get started.
From the moment you start your first session, the new choices you are making are reality, and hopefully the handy guide below to help keep yourself on track over the whole of the first few weeks and months.
Here are our top 5 tips:
- Don’t go out too hard or too fast!
This is a really common mistake people make - especially true for the guys returning to sport who can remember what they used to be able to do, or who try and keep up with the youngsters. Trying to do too much too soon and before you are ready, greatly increases the chances of you getting injured or pushing yourself to a point where you feel dreadful. If you haven’t done any activity for some time, then you have to accept that it will take time to get into a routine, for your body to adapt to the new demands being placed on it.
- Set yourself 5 specific measures for the first month.
The reason I’m saying 5 measures is that losing weight is often a key motivator to start exercising or a new activity, but having that as your only measure or key success is a sure way to pile the pressure on. You can end up storing a lot of your emotions on a single number without appreciating some of the other benefits that will undoubtably have happened during the first month of your journey. I would recommend taking 5 measures from the following list
- Fitness Feeling - Your Personal Score of 1 to 10
- Diet Score - Your Personal Score of 1 to 10 of how you feel you are eating and drinking
- Body Measures : Waist Size ; Hip Size - As you start regular activity, your body composition will start to change. Your weight may go up or down (depending what you are doing) so I recommend tracking your personal size/shape to see HOW it is changing.
- Body Confidence - Your personal score of 1 to 10 in how happy you are with your body
- Social Score - Personal score of 1 to 10 - Has exercise or activity made a difference to my social life? Do I tell people what I am doing? Am I getting support from friends and family? Have I made new friends?
- Learn to Listen to Your Body
No Pain No Gain is TERRIBLE advice - if it hurts, it is your body’s way of giving you a warning that some damage has occured.
You do need to be able to listen to your body and tell the difference between acceptable soreness from exercising muscles that are unused to exercise and the pain or soreness from injuries. If you get a sharp pain suddenly appear - STOP and take a minute. Try to diagnose the source of the pain accurately. If you then try to repeat the movement and the sharp pain is there again - stop your current session and assess yourself carefully.
If you get an ache, or start to become a little sore as you are exercising, then manage and monitor. Is it due to increased load or multiple repetitions? Does the pain stop once you stop the movement and rest for a moment?
A great basic treatment for soft tissue injury or soreness is to use the acronym: RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)
Rest - stop the exercise and allow your body to rest.
Ice - a bag of frozen peas, ice in a freezer bag and apply to the sore area to cool it down.. (Make sure you put any ice in a tea towel so you don't freeze burn your skin!)
Compression - Apply compression and pressure to the area
Elevation - raise the area above the heart
- No-one is looking at you - no-one cares except yourself
This is a really important one, especially for the more body conscious or shy people, but it is often the most difficult one for people to accept. When you are taking part in a sport or gym session, you can often feel like people are looking at you, judging you, critical eyes and comments. In 99% of the case, this just isn’t true. When you think about it, everyone else is concentrating on their activity and performance, and many are probably thinking the same thing… which means that in reality, no-one is really paying any attention to you.. The 1% can be divided into:
- Your family or friends - which is a good thing, as they will be wanting to help you
- Your coaches or team mates - which is a good thing, as they will be wanting to help you
- Accept that you will be rubbish..
It used to be stated that you need 10,000 hours for excellence! This myth has been de-bunked, but the general rule of thumb is that you’ll need to put some time into your chosen activity before you become competent or excellent…
Which means at first, you’ll probably be rubbish.. and this can apply across a number of things.. You’ll drop things, trip over, fall off, miss, bump, crash.. but everyone does.. so don't worry about it and in a few short months, you'll be able to look back and smile about it..
- Smile and Enjoy your journey :-)