Hi I am Laura Lansley, Creator of The Strong & Happy Plan, a PT, HIIT/Bootcamp Coach and I have my own Barre fitness class ‘BalletBeats’ in Leigh on Sea.
I wish we could just say the magic word ‘motivation’ and it immediately threw us into action, if only it was that easy. For example, most of us know how good we would feel after exercising, but we can’t seem to bridge the gap between lounging on the sofa, thinking about exercise and then actually doing it.
The issue I have with using the word motivation is that it doesn’t explain the problem. In the end we seem as people to have a multitude of competing desires. Some of these are based in fear, others are linked to over stimulus (normally of the kind that is bad for us…think chocolate or alcohol – these things should not really exists in the un-ending quantities like they do) and others just because they are the easiest path. This last point we can actually turn in our favour and is the basis for some of my advice below.
The human brain is the world’s most efficient short cutting machine. It is literally designed to reorganise neurons and connectors in to efficient pathways. This is what learning is. Your brain literally rewires itself to make you more efficient at what you are doing we all know this because we have the skills and habits today that we have not had in the past.
Going to the gym regularly and eating well is not a gargantuan task for some people. Whilst there are the odd super humans that are never tempted by bad food and live in the gym, most people whom we look up to in this way have been where we are now. The difference is they broke through the learning part – into the habit part. It is supposed to take around 21 days to break a habit and forge a new one. If this is true then this is the hardest part and this is the time where we need the most support.
So with 21 days in mind, let’s keep things simple, but carefully throughout. We just need to set up for success and manage the process like any project, with small tasks that build to a longer term outcome.
Set Some Goals.
Remember why you wanted to start this journey in the first place. Why do you want to lose weight? Why do you want to get stronger? How much weight do you want to lose and by when? Even as a fitness professional I know that if I don’t have any goals in place I will just drift, end up feeling unmotivated and totally lost. I cannot stress how important goals are, not just for fitness, but in every aspect of your life.
Make sure that you set small incremental goals as you will be more inclined to stick with them. Make sure you revisit them often, as you will then get an idea on how far you are away from achieving them. You may need to come up with even smaller goals to achieve the slighter bigger goals so remember to be clear and realistic when making them.
I always get my clients to send me their starting pictures, measurements and weight when they begin a programme with me as it is so important to record progress as this then provides a natural motivation to keep going once they start seeing results.
Don’t go it alone.
Finding an exercise buddy will not only help motivate you, but it gives you that extra accountability as when you make a plan with someone you will not want to be the one to cancel. If you are not naturally motivated to exercise on your own it is so easy to just not go and make those excuses. Find a buddy and be accountable to each other. This is the reason I create a WhatsApp support group for each group of women that sign up to my plan as they know they are not alone and they have each other to help them achieve their goals.
Make time for exercise. Yes it’s as simple as that. Make sure that you make it realistic as to how many times per week you can train as if you go all out and say “I am going to train 7 times this week” chances are it won’t happen as you are going from nothing to everything! Keep it realistic to start with and ease into it gently. Keep training to the same time of day if you can and plan your schedule for the week this is so important as the more consistent you are the more likely you are to create long term good habits. Look on exercising as looking after your body not torture, find something you enjoy doing and then it won’t feel half as bad and believe it or not you will actually look forward to doing it.
I love journaling – any excuse for more stationery! I would highly recommend keeping a track of your food and drink intake as this really makes you think about what you are putting in your body and also keep a track of your training sessions throughout the week as you will see how you progress and you can add your weights in and how many reps and even how you felt training that day eg “tired today, really not feeling it, but did it!” Or “felt so strong today really feeling the benefits of training now” This is a great gift to yourself to have as you will one day read through it and feel proud of exactly how far you have come!
Eat and drink to fuel and nourish.
When you are eating well and nourishing your body it makes exercising so much easier and you are more likely to keep going and then you will begin to see results. When we eat rubbish we feel sluggish and tired and lose motivation. We are what we eat for sure! Try to minimise alcohol during the week if possible as alcohol creates apathy and has a knock on effect with what we eat the next day – usually a carb fest! Don’t be afraid to seek advice from a professional if you need help with your food intake, it could be just what you need to make those changes.
Make sure you are drinking a minimum of 1.5 – 2 litres of water per day, so many of us are just not drinking enough. Yes, at first you will be needing the loo quite a bit as your body adjusts, but this simple change will improve energy levels, assist weight loss, concentration levels will go through the roof and your sleep will improve.
If we do not sleep well and keep burning the candle, our bodies will not function to the best of their ability. We end up craving sugar which leads to gaining weight, loss of energy, bad skin and hair is lacklustre, concentration is difficult and we are less productive. Try to get 8 hours minimum per night and ban mobiles, tv, laptops etc from the bedroom. I love to read a proper book and quite often I get into bed read a few pages and I start drifting off.
Be kind to yourself.
Possibly the most important tip of all, be kind you yourself. Train and eat to be strong not to lose weight, weight loss will be a good side effect of your new healthy routine so don’t stress about it. Remember it takes time to break habits and start seeing results. We need to give ourselves a break, trust and enjoy the process. Remember we all have had to start somewhere, even those amazing athletes. Be in competition with you and nobody else, we are all unique and all pretty wonderful so please don’t compare yourself with anyone else’s fitness journey in person or on social media as it serves no purpose.
Hope you enjoy reading and feel free to contact me if you have any questions on motivation, eating or exercising I would be happy to help in anyway I can. Laura x
Laura Lansley 07780695278