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Secrets to Staying Motivated

By Pete Sisco - Developer of Static Contraction Training

Self Motivation

I've spent a lot of years trying to figure out ways to engineer and optimize strength training workouts so a person can get maximum results in a minimum of time. But the truth is the greatest workout routine in the world is useless if you don't have the motivation to actually do it. Here are some tips to help you avoid the pitfalls that lead to lack of motivation, missed workouts and stalled progress.

Have a Plan with Goals

Every time you do a workout you should know what exercises you are going to do and what weights you are going to use. Moreover, because progressive overload is the foundation of muscle building progress, you need to ensure overload increases from workout to workout. There are three fundamental ways to ensure an increase in the intensity of overload. Here they are in order of preference:

a) Use a heavier weight for the same number of reps and sets (or the same duration of a static hold.)

b) Use the same weight but increase the number of reps and/or sets

c) Use the same weight and reps but perform them in a little less time.

Again, a & b yield the best results. Relying entirely on method c could lead to the dangerous practice of going too fast and inviting injury.

Don't Keep Switching Exercises

Many people make the mistake of grabbing whatever exercise machine is not being used at the moment. So last workout they exercised their biceps doing barbell curls on a preacher bench, this workout they'll use a Nautilus biceps machine and next workout they'll do cable curls on the low pulley.

The problem is there will be no way to compare progress in an "apples to apples" way. The fact is that while 100 pounds on a barbell really is 100 pounds, the same weight on a machine is often not what is advertised after it runs through a few pulleys and levers. (We've tested many machines to confirm this.) Sticking to the same exercises on the same equipment is the way to ensure accuracy in the measurement of progress.

Don't Work Out So Often

Overtraining is the single biggest mistake people make when strength training. You have to remember that aerobics and strength training are very different. It's a great idea to do 30 to 60 minutes of low intensity aerobics every day. And there is no need to increase the intensity of that exercise beyond your age adjusted target heart rate. So every day for 10 years you can do an identical aerobic workout.

Strength training is different. You make progress by progressively increasing the intensity of your workouts. To make a long physiological story short - you can't generate that increase every day. And contrary to popular gym advice, after you've been training three or four weeks you can't generate an increase working out three times per week. You'll need more time off for full recovery.

If you paid attention to the points above, you'll be able to clearly see your progress by reviewing your well planned workouts using the same exercises each time so you'll have meaningful comparisons.

Measure You Bodyfat Percentage

I've known many people who've become frustrated needlessly because they didn't realize they really were making good progress. The goal of all strength training is to increase the amount of lean muscle tissue in the body. The benefits of having more muscle are nearly endless and beyond what can be covered in this article.

Many people make the mistake of using only the bathroom scale to gauge their progress. So the guy who sees the scale read "185" for two months can think he's on a plateau and not making any progress. But if he'd known his bodyfat percentage since the beginning he might discover that he's gained 10 pounds of muscle and lost 10 pounds of fat! That is magnificent, highly motivating progress... but he cheats himself out of knowing it because he doesn't check his bodyfat percentage.

Knowing your bodyfat is not only about how much fat you's also bout how much muscle you gain.

Progress is the Ultimate Motivator

The bottom line is seeing constant progress is the ultimate motivator. It is so powerful it's almost intoxicating! And that feeling of confidence and positive achievement carries over into many other aspects of your life.

If you plan your workouts, make "apples to apples" comparisons, adjust your training frequency and closely monitor your strength improvements, fat loss and muscle gain you'll never want to stop exercising. And everyone else will wonder what your "secret" to staying so motivated is.

Have a great workout!

Pete Sisco