#08 – Fitness Motivation For Beginners & Dealing With Injury Or Setbacks

Hi I’m Jim from jimshealthandmuscle .com and audiofittest.com. today I want to talk about an important part of anyone’s fitness journey. In today’s episode, I’m going to address an issue that every body will have at some point in some form.

I always go on about creating good habits as these habits will eventually become part of your daily routine and play their part in creating the best possible you when it comes to health, fitness, mindset and so on. But what happens if your life suddenly gets in the way and forces you to change things?

This happens to everybody and even as someone who has used fitness and training for my whole life, I can say that unless you are aware of the effect that knock backs, changes in circumstance, ill ness, change of work place etc. This type of thing can spell the end of your fitness journey.

As I mentioned, this happens to everybody and as usual (if you have listened to any of my stuff before, you know that this is how I like to get a message across) I’ll give an example of one of my experiences with this. In the last podcast episode, I talked about how the gym I trained at for the past ten years closed and I was forced to find a new place to train.

I want to stick with this as it fits in very nicely for this episode too. So the gym that I had been training at, the gym that I had created a 10 year habit of going to closed and the good, established and unbreakable habit of visiting the gym that I had nurtured had been taken away from me.

So your gym closed, nice one mate! Just join another gym! Jeez!… I feel might be a response from some people and on the face of it, that’s exactly what I did….  But its not that simple as there’s a lot more to it than that and knowing this, will make it easier. Let me break it down.

To get to my gym, I cycled. This was about a fourteen mile round trip and when I decided to start up my own online fitness business back in 2013, I needed to cut back on anything that cost me money and one of these items was a car! So I sold my car and got a bike, if I ever needed a car I could use Mrs Jims health and muscles as she has one for work. I couldn’t rely on this car as she also has her own business and this is what she needs, so my new car was actually a push bike, nice!

Anyway, I eventually got used to not needing a car, sure it was a bit tough in the beginning as this in itself was a big change and there are not many people in this day and age that could do without a car. So no car, cycling everywhere, I got used to it.

When the gym closed after all this time, a great opportunity popped up to join a brand new gym for a ridiculously cheap monthly membership but it was way out of reach to bike to. This means that I would have to find a way to get there or simply write off this particular gym.

I did end up joining this gym and found a way to work it so that I could get at least four training sessions in per week by using mrs Jims health and muscles car when she didn’t need it.

So getting back to the whole “disruption in routine causing problems with your training and fitness goals” this transition between my gym closing and me getting into a new routine in a new gym was not as straight forward as it sounds and it actually took me around two months to get back into a comfortable routine.

Why was dealing with injury or setback so hard? –

  • I had to find another way to get to the gym, I could have got myself another car but this would have added to the disruption by putting extra financial pressure that I wasn’t used to on top of everything else. So the other option was to use Mrs Jims health and muscles car when she didn’t need it and throw in a bit of fuel here and there, and as the new gym is open 24 hours, there is a lot more flexibility
  • I now had to train at different times of day and this meant that eating times and diet had to change slightly too
  • As I was previously cycling to the gym, I was now not doing any cardio exercise now, unless it was done in the gym, this meant that the actual training in the gym had to be redesigned slightly too. One thing I did notice here too was that I was holding more fat, so more tweaks to diet and training had to be made to balance this out.
  • The equipment at the new gym is different. There are some new bits and pieces but there are also no substitutions for some of the best exercises that I was used to using at my old gym. Luckily for me I know how to adapt machines, bars and dumbbells to be able to emulate what I have missed, but I imagine for a lot of people without the knowledge of kinesiology, this would be very inconvenient and may cause gaps in their training. So it took time for me to tweak my training sessions.
  • Mentally, this was a big change too as all the above points have a bearing on mindset. A new place to train, new people, new timings, new ways to train, new morning routine, new meal prep, all of these things require mental energy and organisation. I do have other commitments other than writing fitness books and talking into a microphone, I have another job too, so this had to be worked into the new routine.

