Please keep in mind that all information in this post is educational in nature and is not a substitute for professional advice from a coach or medical professional.
Personal training is great. If you have a good trainer you get all the benefits of education, safety and external accountability all wrapped up into one neat and tidy service to make staying consistent with working out virtually guaranteed.
But, sometimes it’s just not in the cards for you.
Maybe you can’t afford it or maybe you just don’t know any good personal trainers. Whatever the reason, there are still many things you can do to help you achieve your goals.
Here’s a quick list of 5 things you need to do to get in shape if you can’t afford to hire a personal trainer:
1. Set a goal that ACTUALLY motivates you and write it down.
SMART goals are useless if they don’t motivate you. What really matters is that the goal emotionally resonates with you.
I wrote about this in my post about New Years resolutions and it still applies.
Do you want to lose 5lbs? Why? How is that going to change your life? What’s the real reason behind the desire to lose 5lbs? Ask yourself ‘why?’ 3 times to get down to the real root motivation behind your goal.
Maybe it’s confidence or maybe it’s about feeling better physically and having more energy. Whatever it is, be sure to write that down so you can go back to it later when your motivation gets low. It should be something that is so deeply motivating and encouraging that no matter how down you are on yourself, you are reinvigorated by reading it.
2. Find an external source of encouragement and motivation.
This could be your favourite movie that makes you always want to work out, a few Instagram accounts that are always posting motivational pictures or maybe it’s a friend who just has an infectious passion for health and fitness.
Whatever it is, make a commitment to get regular exposure to that source of motivation.
3. Get some external accountability.
Having a source of external accountability is critical for almost all of us. Sure you might be able to do it on our own, but it’s not a guarantee. Having that external accountability provides a source of motivation when something comes up that kills your internal motivation.
Just be sure to pick a good accountability source that will ACTUALLY keep you accountable. I find that a financial incentive/penalty such as dietbet.com or stickk.com is great. Just like having a trainer, the fact that you have money invested will keep you accountable.
If you go the route of finding accountability with a friend, make sure that they are the type that won’t let you off the hook. Try to find someone that is ahead of you in their fitness journey and avoid doing mutual accountability as that leaves you prone to letting each other off the hook if you both happen to have low motivation.
4. Find an adequate workout program and stick to it.
When it comes to working out to get in shape, consistency is key.
Almost any program will do. Sure, some aren’t as good as others, but nothing kills progress faster than hopping from program to program every two weeks when something new comes out.
Find something that seems good and stick to it for a minimum of 8 weeks (but ideally 12 or 16 weeks) to see major progress.
5. Treat your workouts as immovable objects in your schedule.
If you were paying $40-$100 per session for personal training you wouldn’t miss a session, so find a way to shut down excuses for skipping sessions.
Don’t let business or work or family or anything else get in the way of your workouts unless they are truly emergencies. It’s only 3-6 hours of your week and taking care of your physical health will end up making you better and more attentive with all of those other things you need to be doing. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that trashing your body will help you to be a better husband/wife/father/mother/employee/manager/friend. It won’t. The opposite is true.
This is where that external accountability is absolutely critical.
And there you have it!
While it would be great if you could hire a personal trainer, not being able to afford one is no excuse for putting off getting in shape and getting healthy!
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