Tips to Staying Focussed and Motivated

staying positive and motivated

One to the hardest things to do when you are training is to keep focussed. It can be tough to hit the gym, day in and day out and trying to keep your motivation high.

I'm going to outline some of the things you can do in order to stay focussed on your training.

Find Out What It Is You Want

You want to know where most people fail in the gym? It’s their lack of honesty with themselves.

If you seriously want to get into great shape, you’re going to have to sit down and be honest with yourself. You have to think of a reason that hits close to your heart and mind of why you want to go to the gym.

I think it was Arnold himself who said that when he gave seminars, the first couple of sessions were strictly for people's reasons for going to the gym.

I mean, take a good look at anyone who is good at anything and if you look deep enough, you’ll see a core reason why they are so good.

If you've been losing motivation and having a hard time focussing, try going back to why you’re training in the first place. Believe me, if that reason is strong enough, you'll keep going back to the gym.

Use Your Mind And Visualize

This is very important. By using your mind and visualizing how you see yourself at the end of your training cycle is very, very powerful. If you can't see how you want to look in the future, you need to sit down and concentrate on how you “really” want to look.

Be very realistic about how you want your body to take form. Setting yourself up to be the next Jay Cutler in the next 12 weeks is unrealistic. However, adding a full inch to your arms and chest is quite realistic and imagine how you will look with this added muscle.

Try looking 12 weeks into the future and imagine how you would look in a T-shirt or a pair of shorts. Concentrate and imagine how you want your body to look and you will have a better idea of where you want to go.

To get there, use these 3 principles: Desire, Discipline, and Action.

Desire: How can you get there if you don't want it bad enough. Once you see what you want, you will desire to become that.

Discipline: Without discipline, you won't get what you desire. You need to discipline your mind and body in order to get the very thing you want to achieve. Attaining a pair of 18 inch arms doesn't come easy or for the un-disciplined. You must make discipline a priority in your life of training.

Action: You need to get your ass in the gym and do what you have to do in order to get what you desire most.

You combine the above elements and you’ll become absolutely huge and ripped!

Use What Motivates You

This element is very close to the first point I talked about. Think about why you want to train and use that very element to get to the gym and train your ass off. For every training cycle I do, I have one thing in my mind that I want to accomplish and there's nothing in this world that’s going to stop me. I know that, after I finish my training cycle I will get the result I’m looking for.

If your reading this page now, I’m guessing that you really want to achieve a higher level of fitness. Whether that’s making next year's football team or getting ready to look big and ripped for summer, you have something there that’s enough to motivate you to train hard.

Use this element and grill it into your mind.


If you don't expect to get ripped, than you won't. Always expect something at the end of your training cycle. If you don't expect to add an inch of muscle to your arms than you won’t but if you actually expect it after your training cycle, than your mind will act accordingly. Expect and you shall receive!

Keep A Goal Sheet And Update On A Weekly Basis

This is a must if you want to get the most from your training. Always set your goals up and monitor them on a weekly basis. For example, if you want to add an inch of muscle to your arms in 12 weeks, you need to be monitoring your progress on a weekly basis. Each and every week, measure your arms and record your progress. Try taking a picture of yourself every week and post them in your log book.

Set goals for yourself every 6 to 12 weeks. This way your always striving to attain those goals.

By actually seeing the results from your hard training and dedication, you will want to keep at it and train harder. This works! Try it and see for yourself.

Keeping A Training Log And Diary

To this day, I cannot train without using a training log and diary. I record everything from the weight I used for shoulder press to the way I felt doing them. Everything gets recorded when I’m on a training cycle. Why do it? A training diary keeps me motivated and actually helps me when I’m looking back on the last weeks training routine. What days did I have a crappy workout? Why? What days did I have a great workout? Why?

This way, I can follow the patterns of my training and find out what works best for me. I strongly suggest you use a training log and diary because believe me, it will help. Get your free training logs here.

Don't Complicate Things

Keep things simple. Don't over complicate things when it comes to training and nutrition. These things may seem confusing but they don’t have to be. First you need to 1) Get to the gym and train; And then 2) Eat 6 healthy meals per day; And then 3) Get at least 8 hours of sleep per night. Nothing confusing about that. Do these things and you’ll grow.

