Sticking to the Program


Canada’s hottest Fitness Champion Linda Cusmano passes on some of her very own motivational techniques.Other than the famous “I don’t have the time” syndrome, motivation is one of our foremost downfalls to getting into shape and keeping with an exercise regimen. Being in the sport of Fitness, with frequent diet modifications, high training demands and no room for slacking off, I myself find it a challenge to continually maintain such a trying schedule. We all have our days when we feel weak or bored and would take any excuse to skip or put off that days training.

Other than the famous “I don’t have the time” syndrome, motivation is one of our foremost downfalls to getting into shape and keeping with an exercise regimen. Being in the sport of Fitness, with frequent diet modifications, high training demands and no room for slacking off, I myself find it a challenge to continually maintain such a trying schedule. We all have our days when we feel weak or bored and would take any excuse to skip or put off that days training. Over the past few years I have found that if you are armed with the proper ammunition you can overcome any of these challenging days and complete your work out regardless.

Having a goal is the main motivation and should be enough to keep you in focus, but even then it is easy to fall short of our own expectations. The temptations of excuses and believing those excuses can be a powerfully dark force! Sometimes accounting to ourselves is not enough.

Vary your training; don’t fall into the boredom rut! Alternate your training with outdoor sports, sports drills, or anything you are not normally doing. Your body needs that stimulation in order to continue responding to your demands. Trying out new home video tapes like the cardio kickboxing or maybe doing a couple drop-in sessions at some sort of martial arts or spinning class to break from the norm. Adding this type of ‘cycling’ to your training can be done on the fourth week of every month which is similar to the periodization theory allowing for small increments during the next phase of training.

For starters, the best approach to keep a program is to jot down your workout plan for the week by deciding which muscle groups you will train on which days, and your time and type of cardiovascular exercise. You may even be so organized that you can include the exercises you plan to complete or at least the ones you don’t want to forget. Not only does this keep you on target, but you are somewhat committing to these dates and will have a higher success rate at getting the workout done. You may want to choose exercises that you can do at home as well, using body weight or dumbbells so that in the event your workday is long and you don’t make it out to the gym you can still complete your training. By having it written down if you do happen to miss that work out will make you see that on your program. The missing day standing out as incomplete will be a way you must account to yourself but this deterring you from doing so in the future.

Having a training partner or personal trainer can also make you attend as planned because now someone else is counting on you. For those of you that are on your own you may want to become creative about having to account to someone to ensure the exercise is done. Children can be a great asset as they love to get some authority and telling them that they have the power to tell you what to do will be a nagging little reminder that it is time to hit the weights. Kids can be the best reminders!Those without kids can use alarms in the home, on their watch or computer and some really good friends would make no bones about giving you a reminder phone call. Use your support system any way you can, even when you think that there is no support you can find some, just be creative.

Another great plan of attack is to pre-pack. Ensure you have your training gear and snacks packed the night before and if you drive, store it in your car with a couple days worth of supplies. Pack plastic bags to bring in your return laundry without bringing in your work out bag then possibly forgetting it the next day! I like to keep 3 to 4 small towels, 8 snacks like baggies of nuts or protein bars, my training program clipboard, extra changes of important clothing articles and maybe a magazine for the cardio if I use a stationary unit. I also tend to forget my supplements so I store a couple days worth of that as well. Parking meter change is handy to store if you don’t carry your wallet as I don’t when heading to train. This may seem menial, but there are many individuals (you know who you are) who need this type if planning to ensure they don’t back out of a training session.

Monitor your progress. Most important is to see your efforts being rewarded and this can happen soon after beginning your consistent training program. Make small notes including the dates from the time you begin, keeping track of things like all your weight training, cardio, bodyweight, body measurements and any other accomplishments such as flexibility gains, strength gains, and endurance gains. This alone can make you keep up each day. You have a powerful tool with these notes, to compare what works and what does not keeping you driving ahead with gains. I know many who have logged their training and diets for years!

I hope some of these hints I have shared with you will get most of you motivated and moving. Just remember to use creativity because it is too easy to back out of a training session. I have shared a few of my hints in hopes to spark more ideas within yourselves, encouraging you all to succeed with your goals!

* This article is exclusive to IronMagazine.com, reproduction in any form without prior consent is strictly prohibited.


Linda Cusmano is a Pro Fitness and Figure competitor who has competed in every competitive class including obstacle. An accomplished writer and model, Linda owns and runs her own training business successfully for ever 10 years while coaching other competitors and competing herself. Visit her website at: www.lindacusmano.com

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