Fitness firsts: motivation

Editor’s Note: The Advocate is pleased to welcome a new blogger, Lee Stewart, our new fitness guru.

How do you stay motivated?

This is a very important question! It can mean the difference between losing 50 pounds or only five.  So where does it come from? The answer to this can be very broad so I am just  going to concentrate on one aspect, goals. At the end of the day our goals are what keep us going. They are why we are doing this in the first place! Your goals get you through hard workouts or keep you on track when you are tired, sore, or busy. This is why having clear goals is so important. Whenever any of my clients or trainers felt unmotivated I go back to their goals to give them that extra push.

Now this may seem simple- but from being in the fitness industry for 12 plus years it is anything but. Most people in the gym don’t have specific goals in there head. If you went up to a handful of people on any Gym floor and asked them what their goals are they first may think you are weird and intrusive, but secondly would have a loose idea of what they wanted nothing extremely specific. It is hard to be and stay motivated if you don’t know what you want.

Think of it this way, you get on a cruise ship for a vacation— for some this may be enough, however if you are paying thousands of dollars you want to go somewhere. You get on the ship with your luggage and realize the crew is shorthanded, there is no captain or charts and no one knows where they are going. I can tell you if they pull anchor they are going to end on the rocks.

Clarity is power! The clearer you can be with your goals the more motivation you will have and the easier it will be to find. How do you set really clear goals then? One tool personal trainers as well as many other professionals use is called “SMART goals”.

SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Action Oriented, Realistic and Timed.

Specific – Your goals should be extremely clear. You should be able to picture what you look like when you have reached them, who you are with, what clothes you will be wearing, how you will feel when you have reached your goal. Sometimes this isn’t always easy, some common answers I hear are- I want to get fit, I want to feel better –if this is where you are at ask yourself follow-up questions. What does being fit mean to you? Why is it important to you? What are you doing when you are fit? What do you look like?  How do you feel?
Measurable—I want to lose 25 pounds. If you are working with a goal that isn’t extremely clear such as lowering stress levels or increasing energy use a 1-10 scale as a reference point. Example: I want to get my energy from a 5 to a 9.
Action oriented – How are you going to reach this? If your goal is losing 25 lbs how many sessions will it take per week to make sure this is happening? What time will you be going to the Gym or working out? A trainer or fitness professional can help you with this if you are not clear on what it will take to reach your goal.
Realistic—If you want to lose 20 lbs in a month its probably not going to happen. Ask a fitness professional if you aren’t completely sure what is achievable in an appropriate time. Example: A healthy weight loss is 1- 1.5lbs down a week through diet and exercise.
Timed— When is the end date? I want to lose 20 lbs by June 21. You need to have a deadline, this helps with accountability.
So, putting it all together; I want to lose 25 pounds by Oct 1, 2017. Then I can play Hockey with my little boy because I want to spend more time with him. I want to gain muscle through my chest and back and get into a size 32 Jeans, haven’t worn those since High School. I want to have more energy so I don’t crash when I get home from work and I don’t want to have knee or back pain anymore. I want to be happy!

This is extremely clear. I can paint a picture in my head of this person and the easier to see the more you can make it a reality. When you are feeling down and not as motivated go back to this picture and think of how good you are going to feel this time next year. If you don’t know why you are doing something then nine times out of 10 you won’t do it. So set SMART goals and work out that motivation muscle.

If you have any questions about goal setting or what to do next feel free to reach out to me at leejamesathletics@gmail.com.

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Heather Brimicombe
Heather Brimicombe is a Pictou County native and graduate from the University of King's College in Halifax with a Bachelor of Journalism Honours degree as well as a combined major in Sustainability. She has previously won a Canadian Communities Newspapers award for a multimedia feature and was part of a team nominated for a Canadian Association of Journalism data award in the investigative category. Photography, art, sports and outdoor activities are all hobbies of hers as well as crafting, and baking.