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How to keep motivated at the gym

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(Image credit: Unknown)

Rob MacDonald – aka Bobby Maximus – knows how to train hard. The former UFC fighter is now general manager of Gym Jones, the Salt Lake City-based training facility that beat 300’s Spartans and Man Of Steel’s Henry Cavill into heroic shape. Gym Jones’ doors are open to those who can make it to Utah – but if you can’t, says McDonald, you can still benefit from their mentality. 

The key to finding motivation is to surround yourself with like-minded individuals. For a time I believed that Gym Jones were the only people that worked hard, that pushed our limits. But through teaching seminars and meeting all kinds of people, I know there are people all over the world that do incredible things. We had a guy at a recent seminar who had leukaemia, three brain haemorrhages, lost his sense of balance, couldn’t walk – and ten months later, he did a 180kg deadlift and the 300 workout. That’s more impressive than anything our gym has done.

There are these people around who want it, who care. And if you keep your eyes open, you’ll learn to identify these people at your local gym or wherever you train. If you can’t come to Gym Jones, form your own community – it can be just as good. Incredible things can happen if you get even five or six like-minded individuals together. 

A lot of people set limitations on themselves. They’ll use the excuse, ‘Well, I don’t have a Gym Jones, I don’t have people to train with’. You really think that’s a reason you can’t be an amazing person? Believe in your ability to succeed and you’ll get there. 

In the picture

Everyone, myself included, has days where you feel like you can’t do The Thing – whatever it is. There are various strategies you can use to beat this. The first thing I do is picture what it’ll be like to achieve my goal. Secondly, I picture a time in my life where I’ve overcome adversity. That reminds me that I’m capable - no matter how tired I am, how worn down I am, no matter how bad I feel. I can still dig deep inside, find it and do it. 

You could keep a book recording times you’ve been successful. Maybe you got a personal best in a 2,000m row when you doubted yourself. When you do something you’re proud of, especially if it’s something you didn’t think you could do, write a paragraph about it. 

Push on through

This absolutely applies to everyday life. In the same way you have to overcome adversity in the gym or in sport, you have to overcome it at work or in a relationship. The strategies you use to push through the bad things in life aren’t so different from those I use in the gym. If I can do one thing I’m scared of, it makes me realise I can get through all the others. 

Turn it up

Need a challenge? Here’s what MacDonald suggests

100 press-ups a day: If you do 100 press-ups a day for a year that’s 36,500. It’s incredible what just a little each day does. Start with 30 days.

20-1 burpee ladder: Do 20, then 19, then 18, all the way to one. That’s 210. Aim for 20 minutes. Perfect form: press-up, jump, hand clap – no slacking.

2,000m row for time: Aim for under seven minutes. 7min 1sec is a fail. Seven dead is a fail. 6min 59.9sec is a pass. This is a gut check – keeps you honest.

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