Just this afternoon I was screaming inside my head WHYYYY!? I was talking to myself as usual, this time not out loud (now that’s unusual). Frustrated by the fact that I didn’t want to do my upcoming workout and to make matters worse was that I wanted to pig out on junk food (my mother-in-law offering me doughnuts didn’t help). It’s not like I’m even on a strict diet or anything, I don’t have any contests coming up and I’m pretty liberal with my food choices, so why the heavy cravings for junk food, what gives? It didn’t have anything to do with time restrictions either, I didn’t have any engagements that I had to attend or perform. I was just feeling LAZY!

Then I started to think about all the people, who fought so hard to lose those 15, 25, 50lbs or more, only to gain it all back and more in less than a year. My heart goes out to them, I mean I know that it is very tough to stay on track with our fitness goals with sooo many distractions and temptations that are surrounding us every single day. You have to have razor sharp focus in order not to fall off the fitness train. Is there anything you can do to make it easier? Are there certain “tricks” or techniques that you can use to help ensure compliance?

That’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks, I had become satisfied, or in other words I lost my motivation. I know that sounds weird but please let me explain. In November I competed in the NPC Nationals in the best shape of my life. After the contest I made the decision not to compete again until 2005 taking the time to work on my weaknesses and to give my body ample time to recover from the injuries that I had sustained along the way. I took 6 weeks off, didn’t do anything, then I started back lifting, more of a rehabilitation mode more than anything else. That is where I’m at right now in my training, improving my musculoskeletal balance. I am not concerned about my weight, body composition, or appearance right now; I’m satisfied with those things at the present time, even though they are not where I would like them to be.

You see I gained approximately 17 pounds during taking that time off. But the bottom line is that I’m OK with the way I look right now because my focus at this time is not with how I look, I know that I don’t have any competitions in the near future. Where as last year, I stayed motivated all year, didn’t cheat once on my nutritional plan that was mapped out in advance. Didn’t miss any workouts regardless of how tired I was, that was because I was motivated by my upcoming event at the Nationals. I’m not saying that you have to enter a bodybuilding competition, to light your fire, or keep it burning. What I am saying is that you have to have something to reach for, something that gets you excited, something you want real bad! Whether you want your health back; the waist size you once had when you were 18 years old, or to look fit and trim for that 20-year high school reunion.

The thing is once you’ve reached your goal, then what? Let’s say that you wanted to lose 20lbs, and you got into a fitness program you worked real hard, followed the program to a “T”, and in about 3-4 months you lost the weight. Hurray! Not so fast, if you don’t replace that goal or desire with another one that is going to keep you motivated, it won’t take long before a pound here and a pound there will start ‘showing’ up. Why?

We as human beings tend to take the path of least resistance, without that goal to help you keep focused; you will slowly fall back into your old lifestyle. Let’s face it, in today’s times with everything being oriented on how to make your life easier, get things done quicker, it’s going to be real tough to make time for that workout. One missed workout won’t hurt and that’s true just as long it doesn’t turn into 4 or 5 missed workouts and before you know it, you’re out of it. So the key to saying on the fitness track is to constantly be setting up goals that are meaningful to you. Goals that will challenge and inspire you!

I recommend you write out your goals. Sit down and visualize, picture yourself on how you want to look a year from now. Write down what you want your goal to be a year from now. Then break down your goals to monthly, weekly and daily. Be as specific as you can, try not to generalize. For example, “I am going to go the gym today” is too vague. It would be better if it was written this way “Today, Monday at 6am before work, I am going to workout my chest and shoulders for 30 minutes. This may seem like a lot of work, writing out your goals, but it is a sure way to help you reach and then maintain your desired fitness level. Remember staying fit doesn’t happen by accident, it’s just a decision away. Remember you can email me anytime with your questions at using the form below.

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Editors note: Even though I wrote this article in 2004, the principals are timeless.

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