Motivation Tips for Sticking to Your Workout Routine – Guest Post by Gym Junkies

August 21, 2009

Today I am putting up a guest post from Vic over at Gym Junkies. Although my workout philosophy is different than what Vic teaches, the guy keeps in amazing condition year round and has my respect. I’m the first to admit that there are many, many approaches to getting lean and fit and I would be skeptical of anyone who claims to have “the only way that works”. Gym Junkies might be the most organized fitness blogs online today. My favorite part is the “How to” videos that are organized in the left hand sidebar. The site is just full of step-by-step instruction and feels almost like a paid course in strength training.

motivation tips to exercise

[Once you get lean, it is easier to stay motivated to eat well and workout. The key is to get to he point where you feel like you look great. Once you feel and look your best, you won’t want to go back.]

So I asked Vic to Do a Post on Motivation. Here’s Why…

Gym Junkies has so much outstanding step-by-step info, that I wanted you guys to go over to his site and watch his videos and learn specific techniques. For this post, I just wanted him to write some tips people can follow to stay motivated. All the “How to” stuff is already over on his site, so these are tips to actually stay motivated enough to do the work.

Motivation Tips for Sticking to Your Workout
-by Vic Magary

vic lean

You know the cycle all too well. An important event comes up where you want to look your absolute best – it could be a beach vacation, wedding, high school reunion…And you do it – you stick to the diet, bust your ass in the gym, and get your body looking absolutely fabulous. For a weekend.

And then it’s binge time. A whole lot of late night pizza and beer while watching Ironman on your big screen for the twelfth time and you’re right back to where you started. Or even worse than when you started. It’s time to stop the quick fix merry-go-round and make a life-long commitment to being healthy and looking great.

Here are some tips to help you do that…

Stop Being a Victim

Everyone that has a problem with their weight or how their body looks, always has an irrational reason outside of themselves to blame for them being that way. Always…

I do. You do. We all do.

It’s a TOUGH pill to swallow. Basically by not being where we want to be in life we rationalize it to ourselves by blaming our problem on something else. That could be our genetics, our metabolism, our job, not having enough time, having kids, not having enough money….or whatever.

Everyone does this, and sometimes we won’t even admit these things to ourselves because by doing so we are admitting that we failed. But by rationalizing our problem we allow ourselves to put the blame on something or someone else.

Like I said this is the harsh reality and a tough pill to swallow. It hit me like a ton of bricks when I first realized this.

Don’t let yourself be a victim, and don’t rationalize why you’re in the spot you are in now. Admit to yourself that you’re in the situation you’re in because of what YOU’VE done, and then make a change.

Intrinsic Trumps Extrinsic For Long Term Change

Finding your motivation to get in shape outside of yourself in something such as a big event, an article of clothing you want to fit into, or to impress friends, family, or the object of your affection is a recipe for crash and burn.

Sure you’ll hit the gym and tighten up the diet until you reach that extrinsic goal. But what about afterwards? When the event passes, the clothing goes out of style, and the object of your affection is no longer so shiny and new your motivation to stay fit will wane.

However if your motivation to train stems from a personal standard that you hold yourself to – meaning your values – then you have long term fuel to sustain consistent results.

Deep down you need to have a personal belief that caring for your body with proper nutrition, exercise, and rest is your own responsibility.

Another helpful tip is to surround yourself with friends who have healthy habits…

Find A New Clique

It’s been said that your net financial worth can be predicted by taking the average net worth of the five people you spend the most time with outside of your job. Well I’ll make the bold claim that your health and fitness can be predicted by taking the average nutrition and exercise habits of the five people you spend the most time with.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you have to excommunicate your friends if their not in tip-top shape. I am suggesting that if your friends have health and fitness habits that are not at least at your own level you should occasionally swim in different circles.

Find a new gym partner or take a mixed martial arts class where most of the people in the group are in better shape than you. Try a new activity like indoor rock climbing and find a training partner who has more experience than you. Or ditch the gym completely and start doing some home workouts with your spouse or friend.

Whatever you do, push yourself out of your comfort zone and surround yourself with people who are in better shape than you…

Your Mindset Is EVERYTHING

If you have a fat person mindset, no amount of exercise and diet is going to make you thin over the long haul. You’ll always have fat person tendencies, and sooner or later you’ll “snapback” into your old self.

