1. Have a written plan for your week’s training. Without one, it’s too easy to let things slide.
2. Consistency, rather than occasional superhuman efforts, is what gets results. Sometimes this means showing up and going through the motions when you’re not really feeling it - but those sessions are as valuable as the killer ones you post about on Facebook.
3. Give yourself something to train for. Whether it’s a competition, an event like a marathon or a triathlon, or a specific goal you want to reach. Gaving something in mind helps to keep you focused on the tough days.
4. Make it social - having friends to train with makes a big difference. It’s more fun, they can help keep you honest and tell you if you’re slacking, and you’re less likely to skip a session if it means letting someone else down.
5. Keep your mind active. Learning new skills and working to improve technique helps to make your workouts interesting, and stop you getting bored. If you’re stuck in a rut with your exercise routine, think about learning something new or booking some coaching to help you improve.
6. Recovery in between sessions is as important as the training itself. To get the best results from your gym time, make sure you’re getting good nutrition and plenty of rest as well. I use PhD Recovery 2:1 post-workout which gives my body the fuel to recover.
7. Get the right balance between pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone, and listening to your body. Learning the difference between the kind of discomfort that’s a normal and healthy part of hard training, and the sort of pain that you need to pay attention to because it signals injury or overuse, is something that comes with experience. If in doubt, be cautious to start with and build the intensity of your training as your confidence and fitness improves.
8. Don’t train through injuries - train around them. Injury can be frustrating for anyone who’s serious about their training. While you want to avoid aggravating the problem, there are often other areas you can work on, or things you can do to stay active while you’re recovering. Working with a good coach / physiotherapist / sports osteopath or other professional can help here.
9. Sometimes, bad sessions go with the territory. If you’re having one of those days when you feel weak as a kitten and can’t get anywhere close to your targets, don’t sweat it - we all have them. Do what you can, and have confidence that you’ll be back on form before long.
10. Have FUN. The most effective training program is one you enjoy doing. Don’t be afraid to change things up from time to time, try new things, and find challenges that get you fired up.