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Five ways to boost your fitness motivation

Here are some of the ways science says you can up your drive and hit your fitness goals.

Strike a pose

Look at you, with your chest puffed out and your sneakers on! Holding a pose like this for a couple of minutes increases your levels of testosterone, raising your confidence and can-do attitude, according to joint research from Columbia and Harvard universities. When heading into an intimidating workout or new fitness class, try taking what researchers call a power pose: chest lifted, head held high, arms either up or propped on the hips. Forget faking it until you make it. Researchers say faking it can actually help you make it.

 

Say “You’ve Got This”

It’s not just the pep talk that helps; it’s how you phrase it. People who encourage themselves using the second person (“You will run five miles”) rather than the first person (“I will run five miles”) perform better at tough tasks, according to a series of experiments published in the European Journal of Social Psychology. And get this: In one of the experiments, when researchers had people write exercise plans for themselves, those who used “you” in their advice planned to exercise more and felt more excited to work out than those who used “I.” While they’re not exactly sure why, researchers believe it’s because people are attuned to following commands – and commands are given in the second person.

 

Focus on who you are not what you do

One more tip on self-talk: Labelling yourself according to who you are (think: “I’m an athlete”) rather than what you do (“I work out”) yields better performances, according to one study from Harvard and Yale. Why? It ties your goals into identity and sense of self. After all, it’s easier to simply not do something, like work out, than it is to go against who you are as a person: an athlete.

 

Take a trip down memory lane

When it comes to motivation, we are usually thinking about the future. But thinking back could be pretty helpful, too. Remembering a positive workout experience – from crossing a finish line to peddling to your favourite playlist – can increase your motivation to work out, according to recent research from the University of New Hampshire. After all, if you enjoyed exercising once, you can enjoy it again!

 

Pump the Tunes

More upbeat high tempo music is more likely to get you running faster and working harder during cardio sessions. Load up and iPod with some of your dance music favourites and feel the sweat drip.