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3 ideas to refocus your fitness training

If you’ve taken a break from fitness training, for whatever reason, it can be tough to get yourself motivated to start again.

One great way to motivate yourself is to set some realistic, attainable, ‘written’ goals to help push you and keep you on track. Note the word ‘written’. This is because if you don’t write down your goals, they are simply wishes, and studies have shown time and time again that the act of writing down your goals is a very powerful motivator.

As well as writing down your goals, there are three key elements that will help you make any exercise or training regime successful. These elements are safety, effectiveness and enjoyment.


Newsflash, the ‘no pain, no gain’ theory is a myth. Pain can lead to serious injury.

You should avoid any exercise that causes you any undue discomfort or pain. And if you experience any pain in the neck or chest area, you should stop exercising and, if necessary, seek medical attention.

General muscle soreness, on the other hand, is another matter, especially if you’re a beginner, or restarting a training programme. You can, and should expect some soreness, but it should never be excessive to the point of not being able to move and severe pain.

Your training programme

Any personal trainer should design an exercise programme for you that is tailored to your current fitness levels, which can then be adjusted as your fitness levels increase. If it’s too difficult from the start it will undermine your efforts and dampen your motivation to keep going.

You should always attempt to use ‘proper form’ and technique to keep you safe from injury. A strain in your lower back, shins, calves, ankles or knees are some of the common areas affected as a result of doing exercises wrong.

As a general rule, repetitive, jarring movements should be avoided. And you should never bounce or force stretching movements, because quick, pulsing movements can result in muscle strain or tears.

The best way to stretch safely is to perform static movements that gradually extend muscles through the full range of motion until you feel resistance. This type of stretching will also decrease the likelihood of injury or soreness.

Training effectiveness

Even if an exercise program is well devised, divided and individualised, if the exercises are not done correctly you won’t achieve the results they want. Moreover you could be risking your health.

Effective exercise requires effort, but those who say it must hurt are wrong. It’s your own fitness levels and goals that determine the level of exercise. (Remember, those goals you wrote down?)


Proprioception is the perception or awareness of the position and movement of the body, and relies on sending information to the brain to provide a sense of body position, balance and stability. Depending upon the body’s efficiency of this process, it then makes adjustments as necessary, to enable a person to walk, run, jump, reach and climb as precisely as possible and to limit the possibility of falling over.

This awareness is important and helps prevent injuries in sports or other physical activities where you need precise movements, agility, co-ordination and strength.

It is possible to train people to develop their proprioceptive abilities, in the same way that they can train for endurance or strength. Proprioceptive exercise progresses with skill and complexity. The aim being to gradually perform more challenging actions whilst maintaining movement accuracy,

And this is precisely what Gordon advocates in all his training.

By going back to basics and focussing on the quality of the motion and not the quantity of muscle work, Gordon’s students are being corrected less and learning at an accelerated rate. This results in them seeing improved results faster.


Finally, you always get more out your exercise program if you actually enjoy it. What is the point of pounding the streets jogging, or pumping iron in the gym if you hate it?

Let’s face it, no one exercises just because it’s good for them. We know we should, but it always seems too much of an effort. And maybe that’s because we just haven’t found that exercise that we love, and actually look forward to doing.

If you’re having difficulty focusing and enjoying your training, there are just three small adjustments you can make to dramatically make a difference, and help you get you to your desired goal quicker.

All you need to remember is:

  • Be present
  • Get excited
  • Get it done

Be present

The first adjustment involves being brutally honest with yourself and keep focused on your ultimate goal, yes that written goal again, by answering the following questions:

  1. Why are you doing this?
  2. What problem are you trying to solve?
  3. What results do you want to see?

We all want to be fitter, we all want that perfect beach-ready body. Signing up to a gym merely the starting point for you achieving your desired goals.

Once you know the purpose for exercising, every time you go to the gym remember that purpose.

By simply remembering why you are there, puts your mind into being present and focussed and your motivation increases.

Get excited about training

When we enjoy ourselves time flies by. But, let’s face it, sometimes we feel going to the gym is a chore. It’s something we have to do, rather than something we actually want to do.

The second small adjustment is getting yourself into that excited ‘I want to be here’ state of mind before you start training.

The good news is that it it’s very simple to achieve.

When Gordon trains people, either in his group classes or 1-to-1 session, he sets the training up with a small, but important ritual. He has a salutation at the start of each session designed to place his clients in the optimal state to learn, train and maximise the effectiveness of the training.

Creating your own ritual can be something as simple as smiling when changing to start your workout and telling yourself how great the session is going to be and how fabulous you will feel when you finish.

Get your training done

The final adjustment you can make is to simply focus on the task at hand. Once you’re in the gym, get on with your workout and don’t stop.

We’re all time-short and if you chat in between reps, keep checking your programme, take your time over each exercise, etc., your workout quickly becomes a chore.

Don’t pay any attention to what Gordon calls ‘smooch time’ and trim off the fat to your gym visits. See your trainer and ask for a tailored routine that you know you can get done in the time you have available.

And that’s it, three ways to make any exercise regime you try successful.

If you’re looking to increase your physical activity, but the thought of the gym leaves you, why not give Combat Arts a try? For more details about classes and training, email

Post Author: Gordon McAdam

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