Making training desirable all the time. Peak your interest, sustain motivation and see results that will last a lifetime.
You've quit the gym for the last time. Here is the solution...
The gym is hard. You have to either get up early or expend what little energy you have left after a long day of work. What makes it desirable to go to the gym day in and day out? What motivates you? How can you build effective habits? The answer is a little more surprising than you think.
First, let's get into the why.
It all starts with gratification. What the gym DOESN'T promise is instant gratification. You may not see results in a session, a week, a month, or maybe even 3 months. It promises results over time. It's delayed gratification.
With delayed gratification you have to think, how can something benefit me down the road? How can this serve me in the future? Being creatures that live in the moment, it's tough for us to be attracted to delayed gratification.
Think about the most popular companies: Facebook, Pepsi, Amazon, Marlboro, Rogers, PornHub and so on. They deliver things such as junk food, porn, cigarettes, social media, and tv. All of these products and services being almost instant. Hang out with people from your phone, find entertainment on your couch, get satisfied with bag of chips, receive sex on your computer. Unfortunately, these are classified as unhealthy acts in life.
The opposite could be said about delayed gratification. Starting a business, mediating, learning a new skill, or working on your fitness may take time but are all associated as healthy activities.
Now comes the challenge! We have to learn to make delayed gratification desirable, attainable, and rewarding. This is where the Goldilocks Rule comes in.
The Goldilocks rule is just like the fairytale. It requires us to make something not too difficult, not too easy, but just difficult enough to sustain motivation, curiosity, and a challenge.
Gratification can be defined as an emotional reaction to a fulfillment of a desire or goal. Just as the brain loves instant gratification, it also desires to make things easier and more automated for us. The more activities, movements, or habits, that we can automate gives way for our brains to dedicate energy and focus to events or instances that require immediate attention. This could be a conversation, learning something new, a stressor in your life, or general awareness.
How does this apply to the gym and gratification?
If I work out, weights and movements will get easier over time. However, if I keep the ability for the mind and body to attain satisfaction from the task, then I will constantly desire to improve.
If the task is too hard, our brains will deme the task too much to handle. If if the task is too easy, our brain will have mastered it and won't prioritize it any longer. Finding that point where the weights or the exercise is tough but not insurmountable will be the sweet spot. Our brain will create a stronger desire to improve and the gym will start coming to the forefront of our mind.
Put into practice, it looks like this:
If you're a novice...
DON'T: don't go from 0 days a week to 5 days a week
DO: start with what you can handle, 3 days being the max
If you complete a set easily...
DON'T: don't jump the weight up 10, 20, or 30lbs
DO: choose a weight that you can max out for 12 reps and only complete 10 of those
on the other hand...
DON'T: do only 10 reps when you could've easily done 20
DO: add stress to the movement with weight, more difficult movement or completing the number of reps that make it difficult
When doing cardio...
DON'T: choose an activity you can comfortably do for hours on end
DO: choose a cardio activity you can only sustain for a max of 30 min, then do it for 20 min
When heading to the gym...
DON'T: go to the gym feeling really good, determined to do every exercise under the sun and really feel it for the next 5 days
DO: stick to the program and complete the reps, sets, and weight you or your trainer selected for you previously
DONT: force yourself through a workout on a bad day or when your very sore
DO: cut down the volume and substitute a recovery day to promote blood flow
There are countless more examples, but you get the idea. Make sure to create excitement and pleasure in your workouts! Don't go gung-ho and destroy your body the first week or be intimidated about squatting max weight when you don't have to do either extreem.
If your plan of attack includes these principles, you will find your motivation and attention to the gym shoot up. You'll start feeling better, more confident, more encouraged, and better equipped to handle the coming months.
Remember, instant gratification will always grab your attention first and foremost. Don't be fooled! The reward will come with the delayed gratification. If you want to become successful at anything, think delayed.
You got this. You can do this.
Until next time gym warriors,
More tips and trick:
1. Find a workout plan that lays as much detail as possible.
2. Use the RPE scale to determine how hard an exercise is for you (quick google search will suffice).
3. Find the regressions and progressions for different exercises and place yourself in the best position for success.