The 5: Staying focused over the long haul

The 5: Staying focused over the long haul

The article, titled Mind Over Muscle, offers tips on how to stay motivated once your progress at the gym seems to be slowing down. Here are five great tips to keep you on top of your game:

The 5: Staying focused over the long haul

1. Start a Training Log. Keep a daily fitness record of your workouts; how many sets you finished, how many reps, how much weight, what settings on a particular machine were, etc. A training log will also serve as a motivator in and of itself, as it will enable you to look back and see that progress, albeit slow progress, is still being made (or not, in which case you need to make adjustments to your workout and diet).

2. Have a Pre-Workout Ritual. Maybe it's listening to a few songs that you like, or perhaps stretching a bit in your living room. Whatever it is, do it. This preamble will help you become focused for when you finally start your workout. In fact, many people will actually visualize their workout as part of their pre-workout ritual, which some claim helps them align themselves mentally and prepare for the forthcoming exercise session.

3. Take Control of Your Workout. If it seems as though your workout has been more control of you lately than you it, now would be a good time to remedy that problem. By taking control I mean doing an honest assessment of how you feel in a given situation and then preparing your workout strategy accordingly. For example, if your constant routine involves running a few miles through your neighborhood, but a terrible ice storm has turned all of the roads into a veritable slick track, don't be a slave to your workout and attempt to soldier through these conditions. Instead, try to figure out another, safer exercise that you can perform in lieu of running. The same applies to how you feel before working out. Tired? Sick? Then you may want to consider taking the day off. Remember, you should dictate your workout, not the other way around.

4. Try Something Different. Changing your workout is something that I frequently suggest people do. Just the same, it certainly wouldn't hurt to try something different for a single workout. If you're more of a cardio buff, why not try a resistance training session. Or, if you're more of a weightlifter, make efforts at completing an intense cardio session.

5. Keep Stress Levels Down. As the article points out, stress not only makes it difficult to get enough quality sleep, but it also depletes your energy reserves and taxes your entire body. Exercise is a great way to help release some stress, but it sometimes can add to the already catabolic effect that the heavy stress you're under may be causing. Try to keep stress levels in check by stretching before exercising, eating a healthy diet, avoiding exercise when sick, and practicing structured breathing and relaxation techniques whenever possible.

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