If you've ever taken a step back and looked at when your most productive during the day, you will see a clear pattern. Some people are early birds who like to get things done first thing in the morning and others are night owls who love the solitude and quiet of late nights. And in between these two extremes everyone else just sort of muddles through.
The bottom line though is everyone has motivation to get things done because they either have to, want to, or wish to.
For working out it's more often than not a question of 'wish to'. They wish they were slimmer, more muscular, more toned, whatever. So the real trick here is to find the right time of day for you to get the most of your workout.
Timing of exercise is very important for your motivation and we first need to understand how our bodies function over a 24-hour day.
Our biological clock helps to regulate sleep patterns, when we eat, blood pressure and body temperature. These “circadian rhythms” have long been associated with many aspects of physical performance, health and well-being.
Do you work in an office and find yourself getting a little sleepy after lunch, especially around 3pm? Well, if you're in a 9-5 gig you're pretty normal because that's the low point in many office workers circadian rhythm.
So, if you wish to achieve your workout goals, make sure you choose the best time of day where you're motivated, have the most energy, positive attitude and most importantly, willingness to actually get up and do something about your life by working out.
Remember that coach you had who really got you going in your favourite sport in school?
Well, think of a good training partner as your own personal coach. It's all about encouragement and urging you on to do better, finish the exercise and perform at your best.
Don't get me wrong, working out on your own works for many people in the gym and at home. But to get the most out of your workouts by being even more motivated, you really need a buddy to help motivate you. Someone who can spot you on heavy lifts, hassle you for not going to the gym and generally urge you on to higher levels of performance.
Probably the most famous workout buddies are Arnold Schwarzenegger and Franco Columbo. If you've ever read 'Education of a Bodybuilder' you'll know what I mean. These guys had fun, reached the top of their game in the Mr. Olympia contests and were great friends.
Talk about motivation, just look at some of the pictures in the book and you'll see what I mean. One picture in particular that springs to mind is Arnie grimacing while doing heavy dumbell flys.
These guys were seriously determined to be the best in their game and you can totally read it on their faces.
It's amazing how time flys by in life and before you know it another day, week, month or even year is gone. It then begs the question, 'Did I accomplish what I wanted over that time?" Well, unless you set your exercise goals it's hard to actually measure any results, or for that matter motivate yourself to do better.
The trick with goals is to set achievable goals which are a bit beyond your personal expectations.
So let's say you want to increase your max on the bench press. You've been stuck on 225 forever and you just haven't been able to get to say 250. If you take a step back and think, hmm if I increase my max by just 5lb per week I can definitely be there by the end of the month right? I certainly think so if you have the overall ability and you know your good for more.
One of the key aspects of workout goals is that they can produce an impressive cumulative result. It's a layering process which if each goal is reached, adds up to a big achievement at the end of the month or year.
You will lose motivation however if you set the bar too high so always be ambitious, but realistic.
As Clint Eastwood famously said in Magnum Force, 'A mans' got to know his limitations'.
I would be lost without my music to motivate me for workouts. It's a bit like getting ready to go out on the weekend or driving fast on a winding road in a muscle car. Whether it's some hard hitting rock n roll or some serious club music, it gets your adrenaline going, your heart pumping and your're ready to go! Total motivation.
A word of caution though, some music can get you too worked up and a bit delusional about your abilities. Seriously, if you put on something like AC/DCs 'Thunderstruck' or 'Walk All Over You' and then get a bit too ambitious with your lift, you might just get stuck.
So just make sure you either a) Have a lifting buddy b) A good rack system(weights not stereo) or c) Can dump the weights if needed w/o going through the floor. Advice doesn't get any more practical than this, trust me.
Really the best thing to do for getting psychologically pumped up for your workout is to have a set of regular tracks that your used to hearing and can play parallel to your sets. Think of the songs which are the right pace/tempo for doing warm up, middle, max and then winding down sets.
And just remember if anyone interrupts you, make sure you pause the music immediately. By doing so it makes it much easier to pickup where you left off in your sets.
Oh yeah, and make sure you quickly tell whoever interrupted you in the first place to take a hike and 'talk to me later.'
Speed lifts (e.g., box squats, speed deads & speed bench) are essential to increasing strength, acceleration and power.
One of the main reasons we go to the gym is to build muscle mass. The first year we start training we make insane progress, then all of a sudden we hit a brick wall and all progress begins to plateau.