One thing that I can’t relate to is having children, but I can imagine this is another massive commitment to many that will have a bearing on any disruption to routine. I’m always reluctant to give my take on this as it’s something that I don’t have personal experience with but I will say that the creation of any routine should be worked into lifestyle and I don’t see why looking after children is that different, it’s part of a lifestyle and if the motivation for fitness or any other goal is there, there is always a way! Now I can say that from experience.

Anyway, before I get off track, the points just mentioned all bring their own challenges to the table. On the face of it, the change of circumstance was that I had to just change gyms to workout in and this is probably how most people will see it but hopefully you can see that there is a lot more to it than that and I hope that it highlights some potential problems that you could be facing if you have a disruption to routine.

So this was a real life example of a disruption to routine that happened to me recently but it’s not the only one that’s ever happened. Like everyone else, I get sick, go on holiday, have family emergencies, have moved house, eat my weight in chocolate over Christmas without going to the gym etc. All of these things can really make you slip up, lose motivation to train, lose sight of your fitness goal and lose motivation to carry on. But if you can’t find a way to get past these issues, you will only ever get to a certain fitness level before something happens to get in your way again. If you want to get real results, you NEED to find a way past these setbacks.

A break in routine can happen for so many reasons and something small might affect one person a lot more than another and vice versa, so for the next part I want to talk about a few things that you can do if you feel that a change in circumstance, whatever it is, however big or small is causing you to have a disruption in your fitness or weight loss development. So here are a few tips that may help you get back on track –

How to stay motivated at the gym –

  • Identify the problem and make fixing it a priority
  • Plan your recovery
  • Fit your plan into your lifestyle
  • Don’t give up and tweak things if necessary
  • Let me explain…

The first step – Identify the problem and make fixing it a priority

This might sound ridiculous but if you don’t categorically state that X Y or Z is your issue for missing your training sessions or eating the wrong food at the wrong time, you can’t fix it. So for the example I just spoke about, my problem was that I needed to find another gym to train at and I needed to find a way to get there regularly and consistently.

Another example of a set back might be an issue with diet; Mr X might be great at going to the gym consistently and training well but he might have had a health issue that caused his diet to change or be disrupted, this will have a knock on effect to training as he may not have the energy to train like he used to and a further knock on effect from this might be to start becoming less consistent with training and so on and so on until Mr X doesn’t bother with the gym or fitness any more at all. Mr X’s problem and the root cause of slipping up with his fitness goals is identified by a problem with diet that needs to be addressed and this should be a priority.

One more example could be that Mrs Y trained and ate well consistently for several months before going on a holiday to Spain and tanning up the new bod on the beach, but when she gets back home, she has less energy than she did before she went away, she has put a bit of weight back on because of all the paella and sangria and getting back to the working routine is tough enough and the gym is optional at the end of the day, so a few weeks trying to get back into normal routine may take priority before getting back to the gym is even considered. Mrs Y’s problem is lack of motivation and energy to get back into the gym right away so she can pick up where she left off.

These are just a few examples but there might be a time when you have several things going on at once. This can be a bit trickier but the principals are the same.

The second step – Plan your “recovery”

I’m going to call it a recovery because it kind of is. Sometimes the problem might be a physical injury that needs rehabilitating properly and in my book, recovering and rehabbing an injured muscle or coming back from having a limb in a cast can be the same as coming back from an issue that is mental rather than physical. For instance, if you are lacking in motivation for whatever reason and this is causing you to miss gym sessions, eat the wrong things and generally feel down, you need to start from the beginning again. Just as a physiotherapist would give you an exercise plan to follow with some basic movement of an injured ankle, foot or leg before actually walking again  you need to do the same if the issue is in your head.

After identifying the the problem that you are not motivated for instance, you might want to start from the beginning again. What got you motivated the first time around? Can you plan to implement this process again? Do you need a new process or some new motivation? If it is the latter, you should set out to plan how you will do this… If you need any pointers here, I know of a great book – Fitness and exercise motivation by James Atkinson, available in ebook, paperback and audio format J. It might be an eye opener for you if you’ve not read or listened to it already, but in all seriousness, if you have never planned to be mentally strong or planned to build mental robustness alongside your physical training, you should really look into this. It can be pretty life changing and a lot of people don’t see the importance of this.

