In today’s training article resident Rugbydump Academy S&C Coach TJ Jankowski gives us some key tips on how to make sure you never miss another training session, no matter what your level of motivation is at the time.
One question I often get asked by guys when they find out what I do is “How do you stay motivated to always go to the gym and train?!”.
And to be honest, I never have a straight answer for them. Motivation is different for different people, and I think we’ve sort of lost sight at what true motivation actually is.
It seems like wherever I go on social media these days I get slammed with ‘Motivational Posts’. Usually it’s just some random quote that doesn’t really apply to anything out of it’s context. Other times it can be someone with some sort of physical disability doing any exercise with the person who posted it (never actually the person in the post itself) telling me that I haven’t got any excuses.
Other times it can be just someone posting a photo of themselves shirtless in the mirror. None of this is motivation, I guess you could argue that it’s inspiration but in terms of actual motivation and getting me in the gym, this stuff isn’t really useful.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still get fired up by watching a big-hit compilation on Rugbydump.
Or if I have a few hours before I’m due to train, I might watch any of the Rocky films (we all know Rocky V doesn’t actually exist right?).
But there’s two things that are incredibly important when you’re thinking about motivation that will actually get you results.
A. True motivation must come from within you.
B. Motivation will never last very long.
So if we consider point A, you’ll realise that whatever motivational message I could write in this post, I’m not really going to motivate you to do something in the long-term because that has to come from inside.
And because of point B, there’s no point in me trying to motivate you anyway.
Instead what I am going to set you three things to do that will keep you training and progressing far better than any motivation talk will.
1. Set Some Goals
There aren’t many people that ever really got anywhere in life without first setting themselves the goal first. This is what gets you started in the direction that you want to be in.
If you don’t know where you want to go how can you get there?
There is probably a reason that you want to train in the first place right? Lose weight, get stronger, get fitter and perform better are the most common. But just thinking about it isn’t really enough.
For these goals to keep you on track you need to take some time, sit down with a pen and figure out exactly what it is you want. And why. That parts equally important.
If you don’t really care that you have a bit of a beer belly because you have a wife that loves you anyway, then you won’t keep showing up to the gym to get rid of it. But if that beer belly is stopping you from playing the rugby you’re capable of – and you really want to get better – then you might.
(Note – this could work both ways, if you don’t really care about playing rugby yourself but you know that you need to lose the gut to look and feel better, then that works to).
Two last key things for setting these goals:
1. Make them objective – people can definitively tell if you’ve achieved it or not. Think ‘add 20kg to your deadlift’ rather than ‘get stronger’.
2. Make them time-bound – so that you can’t keep putting it off forever. Think ‘Lose 5kg of fat before the first pre-season game’ rather than ‘lose 5kg of fat’.
I’m sure we will touch on goal setting again in the future as it is a POWERFUL tool for you guys to use to really make progress, but for now we can leave it there. You know what you want to do. Now let’s work on how we’re going to do it.
2. Create a Routine
If I asked you why you brushed your teeth every morning (you do… right?!?) would you say that you do it because you’re really motivated? Do you think about avoiding the dentist every time you go to do it? Do you think about not having a big yellow smile when you put toothpaste on your brush?
No, you do it because it’s routine.
This is the same way we need to look at training – you don’t show up to the gym because you’re motivated, you do it because it’s your routine. If me or my athletes only turned up to the gym because they were motivated at that point in time, I’m telling you that the gym would be emptier than you think.
When it comes to actually getting results and building a strong, athletic physique, consistency is probably the most important factor. Your goals are why you get started, but what keeps you going is the routine, it needs to become what you do.
I cannot suggest exactly what your routine should be – I have some people that go every lunch break, I have some that get up at the crack of dawn and go before work and then there’s the majority that go after work/school in the evening. You have to find what works for you and try as best as you can to stick to that.
Once you have a routine to keep you going to the gym, you are in a good place. But to go a bit further and make sure you will put the work in, you need to know what you are doing in the gym, before you get there.
Speaking from even an experienced coach’s standpoint, simply showing up requires significant willpower, then more’s needed to figure out what you’re going to do, so by the time it comes to actually do the work, you can’t be arsed!
Another reason to make sure you have a routine is a simple mindset switch that it triggers.
If you don’t have a set plan to do and you then skip the gym that day, well you haven’t really missed anything, nothing actually existed for you to miss.
But if you don’t turn up to the gym when you actually have a plan to do, and it’s written down on paper in front of you, then you HAVE missed out. You’ll have to cross it off as a miss and you’ll probably feel bad for doing so.
Which conveniently leads me to my last point
3. Be Accountable
This is probably as close to motivation as we’re going to get when we’re looking at effective ways of keeping you consistently in the gym.
Accountability can work in several ways, and it can work incredibly well. I actually think it’s one of the most significant factors that play into guys getting results when they start taking supplements.
They’ve paid a chunk of money for something that’s going to help them put on slabs of muscle – they aren’t going to skip training because otherwise they know that money goes to waste!
Now, you don’t have to start forking out for supplements to get you accountable, but you will have to do something that will result in negative consequences if you fail. I decided to make a handy table to represent ideas that you could do.
|ACCOUNTABILITY ACTION||NEGATIVE IF FAIL|
|Join a gym.||Lose money that you spent on membership. (Why they’re cheap now)|
|Setting goals.||You have something that you know you missed out on.|
|Tell people (friends, family, coach) about your goals.||You have something that others know that you missed out on.|
|Getting some team mates to join you in the gym.||You let them down every time you miss a session.|
|Join a paid programme (and tell people)||You waste money every time you miss a session and you let people down.|
|Hire a coach||You are directly accountable to one person every time you miss a session.|
It’s one thing to know what you want to achieve, it’s another planning on exactly how to achieve it, but the real action comes when you actually have accountability on you sticking to the plan and achieving.
No amount of #motivation can replicate that.
About TJ Jankowski
TJ Jankowski is a former international rugby player for Poland rugby, who achieved their highest world ranking of 23 whilst he was part of the team.
It was this reward from hard work that led him to become a coach and help other achieve greater success than he could.
TJ now works as an expert Personal Trainer in the middle east, coaching heavy lifting and personalised nutrition to help a wide scope of clients achieve their goals in a sustainable manner.
A competitive weightlifter himself, he also has a keen eye to help others perfect their technique, particularly in the olympic lifts. Having said all that, he prides himself on creating programmes and nutrition that work in the real world, not with robots.
TJ has worked with international rugby players from 4 different continents and we are thrilled to announce that he can help you as part of the Rugbydump Academy