7 Ways to get Your Fitness Motivation Back!

At the start of 2020 for the first time in a long time I felt like I had been given a bit of my ‘me time’ back.  My youngest child had started Kindergarten which left me with some time in the middle of the day to dedicate to my own personal pursuits.  I threw myself into building more of an online presence with my health business and started a structured weights based program at the gym (that wasn’t an afterthought after training a morning of clients).  I was super motivated and committed for the first time in a long time and I felt I was improving in all areas of my life.  Life was good!

Life for all of us changed forever with Covid 19, a pandemic which threatened to compromise our health and disrupt everything we knew to be familiar and comfortable.    I was stood down from a job I had been in for 17 years and on the same day so was my husband.  I no longer had a gym to train out of which more than just a physical outlet for me but also a mental one.  Everything I had been invested in had been turned on it’s head in what felt like a number of days and weeks.  I was concerned about my health and the health of my family and friends, as this pandemic was uncharted waters for all of us.

Fast forward many months later, as we start to regain some sense of normality back what should be a reassuring time for many of us has left us feeling flat, demotivated and like

we are treading water.   Conversations with friends and clients is centred around lacking motivation to exercise and some are simply still cautious about resuming their previous routines.   Instead of feeling stuck or like we are stalling my approach has been to focus on the things that are within our control and let the things that are out of our control simply be.

Staying ‘fit’ is more than the physical it is also the mental and if we practice the below tips it will help us all feel happier and more productive in everything that we do.  We owe it to ourselves to work as hard on our happiness and mental health as we do on our physical health so let’s try to make these tips and tricks a daily practice.

  1. Be Kind to Yourself:

During lockdown some of us felt the pressure to upskill, learn a new language, food prep, crochet or start a new business.  I refer to this as ‘quarantine guilt’.  What is quarantine guilt? It is the feeling that you should be doing more to better yourself.  Now on the one hand if you find yourself with more time than usual and learning a new language is something you have always wanted to do then pursuing this whilst you have more time seems logical and is perfectly ok.  However, if on the other hand you want to use any excess time to relax, watch Netflix or read some books that is fine too.  A part of what makes us all different is that some people thrive on stress and become uber productive and some people simply do not.  It’s important to recognise and accept which one you fall under and accept who you are and what you are capable of.  This doesn’t mean don’t push yourself, but make your goals realistic and relative to where you are now.  You will be surprised at how much happier you will be if you stop pressuring and comparing yourself to everyone’s achievements around you.

  1. Get a Grip on Your Diet:

With more time to shop and food prep feeling better about ourselves can be instantaneous if we choose to eat more nutrient dense foods and less processed foods.

The way we think and our emotional health is directly related to our physical health, the two are intimately linked and dependent upon each other.  If we are filling our bodies with junk and processed foods this disrupts our energy levels, the way we sleep and even changes the way we make decisions.

Start your day off right with a healthy breakfast which can play a key role in regulating appetite for the rest of the day. Opt for protein rich foods, wholegrains and add some good fat into the mix as well.  Studies have shown that people who eat breakfast are less likely to snack on sugary foods later in the day.

  1. Have a Plan:

This plan needs to be realistic! Committing to training 6-7 days a weeks when realistically you can only fit in 3 is setting you up for failure.  The one thing I have learnt about being a trainer for many years is that life gets in the way.  People start off with great intentions and then run into a work deadline, an injury occurs or their children need their attention. If you can’t train for any of these reasons suddenly your self-esteem and motivation go and you are no longer training at all.  When creating your plan for exercise ensure that it is ‘sustainable’, something that you can realistically fit into your week.

  1. Have a Goal:

Having a goal gives us something to focus on when motivation starts to wane.  Motivation is often turned to for momentum to get you started but can’t be relied on for long term success. Why? Because motivation is a feeling and all feelings fluctuate. It doesn’t matter how badly you want to achieve a goal or love doing something – there will be days where you are just not feeling it!

Instead, set a realistic and sustainable goal that doesn’t add more stress to your week.  I often hear stories from clients who have a plan and if they mess up one part of the plan up like eating something ‘bad’ they throw it all in and start again next week.  The key here is to not expect perfection and to keep your expectations in check.

  1. Be Realistic and Start Small:

Here is the most important thing to remember when you get started, that ‘moderation is the key to fitness success’.  The key to success is showing up consistently and making small, achievable changes over a period of time.  You are more likely to stick to a plan that works in with your lifestyle and not against it.  Take a long-term view rather than chasing the quick transformation. As things start to become easier you can increase your training load to suit.  You don’t want to go from 0 to 100 overnight, it is not sustainable and you will burn out or injure yourself.