So if you have identified a physical problem that has caused setbacks in your fitness goals, you should work on addressing this. Let’s imagine that you have broken a bone in your leg and you are in a cast for six weeks. After much mulling over and troubleshooting you finally identify your problem or set back as being a hulking great plaster on your leg that stops you from doing more than training and in some cases working. Yeah this is a pretty extreme case again and of course the physical problem could be something much less obvious but lets stick with the broken leg for now. On the face of it you cant do anything for six weeks so you have to just chill out and forget everything until the cast is off, where’s the pizza menu right? Wrong! You could do this but it would be causing you more set backs, during this six weeks you could research your diet and start to implement it, you could research recovery for your injury and start to plan it out for the day the cast gets taken off, you could even develop a training routine that you can do sitting down to keep your “working parts” ticking over. This way, when you are ready to go, your recovery time will be less, your diet will still be good, you will have minimised further setbacks and probably most importantly, you will still be motivated.

The third step – Tweak things, fit them in to your lifestyle. Once you know what’s tripping you up, and you have a plan to fix it, you need to put the plan into action, yeah, another obvious one. But there are things that you can do to make this easier. The easier something is, the less stress it will be to do, so when you implement your plan, you should look at fitting it into your life. An example of this if you are struggling to get into a routine with a new workout schedule is to fit it in when it’s convenient. Going back to the story that I opened with about my recent setback, after I figured out that I needed a new gym to train in, I then decided that I was going to use Mrs Jims Health and muscles car when she didn’t need it. So to make my plan of working out on a regular basis a bit easier, I fit in my workouts to suite my lifestyle. So I would now train in the morning and go straight to the gym after my other secrete early morning job. This meant that I would have to change my diet a bit and be a bit more organised but this way I’d be home after my gym sessions for 10 am! In the end, this actually works out a lot better for me. 

The fourth step – Don’t give up & persevere.

Giving up and getting off track again are similar and I want to address a common mistake that’s made all the time in the world of health, fitness and fat loss and that’s losing sight of your goal by changing your plan. While this is not a flat out – “Oh I give up, I’m not going to the gym today, I guess Im not made for fitness results”, its still a form of giving up on your plan. For example; so many people will see an advert on social media or anywhere else that’s promoting “the best way to lose weight” or “ the secret to building massive muscles” or “one simple trick to lose weight fast” and they will be sucked in by it opting to try something new and exciting rather than their current plan. Chopping and changing exercise plans, diets or workout methods too often can be as good as giving up completely when it comes to actually getting visible fitness results because every time you start something new, you are starting something from the beginning and it takes time for your body and mental health to adapt to the change. I could go on about this all day but I would like to keep these podcast episodes to no more than 20 mins so hopefully you get the picture. 

Don’t give up and the new habit or routine will start to fall into place, even though the new way of doing things might be uncomfortable at first, with a bit of perseverance and work, the new way of doing things will become the normal, it’s all part of the fitness and weight loss journey and I would say that if you do want to tweak things or make big changes to the way you do things, you should only start to make these changes after at the minimum 4 week intervals, give it a chance to start working.

Before I wrap it up I just want to make it clear that the road to fitness and weight loss is never a straight one and it never runs as smoothly as you plan it, however much planning you put in. Most people find before and after pic’s of very successful weight loss stories inspirational and in many cases, this is what actually gets someone to the starting line, but as someone who knows what it takes to earn real jaw dropping results like this, I am inspired actually knowing what these guys went through rather than just looking at the photos.

You can bet a pound to a penny that their weight loss journey was not easily summed up by comparing 2 pictures, they will have had many ups and downs, setbacks and changes in circumstance that effected their mindset and motivation, but in the end, they overcame and this is what I hope for everyone who sets out on a fitness journey. I hope that when a setback of any kind does arise, they have the knowledge and determination to face it down and get past it. And I especially hope this for you as you are here actually listening to me ramble on.

Anyway, Thanks for being here and I hope that it has been useful, as always, buy all my fitness books and audio book, leave Amazon reviews; these things are very valuable to me as I’m self-published.

Thanks again for listening, all the best

Jim

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