• Dr Lottie Miles

Sustaining Motivation for Home Workouts (Part B)

OK, so you've got started with your home workouts - well done! (see Part A if you need help getting started). Now lets look at how we can keep it going throughout lockdown and beyond...

1. Never miss twice

Missing a planned session once is OK, it happens, a habit isn’t broken by missing once.

But missing twice is not OK. If you're tempted to miss twice, you need to change something – have you been unrealistic with your programming? You should never dread workouts!

A nice little trick is to add a small item like a paper clip to a jar every time you workout. It becomes satisfying, even addictive to add to your jar, BUT if you miss twice, you have to empty the jar and start again!

2. Make workouts varied, fun and progressive

The key to motivation is to enjoy what you're doing. If you can’t bare to do burpees, don’t schedule burpees, or at least mix them in with something you do like.

Think outside the box – perhaps find something heavy (child/pet?) to carry up and down the stairs, do 5x10 reps of getting in and out the bath (water isn’t required!), or maybe time how quickly you can touch the furthest wall of every room in the house before returning to your cuppa in the kitchen (hopefully it's still hot!).

Whatever your workouts include, look for ways to GRADUALLY progress your exercises each week - a few more reps, a bit quicker or lift more weight.

3. Plan your exercise in training blocks

Divide your training into 'blocks' of around 3 to 6 week duration. Then consider setting yourself a specific focus for each training block - for example improving leg strength, or perhaps running endurance. Blocking your training helps you plan weekly progressions and gives you enough time to make some measurable progress from start to finish.

This strategy also gives you an 'end point' to work towards. When you complete a block, reward yourself with some rest, or a treat, like a new pair of leggings!

4a. Identify your 'holy grail'

This is a long-term target that you are working towards - your 'holy grail' so to speak. Examples are to run a 10k in under 2hrs, loose a specific amount if weight, hold a handstand for 20s or add 10kg to a particular lift.

As with setting all goals, you need to keep the SMART principles in mind here:

· Specific – have you defined exactly what you want to do?

· Measurable – can you measure, count or score it?

· Achievable – can you get this done without breaking yourself?

· Relevant – is it moving you towards your outcome goal?

· Time bound – have you set a deadline to achieve it by?

4b. Focus on the process, not the outcome

Directly chasing a long-term outcome goal can be pretty demotivating week on week. Instead ask yourself, 'what do I need to do to reach my goal?' This is your process.

Set yourself (SMART) process goals, for example, hit 10,000 steps every day, run 'X' minutes on Mon, Weds and Fri, or stretch for 15minutes every other day. These process goals are motivating, short-term targets (week-by-week or even day-by-day) that keep you moving towards your holy grail!

5. Track it, share it

Tracking your exercise is a really motivating habit and it keeps you accountable. Many people use a diary for this, but you could also try something more public like social media. Set yourself a challenge to post a picture or write down your workout every time you exercise. If you feel tempted to miss a workout, think of the empty diary page you will leave, or the broken streak in your social media updates!

I like to write down every exercise I do in a spreadsheet, so I can quickly count how many minutes of exercise I’ve done each block, and I can see my progress in numbers and graphs!

And perhaps most importantly...

It is vital to set aside time at the start/conclusion of every training block (or month or week) to look back at your exercise journal and review how things are going, and if anything needs to change. Make sure you answer each of these questions:

  • Did you achieve your process goals (what were they, how many, how often)?

  • Did you make progress towards your outcome goal (be precise - where are you at now)?

  • What will you focus on in your next training block?

  • What are your new process goals?

  • Have you planned the coming week's training sessions (in full detail)?

  • Are there any events this week that you need to take into consideration (e.g. bank holiday, weather forecast, family time etc - although there won't be much going on during lockdown!)

In Conclusion

This two part blog will help you find your motivation to crush home workouts. Part A focused on getting you started, whilst this part B offered tips to keep you going in the long run. Lockdown is offering you a challenging new opportunity to shake things up a bit - this is your chance!

Next up I'll write about my thoughts on Self-Confidence and how to build it - make sure you subscribe to my email list to get notifications about new articles. Let me know how you get on and of course, any thoughts and comments are very welcome :)

#sportpsychology #motivation #homeworkout

sport mentality

by dr Lottie miles