Tuesday, 30 September 2014
With the winter fast approaching, along with colder weather and darker days, we sometimes find it harder to motivate ourselves for training and proper nutrition. Understandably everyone at some point in the year will lose that motivation, which will affect their training levels. This can lead to a loss on motivation in other areas of your life, such as your job, or diet.
I certainly feel it’s the winter where most people struggle, especially when it comes to sticking to their training regime. Everyone likes to start training in the New Year, or start getting in shape a month before summer starts so they look good on the beach. But I’m going to talk about keeping on top of those motivation levels ALL year round, which will lead to better performance not only in the gym, but in your job and a better relationship with your friends and family too, which in the long run will help keep yourself and them happier and healthier.
Nutrition is key when it comes to training, mood and energy levels. Get your nutrition right and it’s a good start to getting that motivation back. I myself notice that when I go through a few days of poor nutrition, my mood becomes worse, energy levels drop and as a result my training isn’t as effective. I’m also generally a lot happier when I find myself eating right. When I mean eating right, I’m talking about foods that will benefit me in and out of the gym.
Animal protein such as chicken, beef, pork, turkey, lamb, fish and other foods rich in protein such as eggs, milk, yoghurt (Greek), beans, pulses, nuts and seeds. Unrefined carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, brown/basmati rice, wholegrain pasta/bread (avoid white/refined carbohydrates) and of course eat plenty of vegetables with the addition of some fruit. The more variety of colour in your diet the more vitamins and minerals you will get.
Avoid foods high in sugar, processed foods and foods with trans-fats. Also avoid foods with artificial sweeteners. This ranges from fast food, cakes, biscuits, pastries, fruit juices, fizzy drinks and foods containing gluten. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients on the back then it’s probably a sign that it’s no good! And finally limit your alcohol intake, a couple of beers or a glass of red wine at the weekend won’t hurt, but if you're serious about your training and nutrition, alcohol will seriously hinder your progress in large quantities.
Finally drink plenty of water every day. Your body is 70% water. Every function of your body depends on it, digestion needs lots of it, your joints are cushioned with it. Your brain is more than 90% water. Even your bones are 5% water.
These are just some ideas of a good base understanding of nutrition. Always think food first before considering supplements, nail the diet and if you feel you would benefit from some supplements then think about investing in some to further enhance your training and nutrition. Remember there called supplements for a reason, because they supplement your diet. This is just scratching the surface when it comes to nutrition but hopefully I’ve given you a better understanding.
Set yourself goals, short-term and long-term. Where do you want to be next month, 6 months, a years’ time and so on? Make it specific, achievable, realistic and put a time frame on it. Hit those short term goals consistently, which will motivate you to build up for that long-term goal. Don’t quit, we're bound to regress from our goals from time to time, if you find yourself in that situation, re-focus and concentrate on your short-term goals. Get back on track. It’s cliché but think to yourself it’s going to be worth it in the end!
If you find yourself low on motivation and all you need is a “pep” talk from someone to pick you up and get you going again, then look up to any sort of motivational figure in your life. This could be a professional sportsman/athlete, bodybuilder, personal trainer, actor, musician, mum, dad, brother, sister, whoever inspires you. We're all human, we can’t do everything on our own and we do need guidance from someone else whoever they are. Watch a motivational video, or listen to a song, speak to a family member. If it’s something small, look around, there’s tons of motivation out there, you just need to find it.
This ties in with the previous point, but music is a powerful motivator. It’s proven that the right music for the right individual before and during, will increase their sporting performance or in the gym by 20%. Create a playlist that you like, full of songs that will raise your intensity. Everyone is different and different songs motivate different people. But when you next go into the gym, have a playlist that will motivate and inspire you to get the best out of that gym session.
My final point is to get enough rest. There’s is no point in training every day and making yourself tired, this will affect your training and nutrition. Get at least 8 hours sleep a night to recover from a long day’s work or a training session. Your muscles need time to rest and regrow to come back stronger. Also enjoy yourself on your rest days, have something to look forward to at the weekend with your friends or family, for example, eat good food and forget about training. If your mind is constantly on working out and eating right non-stop, you’ll just create stress for yourself. It’s all about getting that balance right which can be hard at first, but once you get into that routine you’ll reap the rewards and the benefits of a balanced and healthy lifestyle. After a good day or two’s rest I always come back more energized, motivated, focused and ready to train hard!