If you’re one of those people who declines happy hour invitations in favor of working out, then this article is not for you. For the rest of you, I have good news: willpower is overrated, so don’t depend on it to get you to the gym. Instead, figure out what works for you in the motivation department and just go with it. Don’t try to follow what works for your friend and definitely don’t feel bad about it. If you would rather stay home watching telenovelas instead of exercising, here are some radical but effective strategies to get you going.
Get a Dog: Dog owners lead healthier lives than non-dog owners because they have to move more often. When your dog has to go out she does not look for excuses to miss her walk. When you add cute puppy eyes to the equation it’s almost impossible to say no, and well, you know what happens next; you walk at least twice a day. If you already own a dog and your dog is young and healthy, try speed walking and sprinting. I recommend Tabata sprints with 20 seconds of high intensity sprinting and 10 seconds of walking for 4 minutes at a time. It’s good for you and it’s good for your dog.
Buy Smaller Clothes: This may sound counter intuitive but if you’re trying to lose inches this will provide you with a physical reminder of why you need to work out. Health is not enough motivation for everyone, otherwise we wouldn’t be dealing with a major obesity epidemic. If what gets you to pay attention to your health and fitness is seeing how your belly fat rolls over your favorite skinny jeans, don’t fret, and definitely don’t hand them over to your fit friend. Simply use them as motivation to get you focused on achieving your weight loss goals.
Join a Fight Club: Most human beings are naturally competitive and want to win. Joining any kind of competitive activity will be encouraging, i.e. team sports, but joining a contact sport team or club such as boxing, reality-based self defense, and judo will also trigger your evolutionary drive to survive. The desire to survive keeps a lot of folks motivated. Getting your butt kicked in a controlled environment is also an effective albeit not-so-gentle reminder to get your act together and develop strength, agility and endurance. Think of this as a variation of the biggest loser competition, but with fighting, and possibly a lot more pain.
Get a Pet Fat: A pet fat is a replica of 5 pounds of fat. It’s pretty gross and thus a very effective reminder to work harder if you are carrying too much of it. We’re one of the few health clubs to use this sometimes offensive strategy to motivate clients to work harder and pay attention to their nutrition habits. However, we love our pet fat because it works wonders. I have personally seen clients make drastic improvements in effort and nutrition after seeing, feeling and carrying our pet fat.
Remember: the most effective strategy is the one that works for you. Try one at a time or try them all at once, you choose. Just keep track of how your body and psyche respond and I promise you’ll reach your fitness goals sooner than you expect.