Avoiding the Dumbbell Doldrums

DumbellChances are, you’ve experienced burnout in one area of your life or another. You’re in a rut at work. You are completely over a volunteer gig. You’ve lost interest in a hobby you once loved.

And another example: You can’t seem to find the motivation to work out and maintain healthy habits.

Obviously, as your trainer, the latter-mentioned example is as frustrating for me as much as it is for you. I want you to achieve your fitness goals. I want you to head to Boot Camp and Kettlebells and get your sweat on as many times a week as you can. I want you to rock out at your personal training session. I want you to embrace your love of the smoothie and choose that over a Frappuccino seven days a week.

But I realize that we’re all human, and it’s your lifelong challenge to keep yourself on track, mentally and physically.

There are many ways you can track yourself. There are plenty of nutrition-and exercise-focused apps for smartphones, gadgets to monitor your activity, and even old-fashioned tracking methods like food and fitness diaries.

If you need help, we’ve come up with a new system at Performance Fitness to help you stay motivated: Performance Fitness Accountability Coaching and Tracking (PFACT – pronounce FACT). It’s a free program for all of our members. It holds you (and us) accountable, helps celebrate your victories, navigates your challenges, and focuses on you.

Tracking your progress should help you when you hit the “dumbbell doldrums,” when losing or maintaining inches has lost its allure. With PFACT, you’ll get 30 minutes a month to weigh in, get measured, review your progress, and choose your next 30-day goal and action steps. If you monitor your fitness some other way, tracking will help you stay goal-centered.

For some of you, it’s hard to imagine tracking another aspect of your life. For those of you struggling with fitness fatigue, I want to focus in on how you can reframe your performance goals and find new motivation for maintaining your health.

I’ve noticed that some of you have hit a wall lately, mostly for these two reasons:

  1. You have reached your fat loss goal and are asking yourself, “Now what?” You’re giving me the side eye when I’m talking about monthly check-ins.
  2. You are struggling and avoid the monthly check-in because you’ve been “bad.”

So, again, let me emphasize that we’re all human. It’s not a surprise that after that big birthday, social event, or major fitness milestone that you’d find yourself in the doldrums.

Let me suggest some methods for fighting the workout blahs so you can stay focused and compliant and make measurable progress.

You’ve achieved your goals and don’t know what’s next.

If you have been 100 percent driven to achieve your fitness goal and hit your mark, congratulations are in order! However, you now must grapple with how to stay motivated with new goals.

Chances are, if you have been completely focused on fitness and compliant with just about every step of our plan, you’ll have to learn how to maintain your fitness while encountering situations where you’ll need to “break” the rules now and then. A new action plan will help you balance real-life situations with your bad-ass self.

Action plans could involve workouts that focus on strength training. Figure out how to set a new goal for you that will result in a hunger to achieve it. You could track your progress by testing your most coveted moves every month. How many push-ups can you do in a month? What about squats (there’s a ton of variations), sit-ups, and sprints? Chances are you’ll be motivated to break your own records each and every month. Get your competitive juices going!

The other challenge you may encounter after you’ve achieved some big fitness goals will relate to your nutrition. Checking in regularly with goals will keep you on track and find eating strategies that will help when you’re out to dinner with family, grabbing drinks with girlfriends, or hosting a party for the big game.

If you need some more inspiration, check out this list of 20 ideas for boosting your long-term success.

You’ve been unable to reach your fitness goals and have been “bad” (usually in terms of your nutrition)

First of all, eliminate the word “bad” from our vocabulary when it comes to food and nutrition behaviors. It’s food for goodness sake NOT a moral conundrum.

Now, there are plenty of ways to get you back on the wagon if you fall into this camp. It might be that you need a small nudge to get you moving in the right direction again. Your monthly plan can focus on incremental changes that will help you see more results (though on a smaller scale). You can eat a healthier breakfast every day without touching the rest of your diet (and you might be surprised after a few weeks that it becomes a habit). You can focus on doing awesome squats and nothing else. Many of you have been making SMART goals, which are meant to help you zero in on one particular goal, boosting your entire fitness regimen.

Once you find incremental approaches that inspire you, tracking your progress should keep you from giving up completely. Rather than feeling at loose ends, you’ll be excited to meet your goals because you’ll take into account the factors in your life that will help or could hinder you from achieving fitness supremacy.

Remember, it’s up to you to continue your fitness journey, but we can help!