Why you should always push yourself and look to improve

When it comes to exercise and training, it’s easy to get complacent and ‘stuck in a rut’. If you’re looking to increase fitness levels and improve your performance, you should always push yourself and be looking to make improvements. CMS Fitness Courses (CMSFitness), a premium provider of health and fitness training and courses in West Yorkshire, examines why you should push yourself whilst training and how to bring greater motivation to your training sessions. 

Pushing yourself during any training session or workout helps boost fitness levels and performance. Failing to exert your body during training will mean your performance, in whatever sport or activity, is likely to remain at a consistent level and fail to improve.

How pushing yourself improves performance/fitness

Many of us don’t like to push ourselves because it hurts! We are quite happy to ‘go through the motions’ of exercising and training without challenging ourselves or putting in additional effort.

Maximising intensity

Whether it’s lifting weights at the gym or sprinting the final half a kilometre on a run rather than jogging it, increase the exertion of a workout and you’ll increase the intensity. As the Huffington Post writes, “Doing as much as possible, as close to the maximum exertion you can put out, is intense.”

Whilst the intensity of a workout should be at a level and pace you feel comfortable with, failing to push ourselves means our fitness levels and performance is unlikely to improve. Take running as an example. Whilst long slow distance running is a great workout for everyone, including beginners, moderate interval running, whereby you run in quicker bursts or intervals, helps to improve your overall cardiovascular endurance. You will also burn more calories than you would in a lower intensity workout.

Broadly speaking, the higher the intensity of the workout, the more you will get from it, both in terms of the number of calories burned and improving levels of fitness.

Resistance training

Resistance training, in which during exercise the muscles contract against an external resistance as a means of increasing tone, strength, mass and endurance, has long been associated with increasing athletic performance.

In fact, as CMSFitness wrote in a blog about how to avoid overtraining, as well as increasing athletic performance, a personal trainer might recommend resistance training to improve general health and fitness, to improve posture and proprioception, for rehabilitation after an accident or injury, and to increase bone density and the musculoskeletal system.

How to feel more motivated about training

Of course maximising the intensity of workouts can be easier said than done and if you’re lacking motivation, attempting to push yourself during training can be challenging.

Fortunately there are ways we can improve our training motivation. Adopting a similar approach as we might do when encouraging a child to do their homework by giving them a reward can be effective.

In fact rewarding ourselves for a quality workout shouldn’t be underestimated. In his book ‘The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business’, journalist Charles Duhigg, advises giving ourselves tangible rewards after working out, such as a delicious smoothie or watching an episode of your favourite programme.

According to Duhigg, over time this motivation becomes intrinsic as the brain begins to “associate sweat and pain with the surge of endorphins.”

Variation

Bringing variation to a workout can also help produce more motivation. Although repetition of a technique is what gets you strong, going over the same route day in day out, training for the same length of time and at the same pace, is all but guaranteed to get monotonous and dull and do little to inspire motivation.

Instead, varying your workouts by modifying the intensity, the number of reps and sets performed on each day and the sequence of which exercises you do on what days, as well as choosing a new location, a different terrain, training at different speeds, diverging strength work and different gradients, will not only make a workout more interesting, it will help keep you motivated, which in turn will encourage you to push yourself harder.

Sustaining training motivation 

Of course once you’ve reached high levels of training motivation, you’ll want to hang onto it, which, again, can be easier said than done.

Hiring a personal trainer

If you’re struggling to maintain training motivation, hiring a personal trainer can be an effective way to help you overcome mental and emotional workout roadblocks. Having a dedicated fitness expert by your side offering your support and expertise, can not only be a powerful tool in ensuring you maximise workouts but can also give you the drive to stay motivated and stick to a tight training schedule.

Goal orientation

Making personal improvements and being motivated by goals is a powerful tool in pushing yourself and improving. Take Andy Bolton as an example. With determination, perseverance and a drive to beat his own previous goals, Andy became the first man to perform a 1,000 lb. deadlift. At the age of 18 when Andy started lifting weights, he never thought he would become the world’s best squatter and dead lifter, testament that we should never underestimate our capabilities and with grit and tenacity we can all make improvements to our performance.

Exercise and training should be fun and enjoyable but if you are looking to ‘up your game’ and improve your fitness levels and athletic ability, pushing yourself that little bit further during each training session will eventually pay off.

This blog post was written by CMS Fitness Courses (CMSFitness), specialists in health and fitness training. Based in Huddersfield, CMSFitness offer a diverse range of high-quality personal training and fitness courses in the West Yorkshire region. CMSFitness is recognised as a premium provider of health and fitness courses that offer a variety of commercial and government-funded training programmes for people of varying ages and backgrounds across Yorkshire.