Have you ever wondered why half the people on the Biggest Loser end up gaining all their weight back? Its all about mindset and willpower. Hell anyone could lose weight living in a hotel and only being fed healthy food with no distractions or temptations around.

But when you get back into the real world and one day you’re late for work and you stop at McDonald’s for breakfast, then its only a matter of time before the whole cycle starts again…

If you want to be lean and thin forever, you MUST have the mentality of a lean person…

Here’s some tips to help…

Put It On Autopilot

You don’t want to have to think about your fitness training. Or what you are going to eat each day. There will be exceptions to this with vacations and holidays, but in the normal day-to-day, preplanning your training and food intake is the recipe for long term success.

Keep your workouts at the same times and days each week. That’s pretty basic and many people already do that, so let’s take it a step further.

Make it a habit to pre-pack all of the gear and clothes you need for training the night before. Make a checklist if you have to – iPod charged, check; workout shorts packed, check. What ever you need to do, you want to do it the same way each time. You want a procedure that with repetition becomes a habit.

And do the same with your nutrition: If you’re trying to lose fat, then pre planning your meals is KEY. I always do my grocery shopping, cooking, and packaging of my meals for the week on Sunday. Then you don’t have to think about what to eat when you are tired and stressed – it’s already been prepared and you’ve set yourself up for success.

Sometimes it can be fun and challenging to get in awesome shape for a big event. But it is even more rewarding when the unexpected happens – whether that’s a pickup basketball game of shirts versus skins or an impromptu skinny dipping session – and you have the confidence that you are always ready to go.

Let your training be fueled by your personal values, hang out with people who are in better shape than you, and set yourself up for success by preplanning your training and diet and you’ll always be in shape for those special occasions.

Conclusion

We can sit here and debate calories vs. carbs or circuit training vs long slow running all day, but if you don’t have the mindset of the person you want to be, then you’ll never change.

Real, long term change comes from within.

Register for my free workout videos by clicking here—> Gym Junkies Free Video Workout Series

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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Vic Magary August 21, 2009 at 4:24 pm

Thanks Rusty!!!

Ill be here to answer any questions you guys have!

– Vic

Helder August 21, 2009 at 5:13 pm

All in the mind, all in really really wanting, most people say they want to, but they don’t, because if they really wanted they would find the motivation to get over lazyness.

One point that i really liked was stop being a victim, most people like to blame others, and situations, there’s always an excuse for failures, i think we’ve all been there, but one has to get out of that state and assume full responsability for everything.

Al August 21, 2009 at 8:15 pm

Yeah that whole stop being a victim thing is probally the biggest thing people will have to realize. If you keep on making excuses you’ll never follow thru, probally the biggest stumbling block for people trying to be more active.

Auzzie Dave August 21, 2009 at 8:33 pm

Hey Vic,

I recently took approximately 3 months off from lifting and most cardio exercise because of health issues. 10 pounds lighter now than I was before. What program would you recommend for someone at approximately 12% body fat 6’0 and 163 pounds. My goal is for a v-shape with broad shoulders and a narrow waist (low bf). Any advice regarding HIIT, Eat Stop Eat, lifting etc. would be greatly appreciated. I am finding it difficult with the excess of information on the internet to actually lay out a plan. There seems to be so much conflicting information. Thanks.

Josh August 22, 2009 at 12:12 am

Thanks for the post Vic!
I think what you said about mindset is dead on. Everybody I have ever known who has lost weight and become healthy first had a radical shift in mindset. For a lot of people it can be as something as beautiful as the birth of a child, for others it has been something tragic such as the death of a loved one or something frightning such as a heart attack. But whatever it was something about their being changed. On the other hand I have known WAYY too many of the “I’m going to start on Monday guys.” Usually these guys have unrealistic expectations from the jump such as getting ripped in a month when they weigh 250lbs and have not exercised since the sixth grade. They tend to jump ship when one style does not deliver immediate results. I have been there! I was doing Mike Mentzer style HIT workouts and the gains were not coming fast enough so instead of staying the course I switched over to Crossfit style work, that too wasnt getting me to the promised land fast enough so I started doing kettlebells, then got so frustrated I quit training all together! Point here is that there is no one perfect system. People should find something they enjoy and stick with it. I now train 2-3x per week using a high intensity on compound lifts with weights and follow it up with brief intervals or bodyweight circuts. It is something that is not obsessive, that I enjoy, that is not all consuming and that I can see myself doing for the rest of my life and to me thats just the ticket!

