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MIND GAP: Stay Motivated And Get a Workout Buddy

Where were you when the second CMCO was announced? Jake was at home on a work-related call presenting to his boss. For the last few months, Jake has been made to work from home due to the second wave of COVID-19 cases in Malaysia. He had initially thought he would have more time to go for runs but apparently when you work from home, you never stop, and you are expected to do more because you do not have to “go” to work.

Jake did not give up hope – that perhaps, there might be some time for him to train after all.  However, with overwhelming workload, cancellation of marathons and other races, his demotivation became real. “Should I even train? Like, what’s the point?”.

Jake’s situation is not an isolated one. Yes, sometimes we do go to the office, but many of us still mainly work from home. Fatigue kicks in, and it is easy to give up. Though some of us still train, it just gets more difficult over time. Although gyms are open, we might still be skeptical to go due to the prevalent cases happening around. But, what do we to stay motivated to keep on training? Why should this happen in the first place?


3 tips to maintain your training motivation

#1 Acceptance of Situation

Yes, these thoughts do play around in our heads. So, we need time to accept the situation we are in. Adapting to this pandemic is not easy as it is something new to all of us. How each individual adapts will vary.

In Jake’s case, he was significantly affected with the uncertainties. His 6-weekly sessions were completely stopped since the MCO period. When gyms reopened, Jake had his doubts of visiting the gym. He adapted to a home workout routine with limited resources. He took some time to create a new training plan rather than stressing himself out with an old plan that was not feasible. Jake also made squeezed some creative juices by using daily such as rice bags to replace the gym weights.

#2 Goal Setting

It would be an irony to set training goals for live events that would not happen. However, we can always have a make believe of an event, and we train towards achieving the goals we set for that event. Alternatively, there are lots of official virtual races today. While virtual races do not provide the same atmosphere as live events, they can be great motivational tools for us to continue training and maintain our fitness regime.

#3 A little encouragement goes a long way…

Yet another motivational boost would be to have a workout buddy. Working out with someone ensures that even on your worst days, there would be someone to push you further. Where situation permits, it would be cool to have someone working out with you in person. But where restriction applies, an online workout buddy via Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google Meet may be just fine.

Pair this workout buddy with a “social contract” to boost your motivation further. This can be done through a behaviour modification. For example, Jake and his buddy engage into a social agreement to complete specific sets of workouts within a week, failing which, the one that breaches the “contract” would need to pay a penalty to the other. The penalty is not meant to be onerous; rather it is to keep all parties in check.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of us, with some in more ways than others. Physical conditions aside, our mental health and economic activities are also impacted. Yes, try as we might to adapt, but alway remember to give ourselves time and space when things get too overwhelming. It is part of the process of an optimal adaptation, but such breaks are necessary.

Overall, be kind to yourself, and do take care. Until when you are ready, go smash that routine. To all readers, stay safe, and do take care.