Why you don’t need motivation for lockdown training
Welp. Here we are again. National lockdown. And we all know what that means… we’re banished from the sanctuary of the gym and the company of our training buddies, and we’re back on the home workouts and solo sitting room sessions.
Part of the reason so many of us enjoy working out is the socialising that comes along with it - the mingling, the accountability, the bravado. Since lockdown restrictions make this 100% less possible, we’re going to have to come to terms with the fact that the motivational high- or air-fives, and post-WOD oat milk lattes just aren’t on the cards right now. If you rely on that stuff to keep you moving, you’re probably worried your inclination to exercise will dwindle over the coming weeks.
Being driven by success
It was Woody Allen who said “80% of success is showing up”.
And it was Libby Bearman who said “No, it isn't”.
Sure, Woody had a long, successful career, and got himself a bunch of awards, but was his success in any sort of physical activity? No. Any idea what he could bench? Me neither. What’s his Fran time? Exactly.
Success is rarely instant, and comes from graft and hard work. But even though we may have more time at the moment, finding the motivation to graft when you’re faced with clearing the coffee table and pushing it up against the sofa to get carpet burn from the sit ups that will never give you abs can be a struggle...
… so do not rely on motivation.
Rely on routine
Easier said than done, sure. It doesn’t matter if you’re a slave to your schedule, or a reckless rule-breaker, things have changed and are changing dramatically at the moment, and establishing a new routine is a good way of getting the necessities done. You need to plan when you’re going to eat, when you’re going to rest, and when you’re going to train.
This can look different to different people, but it’s about discipline and accountability. Punishment, or deprivation, in terms of exercise performance can bring about a negative mindset so balance is important here, but if you set yourself a workout target, and fall short, consider a burpee penalty. And then, if you surpass your target, perhaps reward yourself, maybe with your favourite specialty coffee, a new piece of gym kit, or even a highly sought-after, fully-customisable functional fitness subscription box filled with top quality brands and discounted services ;-)
If you find it too difficult to be your own task-master, it’s time to get digital. Your gym’s probably doing online classes, your PT is probably offering face-time workouts, and all the C-List celebs you follow online are probably going live with a sweat session. Zoom’s not so bad (when there’s no alternative), and Virtual Training Buddies are (hopefully) better than no Training Buddies.
If you had them, it’s probably a good idea to adjust your training goals for now. By all means, keep weight, shape, strength, and energy as your markers, but maybe tweak the numbers somewhat. Lockdown training for many of us is going to be about maintenance rather than progress. Use a training diary and record your weight or measurements, or jot down your workouts. There are loads of apps you can use to do this online, and even social media can be a good way of documenting exercise, especially if you respond well to visual feedback.
Does Woody Allen have a point?
No, really. @wod_science published details of a study that compared some training versus no training during the first UK lockdown. It showed that although reducing physical activity will result in a loss of muscle mass and strength, continuing to exercise in any capacity will counteract that. Don’t worry about motivation, just check your mindset, establish a routine, or just concentrate on showing up on Zoom.
A competitive CrossFitter and coach at CrossFit DireWolf, Libby Bearman, provides Elite Box customers with experienced insight and helpful tips for functional fitness and training. Qualified, knowledgable, and curious, she offers her views on the health and fitness industry as a whole.
Follow her on Instagram: @LiftLikeLibby