Rick August 22, 2009 at 1:32 am

great post. it really helps me to get my things all ready to go to the gym the night before, so that when I wake up at 5 am, I just put on my gym clothes and walk out the door (after a cup of coffee of course).

Shaun August 22, 2009 at 5:55 am

Thanks for this Vic

The mindset really is everything! I’ve talked about that for years. You have to first think of being the person you want to be, start living your life like that person you want to be and then it will happen. might sound like mental baloney but that is how it is. AUTOPILOT!
Another thing i talk on daily that people just don’t get, it’s good that you went into detail on that too.

again, great post

Shaun
stayfitbug

Lia August 22, 2009 at 8:08 am

This is an very nice post. Well explained and direct. I’m gonna show it to my Healthy Lifestyles class!

Michael - The Fat Loss Authority August 22, 2009 at 9:37 am

Vic,

Good post. I couldn’t agree more about a persons mindset with respect to getting fit. You can have all the knowledge and tools, but without goal setting and motivation, you really have nothing.

Mike

Jess August 22, 2009 at 10:27 am

Thanks for info Vic, your posts so adequately give the shove that we often need.
Good point you made about motivation-the number 1 reason for consistency, Ive found, is the lasting confidence, particularly rewarding in ‘unexpected’ events, as you mentioned.
For me, the motivation problem comes with pushing a little harder to maintain peak leaness; without a ‘goal’ event, sometimes I become complacent with my workouts and allow bf % to creep up slightly.
Any tips to keep workouts exciting and challenging? I Was thinking about joining crossfit (its just a bit costly).
Thanks for the great reminders!

Vic Magary August 22, 2009 at 10:29 am

AT 6’0 163, your goal should probably be to put on some weight (unless you like being skinny). I would try to get to 190 lbs or so and then you can cut some fat and try to hover in the 180 or so range.

Being as lean as you are, you wont have to worry about getting fat… I would start with a program like this one from my site and EAT, EAT, EAT. Somehwere around 5,000 calories a day would do you well…

http://www.gymjunkies.com/build-muscle/

Roland August 22, 2009 at 11:59 am

Agreed on most of the tips, but not with one of your opening statements.

[Once you get lean, it is easier to stay motivated to eat well and workout. The key is to get to he point where you feel like you look great. Once you feel and look your best, you won’t want to go back.]

When I was “new” and fat and losing steadily, I was motivated to exercise right, regularly, and hard. I ate right and was motivated to do so by regular progress on the scale and measuring tape. Now that I’m lean and wanting to get even leaner, things are painfully slow to budge. Motivation is hard at this point.

I agree that when I was down to lean and trying to get bigger again or stronger, it was all good, but this is tough right now!

Roland

mickieb August 22, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Hi Vic,

You are absolutely correct about having things set up etc. Its called routine! And routines are what people actually like to have bc it sets up an expected set of behaviors in the long run. Its actually less stress when things are expected. Nothing that jumps at you. Of course, we all have things that happen unexpectedly, but that’s also to be expected! Anyhow, I had started a while back with writing things down. Everything from my diet to exercises etc. It really helps to have it on paper and something I can tweak along the way if needed. I actually do it on my computer in a chart form, so its easy to change things around if I need to. Also, having things on paper lets you see what had happened to be able to correct or learn from or know that something worked. As you said, make it a habit, a good habit though. I still find myself, at times, slip into an old habit, but I catch it and move ahead. Kind of a personal behavior therapy! Thanks alot for your article!

mickieb August 22, 2009 at 12:14 pm

Also, as far as hanging around positive influence circles, for me, thats difficult, bc Im a middle aged woman and unfortunately, there really arent that many females who have my kind of strive for health attitudes. However, I ve found that I am perfectly fine doing this on my own. Well actually, I have you guys!

Rahim August 22, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Fantastic post. I’m gonna save this for when I need motivation. That’s so true about the company you keep too. It reminds me of something that rapper Chuck D said. “If you can’t change the people around you, then Change the people around you.”

Elle August 22, 2009 at 4:46 pm

Rusty, I’m not sure, but I think Vic just bumped Hugh Jackman out of my Top 5.

