Fitness motivation tips

It's easy to make a new year's resolution to get in shape, but once the initial enthusiasm wears off it can be harder to stick at it on a regular basis.

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If your motivation has fizzled out then there are a number of things you can do to relight the fitness fire...

Have a target
It's all well and good having a weight you'd like to reach, but it can be more useful in terms of motivation to have a performance target or a big event to build towards.

That might be a race that you've enetered, a long-distance bike ride or just deciding how much you want to beat your personal best time by on your usual run and chipping away at it.

It might be slow going at first, but the sense of achievement you'll get as your times get faster, your body gets stronger and the fat drops off will soon become a motivating factor itself.

Team up
We've all experienced the strange gravitational pull that the sofa and the biscuit tin seem to exert when it's raining outside, and it's surprising how easily our best-laid plans can be cast aside in favour of a packet of chocolate digestives and an episode of Homes Under The Hammer.

But it's much easier to stick to your plans if they are not just yours, but shared with somebody else.

That could be a gym buddy, football team mates, running club members or your biking pals. And if none of your friends are interested, the internet makes it easy to hook up with strangers for pre-arranged bouts of sweaty physical exertion - whatever form of exercise you favour.

Get appy
Not everyone is serious enough to bother with heart rate monitors and dedicated GPS units to measure their performance, but if you own a smartphone then there are a host of training tools available for free (or the price of a pint of beer).

GPS-based apps such as Endomondo and My Tracks will record your route, times and altitude for running, walking and cycling - letting you examine the data afterwards to see if you are improving.

Relative newcomer Strava also allows you to compete against other users on pre-set segments (which you can also create yourself), providing a surprisingly addictive experience and a great boost if you become the fastest on a particular section!

Other fitness apps take on the role of a personal trainer, setting you exercise tasks according to your goals - perhaps suggesting how far you should run on a particular day or which exercises you should perform.

Get help
If none of the above helps, or even if it does but you still want more, you might want to consider getting professional help in the form of a personal trainer or fitness coach.

Many of us are able to be more disciplined when we have somebody telling us what to do and having a personal training plan devised for you could be just the spur you need to get off the sofa more often.

Most gyms have personal trainers on staff and others work independently. If you are focussing on a specific sport or activity then it might be better to contact a trainer or coach who specialises in that discpline.

A quick internet search should throw up plenty of options, and try to get feedback from current or previous clients if possible. If you are involved in a sports club then you could ask for a word-of-mouth recommendation.

What are your fitness motivation tips? Share them below...