This article was originally published in The MuscleTalker December 2005 edition
Where is 2006 going to take you? Is it to the month of July when you hit the beach with the perfect six-pack and have the confidence to show off your new cuts? Is it going to be the year when you make such great size gains people cant help but comment? Is it going to be the year you smash your personal best for the bench press or squat? Or is it going to be another year of aimless training and simply having no goals or focus in your training. The worse case scenario may even arise when 2006 becomes your last year in the gym as the motivation to train has escaped you and a less productive life takes precedence.
For most, bodybuilding and fitness is a past time or hobby where extrinsic motivation such as trophies and financial rewards are not present, therefore inner drive is key and intrinsic motivation to improve their physique is imperative. For those who do compete and have the trophies, titles and cash prizes to aim for, the motivation to train and adhere to their diet is often easier due to the targets of future competitions and shows. Although this is the case, in a sport where fame, wealth and recognition is limited the desire for the perfect physique still reigns as a dominant factor in the decision to continue the lifestyle of a bodybuilder.
It's fair to say at the end of the day the longevity of your participation in training is ultimately down to your personal desire to improve aesthetics, performance or the health of your body rather than for extrinsic rewards. Although this is the over riding factor, there are a number of tips and techniques you can employ to make training more fun, beneficial and sustainable in the New Year.
Let's have a look at motivation in bodybuilding for the year ahead and some methods you can use to aid you through what can often be the lonely and testing battle of either adding quality mass or strip stubborn body fat. Do you struggle to stick to a training plan? Does your diet go to pot by the third week in January? Your not alone, trust me! Many of my clients are bright eyed and bushy tailed at the start of January, by the first week of February the desire is dwindling and the gym visits begin to slow down. For many people a new year brings new goals, whether it be mass, strength, body fat reduction or fitness and endurance. Many of these goals though are quickly forgotten and the honeymoon period of the News Year's resolution quickly fades away and motivation diminishes resulting in a lack of progress.
Make your goals challenging, yet realistic and achievable.
A higher level of self efficacy will also help you reach these goals, so believe in yourself and stick to it; the results will come if you educate yourself on optimum training and nutrition. This alone may keep your motivation levels up! A more detailed discussion on goal setting can be found in the article SMART Goal Setting in Bodybuilding.
Reward yourself for progress you make. For many who are cutting, and even those following a strict mass gaining diet, a bodybuilder's food intake is often bland and lacks variety or 'treat' foods. Allow yourself a 'cheat meal' for a job well done or have a week off here and there to keep you from going stale and resenting your training.
Remember fitness and bodybuilding is not only aesthetically beneficial. Think about your long term health and the bonuses to staying in shape, leading to a productive and healthy lifestyle.
Some trainers suffer from a lack of intensity in their training. Having a training partner may be the spark required this New Year. Help pushing out that final rep, meeting you at the gym when the pub seems a better idea or simply be there to share the woes of low carbing, a training buddy can see you though the hard times. Support from family members and friends can also be beneficial.
If visual stimulation is what you require, pin the picture of your favourite bodybuilders up in your room, read magazines and aim for the body you want and keep referring back to it when you struggle to find the desire to hit the gym. Role models are shown to provide a great incentive to achieve your goals even if we never ultimately reach their standards or level of success.
Maybe joining a new gym will help? For many a change of environment is a good way to increase motivation. The change of gym also may go hand in hand with a change in training schedule. For most, every 12 weeks is a good point to change their training plan, why not make a new one for a new year? The change of gym may offer some new equipment to try and new techniques can be learned and incorporated in the training plan.
Something as simple as a new supplement stack maybe the kick start you need to get training in the New Year? Simple things often make the difference!
On a lighter note, recent studies show the use of music is a great way of making a work out both more intense and enjoyable. Stick an MP3 player on your Xmas list and enjoy the sessions a little more by listening to your favourite tunes.
It's fair to say that if you really crave the results you will be drawn into the lifestyle regardless of the highs and lows of bodybuilding and training. If you force yourself into training you are more likely to drop out or allow your training to take a back seat. Employing some of the tips above may make the sticking points of 2006 mere mole hills rather than mountains. Good luck and a happy New Year!Leave a comment