Winter slump: How can I motivate myself to get back out training?

Lost your motivation now the season's over? Struggling to exercise? Performance psychologist Dr Mark Bellamy has this advice for those struggling to get back on the training treadmill

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This motivational drop may be your body and mind telling you that things are getting stale in your approach to training. How is your lifestyle right now? Are additional stressors impacting your ability to put energy into your training? Has there been a change in diet or weight over the previous few months? Is your diet adequate for the load you’re asking your body and mind to manage?


It’s also worth considering how much attention you’ve paid to your recovery through the summer. Often low motivation – which can be accompanied by a drop-in mood state and perhaps change in sleep patterns – is an early indicator that recovery or a break is needed.

Monitor your mood, fatigue, recovery and sleep for a week on a 10-point scale. If you’re seeing low-ish mood, high fatigue, low recovery and poor sleep, you need to make recovery a major part of your routine.

If these measures seem acceptable and are working for you, then you may simply be stale from the training you’re doing. Long periods of training can lose its appeal and it’s important to maintain a certain amount of joy in one’s life. Consider mixing things up a little, bring in some hiking, kayaking, sea or river swimming if all your training is pool based, or simply do totally different activities such as paddle boarding, yoga or Pilates.

Dr Mark Bellamy is a psychology consultant who’s worked in sports for 30 years, including at three Olympic Games.

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