Today’s post is brought to you mostly by Pete from buddy up fitness. I asked him some questions, he did most of the work! Pete is a fitness blogger I follow on Twitter and he knows what he’s talking about. He lives up to his ethos and is always the first to comment on my tweets about going to the gym, offering a bit of encouragement here and there.
We were talking about collaborating on something, and we mentioned that people don’t seem to be as motivated toward fitness at this time of year. Which is totally fine, if that’s your plan and you’re cool with it. However, I know some of you are like me and really want to keep up the momentum you had when you were doing great at the gym this summer. And maybe you’re a bit frustrated with yourself because, for whatever reason, you can’t seem to find the energy or the motivation to keep it going.
My current situation is that I’m going to the gym in a hat, mittens, big puffy jacket, and being extremely grateful for seat warmers. Even though I am making the effort and getting there most days, there are days when I don’t want to get out of my snuggly position in front of a radiator.
So, I thought I’d ask him a few questions on the topic of fitness motivation, in the hope that he can help you guys out.
Firstly, can you just tell everyone a bit about yourself?
Hi so my name is Pete and I came up with buddyupfitness because I thought it would be cool to build like a fitness buddy community where we can help each other reaching our goals.
I have struggled to make any real progress with fitness for years. I have always loved football and played all the time as a kid. When I joined the armed forces I was introduced to weight lifting. I loved it but with going away on various exercises & shift patterns I never really stuck at it consistently to make any real progress.
I really got into it properly during my first tour of Afghanistan, this was where I found the gym to be my release. For that hour or two that I was training I could forget I was in an absolute shit hole and away from family, it was just me shutting off the world.
Since leaving the forces I have stability in that I go to work, I come home, every day. That for me is magic and now I am finding training much more successful because I can stick to a routine.
I feel like I am starting to win, although I am nowhere near where I want to be fitness wise, I’m enjoying it.
Now I feel I could share my experiences and things I have picked up and hopefully help other people to start winning on their journeys as well. Blogging has been a bit alien to me but I am really enjoying it. I want to connect with as many people as possible and I really enjoy working with other bloggers. It’s difficult to fit it in but I think it’s worth putting in the extra effort.
Why is fitness important to you?
Fitness is important to me because I generally just feel better when I am active. I like to look and feel healthy and I think being fit allows you to enjoy life so much more, especially when you have kids, running around with them.
To be honest when I have a break from the gym, two weeks or so, my body actually starts to get little niggles. It’s like I have to stay active or my body will start to give up on me.
What kind of exercise do you do? And how often do you work out?
I do weight training four to five times a week depending on other commitments. I want to increase this to six times a week by adding in a HIIT session. I also want to incorporate some yoga/mobility work as well.
We’ve talked a little bit about how people seem to be less motivated to exercise during autumn and winter. Why do you think that is?
Simply down to the weather I think. It’s harder to get yourself motivated & out of the house when it’s cold, dark & raining outside.
Blue skies and sunshine always make people more productive & motivated.
Why do you think it’s important for people to remain active all year round?
Plain and simple health. Too often people train just to look good, and sometimes the things people do in order to “look good” actually is not that healthy. If you want to look good, stay active and eat balanced, then you will be healthy and the looking good will come naturally.
The strain on your body to binge eat during winter and then go on some crazy fad diet in May ready for summer is ridiculous. Stay healthy year round and you will benefit in the long run.
Do you ever struggle with low motivation yourself? If so, how do you overcome that?
Yep! I think everybody does, you lose your focus & a day off suddenly turns into a week or two weeks or more.
It depends on my mind set, if I’m feeling just a bit shitty or deflated then I will go on YouTube and watch some videos. I like Steve Cook and Lex Griffin. They just seem to get my head back in the game and refocus.
Other times I will look at myself in the mirror and just look at myself & say “right come on sort yourself out, remember why you started!!” Give myself a mental kick up the arse.
I work quite long hours, usually 50-55hrs a week, so after a while it catches up with me and I just feel wiped out. If I feel like that I just plan a week off. If I don’t plan that week off I will spend all week thinking right I need to go gym tonight and then feel too tired to go, and spiral into feeling low because every day will be like right I’m going and then not go.
So instead of feeling guilty and like I’m failing, I try to recognise when I’m run down and cut myself some slack. I feel much more motivated at the end of the week if I have planned the week off rather than skip each individual day.
Do you have any advice for other people who find themselves less motivated to exercise?
First of all you have got to get your mind right. If you go into fitness, January for example saying “right I really should try & get fitter this year” just because you think you should then you’re probably only going to last til February maybe March.
You have to really want to exercise.
Part of that struggle can be helped by finding an activity that you actually enjoy. If you hate running or find it a chore, you’re going to struggle to motivate yourself to go after a long day at work.
Some people will find motivation if you take part in group activities like boot camp, bodypump, spinning, yoga, or team sports like football, netball, tennis, and squash.
Try and find something you enjoy or something you can do with a training partner, you can motivate each other then.
How do you deal with people who aren’t supportive of your fitness goals?
To be honest I don’t really tell people my goals. I will share my goals with my wife and that’s it really. My goals are personal to me.
I am a mechanic which is generally a very much take the piss out of everyone environment. So I know if I shared my goals it would be a response like “what’s the F*#*in’ point in that”
If people are not supportive then who cares, you are your own person and you have to do what makes you happy.
The only person’s support that matters is my wife’s, because we sacrifice spending time together so I can go to the gym. We find a good balance as we both feel it is important to have time together as a couple, a family, but also our own interests.
What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to staying on track?
Eating. I struggle so much to eat enough. I am an ectomorph, so I struggle to put on muscle. I need to be eating 2700 calories a day and I find that difficult, eating the right food.
Diet is so important and it is definitely what I struggle with the most.
Do you have any tips for people to help them get some exercise even when they just aren’t in the mood, or if they’re struggling to balance exercise with work/family life/other commitments?
Again you need to find something you enjoy. If you enjoy it you won’t mind finding that time you need to make it happen.
Work and family life are important and take up a lot of time. I find sticking to a schedule helps me focus.
So my week is planned out. Obviously Monday – Friday work all day, Saturday morning work. That’s rigid and doesn’t change apart from Saturday morning, that’s flexible.
I go to the gym Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Fridays I finish work a bit earlier so I’m in the gym by 1630 that day. Tuesday and Friday evenings is time with my wife, Saturday afternoon and Sunday is family time. This works for us.
Obviously you can’t be too rigid if things come up, daughter gets ill or wife gets ill other family commitments take priority but as long as you have a schedule that works for most of the time then I think that helps.
There is also a lot out there now you can do at home, HIIT, bodyweight training so if you really don’t want to go out you don’t have to.
So, there we have Pete’s honest answers to my questions about fitness motivation. I’d just like to thank him for taking the time to do this, and I hope it helps some of you.
The thing I love about it is that he’s a real person succeeding in his fitness regime with a full time job (HOW many hours a week btw?!) and a family and, even if you don’t have those exact same commitments, we can all relate to the struggle to prioritise health and fitness and balance it with all the other stuff we have going on.
I’d love to know if you got something from this post and we would definitely love to hear from you if you have any good tips on how to balance fitness with other commitments, and on how to stay motivated when it’s bloody freezing outside!