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Jessica Shaw

Writer, traveler, wanderluster.

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How to Have Better Workouts

We’ve all been there—we start out with a badass goal for the gym, but after a couple days, a couple weeks, a couple months, we fall flat on our face. Eventually, after we have licked our wounds for long enough and summoned up the courage to give it another we go we reformulate a plan, and give it another go.

Only, as we have learned from previous experience, history tends to repeat itself.

Around and around we go, unable to make any meaningful progress towards the big things we want to accomplish in the gym, all the while reinforcing the misplaced illusion that we kinda suck at following through on our workout goals.

These struggles are exceptionally common, but can also be conquered. Here’s some free range tips for helping you crush your workout goals.

Forget motivation. It’s overrated.

One of the common fallacies of accomplishing anything, and this goes beyond making gains in the gym, is that we need to feel fully motivated and fired up to get to work. Which, if we applied this logic to anything else, we would laugh. Of course you aren’t always going to feel like, you’d say. So why is it any different with your goals in the gym?

One of the fastest ways to ditch motivation altogether is by focusing on making working out a habit. This means scheduling your workouts, focusing on instigation habits, and making your workouts part of your routine, and not something that you need to psych yourself up for on a daily basis.

The kiss of death of consistency is when I hear someone say that they will work out when they “feel like it.”

Track your progress.

One of the secrets of high performing gym-goers and athletes alike is that they have accountability. Yup, even the people who train on their own (perhaps, especially them).

One of the ways that you can lock down some ownership of your goals in the gym is to track your day to day workouts in a training journal.

Writing out your activities in the gym (and also in the kitchen if nutrition is your main goal) helps to give you a clearer idea of what you are actually doing at the gym, gives you a platform to celebrate your successes, and gives you a place to set the shorter term, training goals that serve as the stepping stones to that big, greasy goal at the end of the line.

Don’t freak out over setbacks.

Research into habit formation found that those who were successful in making something stick over the long term were not perfect. They had setbacks and failures just like everyone else. The only difference was that they got back on track right away. No sulking. No blowing it up. Just taking a big breath and getting back into the swing of things immediately.

Setbacks, roadblocks, disappointments, whatever you wanna call them, are going to happen. It’s basically a fact. When we first make those big goals for our workouts we do so with a huge dose of optimism bias, meaning that we expect things to go perfectly all the way through. This is not a realistic way to go about things, and your past experience and common sense dictate that this isn’t how progress and improvement happen in the real world. And yet we fall for it anyway.

Keep an open mind when pursuing your goals in the gym. Accept that it won’t go perfectly. Take pride in being the person that stumbles…and is going to dust themselves off and get right back to work.

In Closing

Crushing it in the gym isn’t all that hard when we look at it from the outside looking in. Of course, the day to day grind, the mental haggling on days where you are tired, and completing those tough workouts when you’re exhausted, is far from easy.

Follow these tips to slugging it out with your workout goals and not only will you get in better shape, but you’ll also develop the confidence and self-esteem that comes with being able to conquer difficult goals. 

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