Hacking Motivation for Fitness

motivation crossfit

CrossFit is a challenging fitness program that requires hard work, dedication, and consistency. Having an interest in such a demanding sport can really take its toll physically but also emotionally. After the initial boom of weekly PRS and new skills, it can be difficult to remember your “why”  when you’re beating your body up in WODs on a weekly basis, and spending more time in the gym than on the couch. One of the biggest challenges you may face after training for a few months or years is staying motivated. Here are some tips to help you stay motivated and committed to your training program.

What is Motivation?

Motivation is a psychological force that moves us to take action or go after a goal. It's what gives us the drive, energy, focus, and determination to accomplish tasks, overcome obstacles, and achieve our objectives despite the cost. 

Motivation can come from internal desires and personal values or from external sources like rewards, or social pressure. In the context of fitness and exercise, motivation is what many people rely on to pursue a healthy lifestyle and commit to regular physical activity. While it can play a key role in getting started, motivation is often fleeting and is easily influenced by stress, fatigue, and other circumstances. 

Instead, you can create a sustainable training routine by establishing healthy habits and routines that become part of your lifestyle. This includes setting achievable goals, creating a schedule that works for you, finding a form of physical activity that you enjoy, and of course a lot of repetition. By establishing a routine and creating habits, you'll be able to maintain consistency even when your motivation levels fluctuate.

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Set Realistic Goals

While you can’t always rely on motivation to be a driving force, you can at least make sure you have something to work towards. Setting realistic and achievable goals can help you stay  committed to your training program. Start by setting short-term goals that are specific, measurable, and achievable. For example, aim to attend three CrossFit classes per week for a month or to spend 20 minutes after each class practicing your handstand walk (more info on that here!). The important part is these goals are measurable and have a realistic deadline. “Lift heavier” just doesn’t give the same get-into-the-gym sense of urgency like “be able to use the RX weights before The Open”. As you progress, you can set more challenging goals that align with your long-term fitness objectives.

Track Your Progress

Of course setting goals is only a part of the battle. How will you know if you’re on the right path to accomplishment you don’t keep track? Tracking your progress can help you see how far you've come and motivate you to keep going. Keep a workout log or use a fitness tracking app to record your workouts, track your scores and PRs, and monitor your improvement. Don’t forget to celebrate your achievements, no matter how small. Before you know it, you’ll be addicted to the feeling of reaching your goals. There’s power in knowing that when you work hard and consistently, you’ll eventually see the fruits of your labors.

Find a Training Partner

Goal setting and tracking aside, nothing will keep you on target and committed like accountability. Training with a partner can help you stay motivated by keeping you accountable. Knowing that someone is expecting to see you at the gym is often enough to make sure you're there.  Find someone who shares your fitness goals and training schedule and make a commitment to train together regularly. Whether it's your coach, the friends that you train with, or the group chat that you have to answer to can provide encouragement, support, and a little healthy competition to keep you consistent.

Mix Up Your Workouts

Doing the same workouts over and over again can get boring. Keep things interesting by trying new exercises, incorporating different training methods, and changing up your training schedule to prevent boredom and burnout. Remember that everyone has an off day (or even week!). Except for a very exclusive few, training CrossFit is a hobby and should be enjoyed. Even though it might be tough to get yourself to the box sometimes, more often than not, you’ll have had a change of heart by the end of the session.

Remember Your “Why”

When you're struggling to stay motivated, remember why you started training in the first place. Think about the benefits of CrossFit training and how it has improved your life. Whether it's improved health, increased confidence, or a sense of community, there’s a lot to be gained from exercising regularly. Even if your “why” has changed since you started training, remember the positive impact that CrossFit has had on your life so far, and what it can continue to offer you years from now.

Conclusion

A common expectation is that you should give 100% every single time you train which for anyone who practices CrossFit is often. Feeling motivated enough to train several times a week can sometimes be easier than others, however relying on motivation is not enough. Being motivated all the time is impossible but by instilling the habit of exercise and making it a core  part of your life, you can stay committed to training even when you don’t “feel” like it. Your future self will thank you.