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Train To Gain: Stay Stoked

Ways to keep your motivational fires burning and the gains coming.

The problem of staying highly motivated isn’t one you should take lightly. Even so-called easy gainers are susceptible to trouble in the enthusiasm department, and we all find ourselves slipping every now and then. In fact, if there’s one thing a personal trainer has to offer, it’s encouragement that keeps the trainee pressing on.

Most readers probably don’t have personal trainers to motivate them, so here are some easy-to-use tips that just might help you approach your workouts with more gusto.

1) Always have a specific training goal or objective in mind. Goals are motivational. The specific image in your mind of a definite aim prompts you deep down to go after it. A definite goal gives you a reason to train. You don’t merely work out, you work out for something specific. Your goal should be one that means a great deal to you. Training is a lot like going to school. If you’re there because you must be there, it’s essentially a form of imprisonment; however, if learning fulfills a deep and driving need within you, then going to school is important and even exciting.

Of course, your goal should be realistic. Outrageous goals will only lead to discouragement. Realistic means increasing your strength by five to 10 percent over a reasonable time. If you set the goal of becoming the strongest person in the world, you’re more than likely setting yourself up for disappointment’unless you have superhuman genetics and an iron will.

2) Keep your training program manageable and realistic. Looking forward to a vigorous hour or two of challenging physical training three times a week adds a great deal to your daily routine; however, a schedule that demands three or four hours every evening makes it an exhausting and debilitating grind. Only a dullard could find living in the gym a viable program.

The great John Grimek always stressed the need to enjoy workouts. It makes sense. It’s rather easy to keep on doing that which we enjoy. 3) Vary your training and take brief layoffs after a productive five to nine weeks. Variety in training doesn’t mean deviating from the productive basics. It means fully exploiting all of the variations of quality basics to sustain interest and enthusiasm. Substitute behind-the-neck presses for military presses. Try them sitting if you’ve been standing or vice versa. The average length of time a trainee can keep hammering away at a set routine’and keep progressing’is six weeks. Some can only go four or five, while others can go eight or nine. Find what your best cycle is, train hard for that length of time, then take a few days off’perhaps even a week. Many trainees don’t like to do that, but as long as the cycle was productive, a layoff will rekindle enthusiasm and provide the rest your body needs.

The above steps should make it easier for you to counter the inevitable downturns that, let’s face it, we all must overcome from time to time. Stay motivated, and you’ll be greatly rewarded. IM

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