Use the building muscle 101 website and you can’t go wrong :)


If you're not using motivating music in the gym to help you train, than you need to get some. Get yourself a CD player or an MP3 player and a pair of headphones and your going to have much better workouts.

I can't imagine my workouts without my tunes. Every two weeks, I'll update my play list with my most inspirational tunes. Every stage of my training cycle has different play lists. I use my most inspirational tunes for the hardest part of my training cycle. I know, this sounds weird but it works great for me.

Try adding music to your training routine and I can almost guarantee that your workouts will greatly improve.

Stay Away From Distractions

Try and stay focussed on your training routine. Going out and partying it up every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday is very distracting to your training and you simply won't get the results your looking for. When I was going to college, it was very hard to stay away from the lure of party nights (which happened to be every night of the week!).

Try and keep distractions at a distance from your training.

Different Routines And Exercises

This is very important. Always strive to change up your routine every 8 to 12 weeks. I wouldn't suggest changing anything sooner than that. As for exercises, I would suggest trying different exercises every couple of weeks of so. But remember, I wouldn't change up my core compound exercises, only the different isolation exercises at the end of my workouts. Let's take chest for example. If I was doing the following routine, here's how I would change up my workout:


  • Bench press
  • Incline dumbbell press
  • Dips
  • Fly

I would always keep the bench press and incline press in but maybe change up the last two exercises every once in awhile. For example, maybe I’ll do machine dips and pec deck after every two weeks or so. Maybe try 21's, giant sets, or pre-exhaust techniques to add some spice to your workouts.

However, don't change a thing if your workouts are going great. If there is one thing I’ve learned from weight training is that if something is working for you, don’t change it.

Stay Away From Stress

Stress can kill your workouts faster than a broken leg. Try and keep your stress levels down because stress always has a negative effect on everything you do, and that goes double for your workouts.

I know, we can't always escape high levels of stress but do your best to deal with it and try and keep those high stress levels down.

Say It!

If you've ever watched some of the pro's train, you'll notice something very peculiar about the way the tackle their exercises. Most times, they'll repeat something that strikes a certain chord with them prior to performing a hard set.

Take Ronnie Coleman (multi Mr. Olympia winner and all round bad ass) for example. Prior to attempting a heavy set, he'll always shout "light weight buddy...LIGHT WEIGHT!" or "Ain't nuthin but a peanut!". He's actually programming his mind to think the weight is light. This is a positive reinforcement technique that directs the mind from a negative (I'll never be able to lift this weight in a million years) to a postitive (I'm going to lift this weight at all costs!).

Studies have shown that this method has a positive effect on performance in athletes. The next time your in the gym, try taking couple of big breaths and say something positive about how your going to lift the weight.

Reward Yourself!

For every milestone you achieve you need to reward yourself. Have you reached a 405 pound squat? Maybe a 300 pound bench press? Whatever your milestone, go out and reward yourself. Go buy yourself a new pair of shoes or a new pair of jeans. Remember, your training for yourself so be good to yourself.

Take a Photo of Yourself

Take a photo of yourself and stick it somewhere where you can view it on a daily basis. Back in high school I had a photo of myself right next to Bertil Fox. It reminded me of the hard work necessary to get to my goal.

Take a Shower!

Most of us work day job, go to school or have a family. Alot of times were just too darned tired to hit the gym. Here's a little tip I use (still do). I take a cold shower 30 minutes before my workout. It instantly wakes you up and you smell like a million bucks (nothing worse than stinking up the gym). Beleive me, you'll feel a whole lot better after a cold shower.

Alright, these are just some of the things you can do to stay focussed on your training. Try and do the above and I’m sure that your training will take on a whole different angle.

Train with a Buddy

Finding someone just as committed as you are to train with can be a huge motivator. There's going to be days when you don't want to train. A training partner can provide that kick in the ass you need to get you up to par and at your best.

Just remember to get someone just as committed otherwise, a bad training partner can do the exact opposite. For more information about training with a partern, click here.

Be Positive

I probably, I can't, I never will, It'll never happen's shouldn't be a part of your vocabulary. From now on, your all about being positive. Be positive in and outside the gym and your results will be positive.

Go to our rest and recovery guide to get additional ideas on muscle recuperation and staying motivated.

Need someone to design you your custom weight training and nutrition plan? Let me help! Click here for more details

Good luck,


As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.

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