Phorm Tips for Staying Motivated and Being Consistent

I saw a trailer for a new movie coming out this fall called “I Don’t Know How She Does It?”  The film stars Sarah Jessica Parker, a beautiful and successful mother, wife and career woman.  The commercial got me thinking about all the women that I know who juggle so many responsibilities and manage to stay in shape while balancing a career, a family and a love life.  Have you ever looked at a woman you know and said to yourself “I don’t know how she does it?”

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will hear me preaching consistency well…consistently!!  I truly believe that this is the key to the success of any training program- be it for weight loss, gaining muscle or prepping for a show.  You must formulate a plan, put it into motion and consistently work towards your goal.  After being in the fitness industry for a few years, I began to realize that this was the common denominator among successful fitness competitors.  These athletes are extremely goal driven and live the fitness lifestyle 365 days a year.  They are very motivated individuals with goals that they work day in, day out to achieve.

A question that I often get from my readers is “how do you stay motivated?”  Generally, it’s pretty easy for any one of us to rattle off a list of excuses and reasons why we can’t fit in training or why it’s so difficult to eat clean every single day.  This used to be difficult for me, but having been involved in fitness since my teens, I have come up with a system that makes it very easy for me to maintain my lifestyle.  I am going to share with you my tips to staying motivated and being consistent so that you can reach your fitness goals!

1) Realistic self assessment
Before I begin prepping for a show, I always take measurements and “before” pictures to assess where my physique is at prior to starting my program.  I start a journal (more on this later) and include all my before measurements (hips, waist, thighs, bicep circumference, body fat % and weight) along with a before photo of myself at my current state.

2) Set specific goals, both short term goals and long term goals
It’s always important to have a specific goal in mind while dieting and/or training.  It’s not enough to say that your goal is to “lose weight”.  You want to set a long term goal such as “I want to lose __ pounds by (a certain date)”.  All too often, people set general goals for themselves which makes it entirely too easy to lose focus.  I like to set weekly and monthly goals for myself to help keep the big picture in mind without getting overwhelmed.  For example, I am working towards getting back on stage in 2012.  So, for me personally, I just had a baby last month and my long term goal is to compete in May 2012.  My short term goal for this month is to lose 8 pounds.  My goal for this week is to complete 6 hours of cardio over the course of the week.  See what I mean?

3) Make a plan
If you don’t have a clue what to eat or how to train, it might be a good idea to hire a personal trainer to put this together for you.  If you aren’t new to the fitness scene, then you will want to lay out a meal plan and training program for yourself to follow.  I write out my meal plan and post it on the fridge so I know exactly what I will eat each day.  This helps when it comes to meal preparation and food shopping as well.  When it comes to the gym, it is equally important to lay out a training program for yourself complete with which body parts you will train each day and the rep range as well as the cardio you plan to perform.  This is a great reference when it’s 3 pm and I have the munchies.  I’m not going to reach for the box of Cheezits when I can clearly see it’s time for a protein shake.

4) Get the tools that you will need to be successful
I have acquired some helpful gadgets over the years that have helped save me time while I am working to stay in shape.  These items include: workout journal, digital food scale, body fat calipers, blender bottle, an obscene amount of Tupperware containers and water bottles, my 6-pack cooler bag and a fishing tackle box that I use to divvy up my supplements for the week.  When you are on the go, these tools make staying on track a cinch!

5)  Make an inspiration board
A few years ago before my first fitness competition I made my very first inspiration board on my bedroom wall in my apartment.  I continue to use an inspiration board to keep my eye on the prize and keep me inspired!  To do this, you can use a dry erase board put it up anywhere that you look at often.  You can even use a section on your fridge to devote to your fitness journey.  Write down your weekly/monthly/long-term goals on your board and include inspirational quotes and photos.  For me, my inspiration board is next to my treadmill at home.  I have my goals written down in big colorful letters, plus a training calendar to keep track of my workouts.  I also have hung up my super tiny show bikini that I plan to wear on stage in 2012.  I also have a photo of my fitness idol, fitness model Jamie Eason.   When it’s the first thing in the morning, I’ve been up half the night with my screaming baby and the last thing I feel like doing is cardio, all I have to do is look at my inspiration board and I’m off and running, literally! J

6) Journal
This is simple.  Pick up a spiral notebook and use it to keep track of your meals and workouts.  If you fail to make progress at the end of the week, you can take a look back at what you did and make improvements.

7) Be nice to yourself
Listen.  Nobody is perfect.  We will all always have areas of our body that we could improve, but that is what makes us all unique.  You have to quit beating yourself up for your imperfections.  Negative self talk will illicit an emotional response that can lead to overeating and decreased mood levels.  Got cellulite?  Guess what- so do a lot of women.  Even some of the top female fitness professionals have cellulite.  Instead of beating yourself up for it, work hard towards achieving your goals and reward yourself for all the hard work you are doing on the way to reaching them.  And, it never hurts to give yourself a compliment for something about you that is looking great, like “since I’ve been lifting heavier, my arms are looking more toned”.

When I’m training, I always keep my goal at the forefront of my brain.  I generally have very little time to bang out my training since I’ve always got something else that I have to be doing, and typically one or both of my kids will start hollering if I go over my allotted workout time!  When I get to the gym, I silence all the noise of the day and focus on the job at hand.  If I am training glutes, I focus my mind on the burn I am feeling in that muscle (ever hear of the “mind-muscle” connection?) and try to work towards completely exhausting it.  Our minds are much more powerful than we give them credit for when it comes to getting in peak physical condition. I also find it helpful to put my headphones on and listen to music during the entire time I am working out.  This, along with a baseball hat, sends the message “hi…I’m busy…don’t talk to me!”  I try to save all the socializing for after my workout is done.  Along with this, I NEVER watch TV when I’m doing cardio.  It’s so easy to lose concentration when you are not totally focused on what you are doing, not to mention all the darn food commercials on the TV while you are trying NOT to think about food!!

9) Reward yourself for reaching your goals
I find it nice motivator to reward myself with something like a facial or a massage when I reach a goal.  Depending on what my goal is, I will jot down in my journal what I will reward myself with when I reach that goal, and when I get there, I can look forward to some much deserved “me” time.

10) Have a positive attitude
Every night, before I go to bed, I reflect on the things in my life that I am grateful for.  It can be hard to maintain a positive attitude when you are stressed, over worked and over tired.  But without a positive attitude, your program will ultimately fail.  If you take a moment to think about the good things in your life and pat yourself on the back for all that you have accomplished, it will make your journey a positive one.