Excellent, excellent post, Vic. ๐Ÿ™‚

gunner August 22, 2009 at 9:42 pm

hey rusty love your site
I am college student. Ive just really learned about nutrition in the last year or so got below 10% I had a question reguarding partying and nacho nights. See i am a college student like I said but maybe 1 to 2 times a week I like to go out and party it up. I think thats what lifes all about. How do you manage to stay lean while partying. Do you just stay in a deficit and just go out one or two times. I followed lyle flexible dieting and did the refeeds but I would rather maybe twice a week have a free meal and enjoy myself instead of following something like that so strict. see I am 6 ft 170 I would like to stay so where would you set the calories up so I could enjoy myself and still be in a deficit? thanks man great site

Terry August 23, 2009 at 9:09 am

Great post, Vic.

I’ve actually been distancing myself lately from some freinds who want me to get fat like them. They have this notion that if everyone would just get fat all their problems would be solved. Totally irrational.

Anyway good tips on motivation. I can never get enough of it.

Rafi Bar-Lev August 23, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Vic,

I totally agree that it’s important to hang around fitness oriented people. I actually once read in the national geographic about this guy who travels around the world learning from cultures who live long lives and how he suggests you should ditch your non-healthy friends.

While I don’t have such an extreme take myself, there’s definitely something to be said about hanging around people who share the habits you want to have. Anyway, great post!

-Rafi

Brock August 24, 2009 at 1:47 am

Another great post! This site keeps getting better. Keep up the great work Rusty.

-Brock

Norbi August 24, 2009 at 7:45 am

Hey Vic,

excellent guest post! I took a look at your site, and it looks very useful and informative, and I love your style, on your site one kinda feels like a high school student being pushed by a tough physics teacher. ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, as for the topic, I also think it’s important to find an activity you enjoy doing. I think it helps a LOT. Exercising becomes something you enjoy and look forward to, instead of being a chore that has to be done in order to…whatever, look good, lose weight, etc. It’s a lot easier to stick to something you actually enjoy… I found that in Krav Maga (sort of self defense system). I’d encourage everyone to find something they like, and that would solve most of their motivation problems in my opinion, or at least make it a lot easier for themselves.

Norbi August 24, 2009 at 7:55 am

OK one question Vic, just for you ๐Ÿ™‚ … I’m a 23 yo male, I just got down from 182lbs to around 146lbs in 4 months (that was fat), so now I’m at around 10% BF and I’m looking to gain some muscle mass (but not at all cost)… what’s your take on drinking a lot of milk a day? (some say 1 gallon / day, I’d rather stick to half of it though). I kinda heard it’s an old school routine, but it a kind of sounds reasonable if one has a problem with jacking up their daily calorie intake otherwise. What’s your opinion?

Thanks,
Norbi

Physique Bodyware USA August 24, 2009 at 7:58 am

Thanks Vic for these useful tips & advice. My sister-in-law was 85kgs & she decided to loose weight after 7- 8 months she weighed 65 kgs. Its all about Mindset & Will Power.

The Spaniard August 24, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Rusty, I might be wrong, but I think that Vic’s response to Auzzie Dave just proves what I have been saying for a while: a lot of guys that write in your blog are way too skinny (I also think that Brad Pitt and Giganget are pretty skinny for their height). I remember in a past entry that I told someone that I thought he was skinny because of his height (I compared him to Christian Bale in The Machinist)…I admit that my comparison was a little bit extreme, but I still think that some of the weights I read in your blog are also pretty extreme. I am 5’11, and when I was really in shape in my 20’s playing rugby (and soccer and basketball – golf was the day I relaxed) my weight was around 172 pounds. There are guys here who are 6’0 tall and higher and they weight 163 pounds.

Patrick August 24, 2009 at 3:31 pm

Hey Spaniard,

I think you are exactly right. I’m 6’0 and right about 172, 7bf and I play basketball and run on the treadmill just about daily. I couldn’t imaging getting down in the 160’s. I’m pretty amazed too when I read about some of these numbers. Anyways just so you know I was thinking the exact same thing as you.

Matthew Gagliano August 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm

Vic-
Dead on. I’ve been preaching mindset to my clients for years. I think trainers in general have a tough time understanding this aspect of their clients success. Most of the time I think trainers spend a majority of their time trying to explain what exercise works what muscle group, etc etc. Important for sure but quite frankly the client just wants to get in shape they are not there for an anatomy lesson. I think if the most positive effect a trainer can have on a client can be with psychology and mindset definitely belongs under psych! I just wrote an article on extrinsic vs intrinsic motivation, so the blog post was timely and I was happy to see it on the fitness black book!! Keep up the good word.

