Exercise – What to do when you feel like quitting

As a full time athlete, you tend to become an expert in developing tricks to keep on track to achieve your goals. Whether your goal is to lose weight, build fitness or win a World Title, hauling yourself off the couch to hit the gym when it’s absolutely baltic out creates the same resistance in all our minds. I’m always getting asked how I have the energy and commitment to train so hard and especially while living with Crohns Disease. The truth is it’s not nearly as difficult as you might think. Firstly, most of you won’t necessarily need to exercise up to twelve times a week so you can forget about 6am gyms sessions if you’re not a morning person! But in order to be fairly healthy and maintain a decent exercise plan you will be looking at training about 5 times a week. For me I have always gone through phases of wanting to pack it all in and give up but after making quite a few mistakes along the way and having many moments of feeling sorry for myself, I’ve managed to develop my own methods for keeping up the motivation!

Remember why you started

Often when you decide you are going to get fit or start a new sport/fitness plan, the motivation in the early days is great! Getting through the first few weeks is a breeze and you’re just buzzing from the feeling of training and the fun you’re having. But then that feeling begins to fade and you start to notice some of the things you’re missing out on and you tell yourself “I’ll just take tonight off”. Before you know it you’ve taken a week off and that turns into another and another…..we have all been there! One of the tricks I’ve used to get over this is to always remember why I started. Usually in my case it’s to win a competition or to make weight for a fight and so I have reminders of the goal with me everywhere I go and anytime I feel like blowing off a training session I remind myself why I’m doing this and I get a new burst of energy to carry on.

Vision Boards

Shamefully love making lists and am a big fan of goal setting. I use these as stepping stones to ultimately achieve my dreams no matter how big they are. I’ve been doing this for years but more recently I started using vision boards which just reinforces what I want to achieve on a daily basis. A vision board is essentially pictures of your goals all bunched together and I find this makes it easier to stay on track with my training as it constantly reminds me why I’m doing what I’m doing. If your goal is to master a new sport, to enter a fitness competition or to walk five times a week visualising this any time you can will help you stay on track. It’s a good idea to have this saved on your phone or laptop so you can see it multiple times a day.

Quit beating yourself up

So let’s say you miss a few training sessions; the best thing to do is just forget about it and start again now. But what often happens is we beat ourselves up over it and end up feeling so bad about ourselves which makes it more likely that we will quit. So if this happens just chill out and tell yourself that you will be back for the next session…baby steps are better than nothing!

Believe in yourself 

One of the hardest things I’ve learned over the years is that in order to be successful you have to believe in yourself. Find the positive in everything to boost your confidence and believe that you can achieve your goal. These will build your belief in yourself and will allow you to push yourself a little bit harder and out of your comfort zone which then leads to better results. Also, surround yourself with positive people where you can and ignore the naysayers!

Do something you love

The last thing and for me the most important is that if you want to exercise, find something that you love. If you enjoy doing something you are far more likely to stick at it. I’ve spent almost 20 years doing the martial arts, often with many setbacks, so the reason I’m still jumping out of bed in the morning to train is because I absolutely love my sport. Nothing feels like hard work when you love what you do!