Because it's hard to stay motivated when you don't see progress, I wanted to show you a few ways my online clients know they're making progress to stay motivated and committed to burning fat, building muscle, and feeling better in their bodies.
And here we go!
1. You’re showing up
Even if you stay at the gym for 5 minutes you’re doing awesome. Seriously.
Sometimes you just have to be patient with yourself and accept where you’re at right now. Sometimes that means testing the waters by tip-toeing into the pool.
Building the habit of going to the gym entails so much more than just working out.
Making it to the gym probably looks something like this for you:
- Pack your gym bag
- Have done laundry the day before.
- Sit in traffic.
- Find parking.
- Remember to lock the car with your keys on the OUTSIDE of the car. Are your lights off? OK cool.
- Only then can you FINALLY walk into the gym.
- Then, lock your shit up.
- Now, maybe you can workout.
That's so many steps! So much lead up! You probably noticed, none of those steps have a DIRECT correlation to fat loss. Yet, the lead up is just as necessary for fat loss as working out and eating vegetables.
If you show up, if you practice ANY steps towards healthy behaviors, you sir/madame are well on your way to a more fit version of yourself.
Because all of that stuff is part of the process -- you can't skip it to get to the "results" part. Much of what makes fat loss difficult is this "lead up"; getting to gym is much harder than working out. So if you managed to complete any of that lead up, give yourself a big f%$#ing high five because you deserve it.
Some action is always better than no action. Whatever you need to do to make “something” happen on the reg, do it! Even if it's just driving to the gym and leaving.
So much of fitness and fat loss is about perspective, and mindset. By not letting "perfect" be the enemy of "better", you strengthen your brain, and demonstrate resiliency to what life throws at you. You also strenghthen your commitment to getting a little better every day.
This leads us to the next section.
2. Your performance in the gym and outside the gym is increasing.
The problem with body composition goals is progress takes a while. It's hard to tell if your workouts are actually doing anything.
The good news is your body will change as your performance increases.
Pay attention to how your performance is improving. It’s only a matter of time before you have that “aha” moment where your arms have lines of definition in them or you see a muscle in your leg that wasn't there before.
Plus, getting better at something is fun! We like doing things we're good at! So seeing yourself getting better at exercising is a huge motivator.
There are tons of signs of increased performance. Here are a few.
- You lift heavier weights than before.
- You lift the same weight for more reps.
- You lift the same weight for the same reps but with less rest time.
- You do more sets with the same weights, reps, and rest time.
- You don’t get winded as quickly.
- You’re more flexible. You can squat lower, get your hands closer to the floor on a toe-touch etc.
- You have more energy.
- You’re sleeping better.
- Your movements feel more smooth and graceful.
- You feel exercises more in the right muscles. This is called the mind-muscle connection.
Bonus! Signs you’re getting better at nutrition!
- You’re eating more vegetables
- You’re eating more protein.
- You’re eating slower.You’re paying more attention to what you’re eating.
- You’re drinking more water and/or less alcohol.
- You’re walking more.
The best way to know if you're getting better at any of these things is to take a training journal and a food log.
Record your exercises, sets, reps, and weight used for the training journal. Record everything you put in your body for the food log.
And take notes! Write down any epiphanies or reflections you have. Write down what you think works and what doesn't. Write down any events you feel like you handled particularly well and how you might improve.
Writing all this down is important because:
- Seeing your progress is motivating.
- It keeps you mindful and focused.
- You have data which tells you what works and what doesn't.
- You'll be able to see your performance increase every week. This will get you excited to workout to see what else your body can do.
3. You’re having fun
The best workout is the one you do.
You’re much more likely to work harder and do something with enthusiasm when you enjoy it. It doesn’t matter if it’s Zumba, Crossfit, Pilates, Barre, Yoga, or dance classes in the park. If you're having fun, you’ve solved one of the big puzzles of fitness!
Now, I’m obviously biased towards strength training because I’ve seen the dramatic changes it's caused in my online clients. I think for building a lean, toned physique, nothing beats strength training. That doesn’t mean it’s the only way to exercise.
The good news is you don’t have to choose!
When I first got into strength training, a big motivator was knowing strength complimented my martial arts training. I knew getting stronger would help me get better at fighting. Remembering this, I was more driven to hit the gym.
Strength training will help you get better at ANY physical activity, whether it’s MMA, yoga, or running marathons.
Adding in one or two 30-60 min lifting sessions a week will not only sculpt your arms, but will make you better at any other physical activity, dancing, yoga, running, spin, and well... you know... other stuff ;)
Ultimately, the best way to balance fitness and life is to find a way to make it something you enjoy rather than a chore, because that's what's going to keep you showing up.
No matter where you’re starting point is or what your goals are, continuing to show up, have fun, and get better is what’s going change your body and change your life.