Consistency is key, consistency gets results!

  1. Make some Lifestyle Adjustments:

It’s often the little things we do outside of our training regime that have the biggest impact on our lifestyle.  These adjustments don’t have to be all encompassing but can be little things like having 4 alcohol nights free a week, getting up from your desk every 30 minutes to walk around, changing how we are currently eating or simply moving more.  One thing that we can change right away which will have a significant impact on our health is drinking more water.  Being hydrated helps detoxify the body, balances our blood sugar and promotes healthy looking skin. If you were to do an audit of your current lifestyle what adjustments could you make straight away that are not serving you?  Take some time to have a think about these and then pick one thing you will change for that week.  These little changes over time will create substantial positive  differences over a period of time.

  1. Get rid of Distractions:

How many times have you heard yourself say ‘if it’s not in the house I don’t think about it/eat it’.  With more of us spending increasing amounts of time at home working and self-isolating it is important to get rid of any distractions or things that may derail your plans.  Don’t keep biscuits and sweets in the house if you know you struggle with willpower around these types of foods.  Limit the amount of alcohol you consume by saving it for 1-2 nights per week instead of every night during the week.

Set up a dedicated spot where you can do your exercise, meditation or stretching everyday. Establish a routine around what time of day you do it so that it becomes a part of your daily ritual.  Ensure you pick a time where you won’t be interrupted by work or children even if it means getting up a bit earlier each day to do so.

Finally, stop comparing yourself to other people especially those you see on social media.  Most images you see of fitness models/influencers have been training for a long period of time and will only post pictures of their ‘highlight reel’ which in some cases have been heavily edited.  Try not to fall into the habit of competing and comparing as what we often perceive to be somebodies ‘perfect life’ is often not the case at all. We feel good when we perceive we are better than or ‘getting one over’ those around us and feel terrible when we seem to be falling behind.  This fear of missing out (F.O.M.O) or keeping up with the ‘Jone’s’ is nothing new but it can have harmful effects on our emotional and mental health.

Remember confidence comes from consistency!  It’s like anything in life, if you want to be better at it then you need to do it more often.

I like this quote to keep me accountable: ‘You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do’.


How to Live a Life Without Fear & Overcoming Your Limits!

One of my greatest fears in life was to live a life of mediocrity, of never pushing myself mentally or physically because I was afraid of failing, or of other peoples reactions or simply because I was scared. When I was in my 20’s and 30’s I thrived on ticking off my ‘bucket list’. This ranged from living in 4 different continents, bungee jumping, caving in Christ Church, abseiling, sky diving, being a contestant on a reality tv show and even representing Australia for sport. As I got older and started a family the less of these ‘bucket list’ items became a priority. My mindset became more about ‘what if this happened?’ or ‘what if I hurt myself?’ I started feeding into this mentality of being afraid which was the very thing that was keeping my fear’s alive. I developed a chronic case of claustrophobia after a scuba diving accident that meant getting on planes was uncomfortable, taking a lift made me uneasy and getting stuck in the Sydney Harbour tunnel was the stuff of nightmares.

As a result, I started living a life that was ‘safe’, avoiding feelings of vulnerability and anxiety because it made me feel uncomfortable, opting for the path well worn and travelled, opting for what felt safe 100% of the time. Slowly, I found myself surrendering to every fear and phobia that had developed over time choosing to give these energy rather than face the monumental task of tackling them head on. As we know, the nature of these kind of things is, what we feed grows, and my fear and phobias had taken on a life of their own.

Massive Action:

In order to harness these fears and phobias and to experience that feeling of being alive and purposeful I knew I had to set myself a pretty lofty goal. Something that made me nervous, something that made me fearful. I had the opportunity to enter into a 12 week boxing training program at my local gym whereby at the end of the training you would have a 3 x 2 minute boxing match with an opponent. I had listened to enough podcasts and read enough self help books to understand that the only way thru your fear is with massive action….so this boxing match was it. I couldn’t think of a bigger statement than getting up in front of 500 of my clients and peers and potentially being hurt or worse still knocked out.

