Although most recruits say they want to get in the best shape of their life before Basic Training, few ever put in the work necessary to get there. The good news is that whether you want to lose weight before Boot Camp or get in shape for track, four to six months of daily fitness will help you survive even the most grueling training. Motivate yourself to work out with these 10 tips.
How to Motivate Yourself to Work Out
1. Know Your Schedule
When your workout is part of your routine, it becomes habit. Make it part of your routine by hitting the gym at the same time every day—early morning works best for many people. Whenever you decide to schedule your workouts, make sure you write them down in your calendar. If your workouts are not in your schedule, they do not exist.
2. Jam Out
Have music to motivate you even before you start working out. One of my favorites was a tape-recorded message of myself that said, “Hey, get your lazy butt up and into the gym! NOW!”
3. Name it and Tame it
Write down your goal and put it somewhere you’ll see every day—on your bathroom mirror, next to your bed or inside your locker. You can even blow it up to poster size if you’d like; just make sure you see your goal and think about it every single day.
4. Use Performance Cues
Sports psychologists promote “performance cues,” which help athletes get into the right mindset to perform. Your performance cue may be a phrase like “game on” or “let’s roll”—whatever gets you pumped up before a workout or game. It could even be a mental image of one of your best athletic performances. Use your performance cue whenever you start your workout to get your mind right.
5. Push Yourself Further
When you train hard, you’ll start to develop confidence in yourself. Don’t push yourself through serious illness or injury, but every time you push yourself past the “don’t feel like it” line, you’ll develop confidence that may be even more valuable to your performance than the muscle you’re building.
6. Find a Workout Partner
Help a friend get into shape by making him or her your workout partner. Go to the gym and compete with each other to push yourselves further. When you feel like quitting, your workout partner will be there to push you.
7. Work Harder
Spend a few minutes watching the people at your local gym. Chances are, you’ll see more people standing around than actually working. Just going to the gym won’t get you into shape any more than showing up at school will make you smart. When you show up to the gym, make it your goal to work harder than anyone else there.
8. Understanding Fitness
Read everything you can about nutrition and physical fitness. Once you understand what it takes to get into shape, you’ll be able to train smarter and get results faster.
9. Change Things Up
Doing the same workout week after week gets old fast. Not only will you start to get bored, but you’ll also hit a plateau as your body stops responding to the same exercises. Change up your workouts every two to three weeks by adding weights, calisthenics, exercises and cardio options.
10. Never Let Go of Your Dream
Most coaches say that they prefer players who work hard to players who have talent. When you get a hold of a dream and let it drive everything you do, you’ll outwork anyone to reach that dream.
Ultimately, it is your responsibility to get into shape. Figure out what you need to do to motivate yourself to work out. When it comes time to perform, you’ll be glad you did.
Stew Smith is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a former Navy SEAL and the author of fitness and self-defense books such as The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness and Maximum Fitness. He has trained hundreds of people for the Navy SEALs, Special Forces, Air Force PJ, Army Rangers and other military and law enforcement units. Visit Smith’s official website at stewsmith.com, where you can access his ebooks.