You made an ambitious training promise that already started to rub off during the second week… Here are the tips you need to keep your motivation up in order to maximize your training results this spring!
Regardless of what you want to get out of your workout – more muscles, faster runs or a stronger back – there are a bunch of smart tips that will give you an extra boost on the way:
1. Motivation is a fresh commodity
Your training motivation determines the intensity and power with which you tackle your goal. It helps you keep fighting when the going gets tough – and as you’ve probably noticed, it can vary greatly from day to day. To take control of your lack of motivation, you need to think about the situations in which it tends to decrease. Write them down in a list and supplement with all sources of motivation that you have in your everyday life. It keeps you one step ahead and can make conscious choices instead of automatically giving in when you have a dip in motivation.
2. The important mobility!
There are many benefits to being mobile! The body feels more energetic and has better posture, you avoid injuries because the body does not have to compensate for stiff muscles – and you can more easily use the body’s full capacity, both in terms of strength and fitness.
For example, if you are mobile enough to do a full leg bend with your butt close to the ground, you engage more muscle mass than a person who, for example, hunches in the back and has to turn up already when the knees approach a 90 degree angle. And if you run, you’ll be able to use the power of your stride much more effectively when you’re not limited by weak and stiff muscles and joints. Train your mobility with, for example, yoga – or simple mobility sequences at home in the living room.
3. Focus to be able to activate
In the same way that you are fully present during an important work meeting, you also need to focus during your training sessions. Newspaper reading and texting will have to wait until after you get off the spinning bike. In order to develop in your training, you need to constantly challenge the body, vary the setup and ensure that you gradually increase the training load compared to before. For example: When doing a leg curl, focus on the parts of the body that are working. Activate the butt, the thighs and engage the trunk muscles. And even if you only lift a light stick, think that it weighs a ton! This causes the muscles to be activated more.
4. Don’t hold your breath!
Remember to breathe controlled and rhythmically when you strength train to get continuous oxygenation of the muscles. It gives more power when you exercise! The basic setup is that you inhale during the so-called eccentric phase (when the weight is slowed down and the muscles lengthen) and exhale during the concentric phase (when the muscles contract). This means you breathe in on the way down to the ground in a push-up, and breathe out as you push yourself back up to straight arms. In a leg curl, you breathe in when you bend your legs and breathe out when you push yourself up to straight legs again.
5. No results without recovery
Last but definitely not least: Recovery is essential, and your body needs more time for recovery the harder you train. You have to be as careful about planning your rest and night’s sleep as you are about putting tough training sessions on the calendar. The stress hormone cortisol is secreted when we exercise, it is only after the session that the production decreases and the body builds itself stronger. A constant cortisol surge can eventually lead to depression and anxiety, and not to improved training results.
If you are in a really stressful period at work, it may therefore be time to skip the tough high-intensity training and invest in a calmer form of training or an extra rest day. Also remember to end each training session with a few minutes of relaxation – then you start the body’s recovery faster. Good luck with the training!