Much to my surprise I really enjoyed the training, there was something about learning a new skill that kept me interested and focused. I found myself losing body fat and getting fitter and stronger, so far it seemed to be a win-win situation. As the fight started to get closer my nerves started to increase. Just thinking about the fight brought on a dump of adrenaline that flooded my body from head to toe.   The primary purpose of adrenaline is to prime the body to ‘get ready’ for action. The fight or flight response which gives you energy to get the job done became a familiar adversary from 4 weeks out from the fight. Around this time as well I started not sleeping, I would go to bed thinking about how each round was going to play out, what my plan of attack would be, how it would feel. As soon as I woke up in the morning I was thinking about the fight again….was this normal? I felt like I was starting to lose my mind, I mean I knew it was all part of the process to feel nervous but my fear was starting to rule my life. Here I was trying to be a mum to 2 kids and run a personal training business but all I could think about was this boxing match. I found it hard to concentrate on even the smallest tasks and things that required too much brain capacity were put on hold till after the fight.

Fast forward to a week before the fight and I was a frazzled mess, my anxiety was thru the roof and I was constantly on the edge of tears. When the organisers declared I would be the first fight of the night this sent me into a complete tail spin. All of my fears and catastrophic thinking of what could go wrong reared it’s ugly head…’your arms won’t work’, ‘you will have a panic attack’, ‘your legs wont work’ ‘you will forget everything you have been taught’. My irrational thinking had taken on a mind of it’s own and it felt like there was nothing I could do to control it or stop it.

Little did I know that ‘catastrophic thinking’ is just another form of anxiety whereby we focus on the worst possible outcomes which provide a distorted and negative picture of how the world works (No Worries, Sarah Edelman PHD 2019).

I didn’t know it at the time but the vast majority of negative events that we anticipate don’t happen, and even when they do, we manage to get through them. But for me there was no reasoning with my thoughts and the more I tried to control them the more I perpetuated them.   With less than a week before the fight I made the decision to pull out, my anxiety had gotten the better of me, my anxiety had won.

Managing Anxiety:

In retrospect, had I understood the nature of anxiety and what it feels like to be anxious I would of realised that what I was feeling was normal. Yes I suffer from catastrophic anxiety but rather than try and control my irrational thoughts it is more about recognising them for what they are and changing my relationship with them. Some strategies that can help with this process according to Sarah Edelmen (2019) include reality testing, asking ourselves what is ‘worst, best and most likely’ by using a thought monitoring form. This involves recording the situation or trigger that gives rise to our anxiety (or other unwanted emotions), identifying the thoughts and beliefs that underpin our emotional response, and determining a more reasonable perspective. By writing down our unreasonable thoughts and reflecting on the worst, best and most likely outcomes of our situation we can identify a more reasonable and balanced perspective for our thoughts.

Facing our Fears:

‘There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid’. (L Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz).


From that moment that I pulled out of my fight I had let anxiety rob me of potentially one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I had done the work, I was physically prepared but unfortunately not mentally prepared. This was a pivotal turning point in my life because I knew I had to start training my mind as hard, if not harder than what I was training my body. I knew the best way to overcome my fears was to deliberately confront them. This involved relinquishing all of the safety behaviour’s I used such as avoiding situations and over analysing things in order to keep me safe. The only way I could release anxiety was by accepting that I cannot control every aspect of my life. I had to learn to tolerate uncertainty, take risks and embrace challenges. I had to relinquish the perpetual search for safety, the scanning for threats, overthinking and all of the other safety behaviour’s I came to habitually use. Instead I needed to turn my attention to taking on new challenges, learning to let go, breathe, trust and see what happens.


You don’t need to walk around with your umbrella open when it’s not raining.


It was finally time to get this albatross off my back once and for all. Living with fear as an ever present enemy is something that hangs over you eroding your self confidence and chipping away at your self esteem. It was time to put a harness on that fear.

My opportunity for entering the ring again was determined by me, in a state where nobody knew me and on my terms. I selected the Masters Games in South Australia as the venue and told nobody except my Coach/husband about what I wanted to achieve. Together, we set about mentally and physically preparing me for the fight so this time the outcome would be different…I would get into the ring this time, no pulling out, no second thoughts. Mentally, the lead up to this fight was one of the hardest things I have ever done and I experienced a roller coaster of emotions leading up to it. I questioned myself over and over again but I always kept the big picture in the back of my mind, which was how I would feel when the fight was done. I would finally be free of the anxiety that had kept me a prisoner from the first time I had attempted this.

On the day of the fight, it was the calmest I have ever felt up to this point, I knew I had done all of the work mentally and physically to prepare me for this. When the final bell for the final round sounded you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. Anxiety may have won the first round but I had won the second and most important round of all, I had won the war within myself.