Quit-proof tricks (backed by science) to boost your motivation.
Agree on an instant reward for yourself
Imagine you're at work, battling the report that won't die. "What would motivate you more: your boss promising you a one per cent pay rise some time in 2015, or saying you can take Friday off?" asks sports performance coach Dr Stephen Simpson. "Because you instantly visualise what you'd do on Friday, that's enough to make the report as good as done." Plan a similar motivational "carrot" for straight after a workout.
Do this quick test
How many push-ups can you do in 60 seconds? "It takes three weeks for your body to respond to a change in exercise and nutrition," says health coach Ben Camara. "So every three weeks write down how many you can do and in what position. This way you can really track your progress."
Wear a heart rate monitor
To get the most from exercise, you want your heart rate to reach 75 per cent of its maximum. A heart rate monitor is like having an army drill sergeant on your wrist, pushing you on. "First, calculate your maximum heart rate [HRmax] with this formula: HRmax = 220 minus your age. [So, if you're 28, your HRmax is 192]," explains Camara. "When working out, aim for 75-80 per cent of your HRmax. As you get fitter, it takes more work to get to that point, which is exactly what you need to keep improving."
Leave your phone in the locker
Camara has a strict no-phone policy, for one reason: "If you have time to check Facebook, you're not working out hard enough." So with no phone, how do we stop clock watching? "I tell clients to think of the following in a cycle: their posture, their technique, their goal (eg: wearing that
bikini) and how great they'll feel afterwards. It gets them through."
Train first thing
If you're feeling motivationally challenged, Camara advises blitzing it before work. "Studies show morning exercise leads to healthier food choices throughout the day, and there's the psychological boost. Post exercise, your body does its own second workout repairing small muscle tears, which burns kilojoules. Knowing that this is happening as you sit at your desk is far more motivating than a couple of smug hours before you go to bed," he says. So you're more likely to go again.