Motivation...where is it?

It’s almost November and we are coming up to the busiest time of year.  You’ve been exercising and eating well but somehow your motivation has started to disappear.  You’re not that keen to get to training.  What do you do???

Motivation is so tricky!  It’s one of those things that comes and goes and happens to all of us.  We all have ups and downs and times where we just cannot be bothered chasing our goals because maybe we are tired, maybe we think our goals are too unattainable, maybe we aren’t seeing results quick enough, or maybe we just simply cannot be bothered right now with everything else going on!

As Michelle Bridges says, “Motivation is like a bad boyfriend – never there when you need it”!  So what do you do when you just can’t get that desire back? 

Let me be straight up first -  sometimes it’s a matter of sucking it up and just getting it done.  Seriously, if I only did things when I was motivated I wouldn’t get much done at all.  Having said that, if I have a client whose motivation has waned, the first thing I tell them is to start getting back to creating habits again.  That may not mean going all out at the gym – it may mean starting off going for regular walks, trying to get back to the gym at least 2 times during the week, starting to prepare lunches again etc, and DOING SOMETHING YOU ENJOY.  There is no point continuing with something if you simply do not enjoy it.

Also, try to not to can your goals altogether.  Sometimes it is a matter of re-assessing those goals.  And when you work out what you want to achieve and how you are going to do it, make it non-negotiable.  For example, it is non-negotiable for me that I exercise 3 times a week at a minimum.  End of story.  I have to reach that goal. No excuses.

Lastly, surround yourself with like-minded people who have similar goals and who can provide encouragement and support.   And you may just be surprised to realize that you are actually inspiring them!

4 reasons you may not be losing weight

You’re eating and training is on track, you’ve been super diligent but your results are not reflecting your hard work.  And you’re deflated. I get it.  We all want to see results and we want them yesterday. But there are other factors outside of what you eat and how you move that may be affecting your lack of results:

1. Stress

Did you know that exercise is actually a stress on your body?  Don’t take that as a sign that you shouldn’t be exercising.  But when your body is in a stressed state (either from work, a bad relationship, lack of sleep, grief, gut issues, anxiety,  etc), your body has a hard time regulating itself for fat loss.  When you are chronically stressed your body releases a hormone called cortisol – cortisol slows metabolism down and is one of the main culprits of fat storage.  So when you are highly stressed and you add the additional stress of exercise (particularly high intensity) then it will be extremely difficult to lose weight.  Often it is a matter of addressing health issues and chronic stress that you may be experiencing first.

2. You are eating too few calories.

This is a big one and something I see time and time again.  A lot of people (especially women) have the mentality that they should workout more and eat very little.  Please realise that exercise is only a small part of the equation.  Good nutrition to support your workouts is ESSENTIAL.  Our bodies are VERY clever and like to operate in “equilibrium” or "balance".  Tip things too far in one direction and your body will do everything it can to get back to that balance.  So if you restrict your food intake too much, your body goes into “starvation mode” and will hang onto any fat it can because it doesn’t know when it is going to get its next meal.  

3. Hormones

If sleep, stress and dietary adherence look good, a closer look at hormones may be needed.  In particular, cortisol (mentioned above), insulin  and leptin (the hunger hormone).  Interestingly, if a client has a habit of under-eating their body may produce less leptin which in turn slows down fat loss (because your body is working hard to keep that balance).  You can have these levels tested through a blood test at your local GP.

4.  If nothing changes, nothing changes

Have you been doing the same workouts and eating the same thing day in day out?  Have you been progressing your workouts (either by changing weights, reps, sets, exercises; walking/running longer or faster)?  Are you working out at an intensity that supports your goals?  Our bodies get used to things very quickly so you need to keep it guessing.  Shake things up a little. Do things a little differently. Start to get uncomfortable and really challenge yourself.  If you need ideas, I have plenty!

And my final tip..…..please do not cut out food groups.

Unless you have a medical condition or cannot tolerate certain foods there is no reason why you should be cutting out any foods or food groups from your diet.  Incorporate a range of foods, be flexible and enjoy.