Vic Magary August 24, 2009 at 5:39 pm

@ Norbi, I think it works well for skinny guys. You’ll prolly put on 3% or so bodyfat from it, but its worth it. You can do it for 1-2 months and put on 10-20 lbs. As long as you dont have stomach problems with Milk, I say go for it!

One of my clients who is 6’0 went from 153 to 180 over a 3 month span doing half a gallon per day…

– Vic

Nathan Schmitt August 25, 2009 at 7:01 pm

Great post Vic! I don’t know if you’ve seen it already but TED posted a new talk a few days ago on motivation. The speaker, Dan Pink, talks in plain english about the science behind what you discuss here and you’re right on (link below). Very interesting stuff about rewards via extrinsic v. intrinsic motivation.

http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation.html

Camille August 26, 2009 at 9:00 am

Thanks for this, I really want to lose weight but at times I feel so discouraged like it will never happen. I need to lose like 60lbs, and it feels impossible Thanks for these Motivation tips.

Marion August 26, 2009 at 1:15 pm

I agree, make working out part of your daily routine. I work out every day at lunchtime. It gets me up and away from my desk. If I miss a work out the day seems so long and I lose my energy by 3pm. I work out with a group of guys, who are also my motivation. If I don’t go workout they give me crap! So, I do have others to answer too.

Studio Element Personal Training August 26, 2009 at 9:52 pm

As a personal trainer, of course I would say that working with one is the best solution to motivation.:) What can also help is meeting with a friend to hold you accountable and to just mix it up with different activities as much as possible.

BetterBody August 30, 2009 at 5:48 pm

Great advice all around. There aren’t enough posts about motivation out there, yet it’s probably the most important thing when getting your ass in shape!

John September 7, 2009 at 10:35 am

Motivation?

The best motivational technique ever invented for men: Find a hot woman that you really want. This works best if you’re single.

If you’re married, obviously there are a lot of considerations* – moral, ethical and metallic. Metallic being that your wife finds out you’re chasing some cute little thing and cuts THEM off one night while you’re asleep. Anyway . . . I’m off the subject. Chasing hot babes is guaranteed to make you walk straighter, eat less and work more.

* If overwhelming guilt prevents you from using the hot babe technique, go watch one of those shows on The Learning Channel where they have to take down a wall to bring in a forklift to remove some 1034 pound man out of bed and into a hospital where they will slice off 100-pound slabs of greasy, bloody fat at a time. That works too.

Susan December 7, 2009 at 12:16 am

I would also have to say that motivation is hard! But when you are married it makes it easier because you feed of the motivation of the other. My husband and I have been going strong for months now and we are in the best shape of our lives!

Susan

Francis March 25, 2010 at 9:20 pm

Excellent Post VIC!

This post has helped me REALSIE alot about myself and what i have to change. I have recently stopped smoking(for good) and gain more wieght from eating instead of smoking i guess and an unhealthy lifestyle which doesnt help things i.e. drinking alot of alcohol, no sport activites, lazy days from nights out before…it goes on. i do have a goal and kind of a date to get fit by, which now has made me realise i want for life. Its kjust getting into that state of mind and routine and i guess not being another one of your FRIEND!

Ken - Golf Instruction Books May 29, 2010 at 2:32 am

It is so true about the company that you keep and not just being fit. If you truly want to stay motivated in what every you want to do, you should surround your with people who have that same mindset. If not, these people will weigh you down just like an anchor.

Great post…

Stay Fit Nutrition September 10, 2010 at 6:29 pm

Very good point Ken! The friends you keep are very influential in our behaviors and habits. For that reason alone is why it is important to try and go to the gym at the same time every day so you will see the same people and it will be easier to build friendships. Once you have friends at the gym it will no longer be a “drag” to go the gym, but you will want to go to the gym because the gym can be fun when you have someone to enjoy it with.

Nick Rainey- workout book February 4, 2011 at 2:09 pm

I agree with so much in this that I had to comment. It’s easier to eat healthier when you’ve been working out. It also helps a ton to have people around you doing it so they don’t ride you and tell you it’s not a big deal. You also can’t think about your fitness level and workout routines daily. Motivation is huge and I think this article does a great job of describing what is needed.

keep fit October 15, 2011 at 5:49 pm

The mirror can be your best motivation. Don’t avoid it – use it to be honest with yourself.

sean koon December 11, 2011 at 9:35 am

Great post. Makes sense to keep it rational, honest, and plan a head for the “irregular” days.

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