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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

5 Tips to Rededicate and Motivate Yourself

A change in seasons can impact your fitness motivation.
Photo by Bartek Papiersk via Flickr
You've been eating well. Your exercise routine has been consistent -- for a long time even. You've also made a lot of progress toward reaching your fitness goals. Then it happens. All of a sudden your enthusiasm and motivation goes completely out the window.

Been here? We all have. And if you haven't, brace yourself because it's coming.

It can be a bit of a downer when you've been going so strong and then out of nowhere, your energy levels are zapped. You have no desire to workout and all you want to do is eat a bunch of stuff you know you shouldn't. Aye.

It happens.

Don't beat yourself too much up when you're faced with this predicament. You can only go for so long before you need to reset. Here are some strategies to help you refocus and get motivated again.

1. Take some time off. I recommend taking a week off every 8-12 weeks. You have to monitor yourself to see when the time is right. Taking a break allows your body to heal, gives you a mental break and gives you the opportunity to treat yourself to some foods you don't usually eat. If you schedule the time off versus just allowing yourself to mess up -- it will help prevent you from feeling guilty about not working out or indulging a little. If you know this time is coming, you can look forward to it and afterwards you'll be able to refocus on your fitness goals with new energy.

2. Sign up for 5k. There's something about having an event to train for that will kick you into gear like nothing else. Nobody wants to perform less than their best, so having a race to look forward to will help you get on track. And if you've done a 5k, challenge yourself with a tougher race -- a 10k, a half-marathon, a marathon or any kind of competitive race.

3. Change scenery. Changing where you workout can help make your workouts interesting again. If you  belong to a chain gym try a new location- or consider changing gyms altogether. If you usually workout in the morning, try working out in the evening -- the day crowd is always different from the night crowd. You can also try working out outdoors or try some new classes.

4. Do a fruit and vegetable cleanse. If you've fallen off the wagon and you can't quite get yourself back up, try a cleanse. I'm in favor of natural fruit and vegetable cleanses as opposed to cleanses you can buy in a box. For 1 to 3 days, eat a diet of all fresh fruits and vegetables for the entire day. This will help flush sugar and chemicals out of your system. Studies show that a diet in too much sugar and chemicals from processed foods, makes you crave that bad stuff even more -- making it extremely difficult to break the cycle. A cleanse will help give you a fresh start.

5. Set small attainable short-term goals. Looking at the months of months of hard work that may be necessary in order for you to reach your goals can be daunting. Keep in mind your long-term goals, but focus on smaller goals that are within reach in a small amount of time. For instance, if you have a hard time going all week and eating clean, make it a goal to eat clean for 2 days then take a day off -- and repeat. Or set a goal for the number of workouts you want to get in for the month. Tackling these smaller goals will strengthen your dedication to seeing that your long-term goals are achieved.

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