For many men, making a commitment to exercise is not easy. Many have probably resisted it for so long that it's almost second nature to them now. But internationally recognized fitness and nutritional expert, writer, consultant, and personal trainer Ray Klerck, also a former Men's Health cover model, says there are many ways a guy can convince himself that making the decision to take better care of himself is the right thing to do.
In Body Trainer for Men, Klerck offers 11 easy-to-digest tips and tricks that men can use to motivate themselves. “You don't have to listen to them 100% but rather tailor them to your own personality and situation,” he says. “Think of it as team building that'll make both your brain and body stronger, healthier, and fitter.”
- Combine the things you love. Klerck recommends things like cycling around a park followed by a healthy protein-rich picnic, taking the family to the beach and kicking a ball around, and doing sprints by chasing the ball around with the kids. “The trick to more fitness is integration,” he explains. “The more you combine fitness with everyday activities, the less exhausting and time consuming it will be.”
- Put your stats in a public place. Klerck says you should write down current body fat, bench press max, body weight, or whatever is relevant to you and put it in a place where everyone can see it, such as in the office kitchen or on Facebook. Then aim to improve those results each week and draw attention to your motivational plight, spurring people to ask questions about it, which can then be turned to your advantage when those results start to improve.
- Trick yourself into going for just eight minutes. On days when you don't feel all that strong, make only a small and undemanding requirement of your exercise sessions, such as a single set of a favorite exercise. Klerck points out that this way, you will never actually stop exercising; you will just have a few gaps in your training log.
- Ask a friend to be brutally honest with you. “Swallow your pride and get your training partner to tell you what muscle groups are your weaknesses,” Klerck advises. “Just tell him not to hold back, then sit back and take it on the chin. This will crack the whip.” And if you are really brave, you will ask your wife or partner what is both attractive and unattractive about your appearance.
- Sign up for an event. Klerck points out that this is a long-standing and very simple way of kick-starting motivation. Signing up for a 10K race, cycling meet, or fitness challenge gives you an end date for your training and will help you focus attention toward a definitive goal.
- Link exercise to your longevity. Check your cholesterol and set a goal of lowering LDL cholesterol by 20 points and increasing HDL cholesterol by 5 points. “You'll decrease your risk of heart disease while providing yourself with a very important concrete goal,” Klerck says.
- Create competition. “Guys are hardwired for competition, so make a bet you can use to improve your performance,” Klerck proposes. “Challenge your nemesis or friend, that swaggering co-worker or noisy neighbor, to a contest. The first person to bench 200 pounds or drop 10 pounds of fat wins.” He also suggests adding a monetary or physical wager to the challenge.
- Schedule a body fat test every two months for the rest of the year. Klerck explains that doing this establishes a clear end date for the simple goal of losing body fat and gaining muscle, and tangible results are the best motivator. He recommends doing the test at the same time of day each time because body fat can fluctuate.
- Plan all your workouts well in advance. At the start of each month, schedule all workouts at once and cross them off as they're completed. If any are left undone at the end of the month, tack those on to the following month.
- Get a hold of yourself. Klerck means this literally: “If you feel unmotivated or tempted, grab a handful of the flab around your belly. Wobble it then push your index finger into it until you feel something hard—your abs. Do you want to see them? Well, get cracking, skip the burger, and get exercising.”
- Become a member of a new gym. “Hardcore gyms are full of people who don't care about watching a massive plasma screen while they run or lift weights,” Klerck believes. “They come to the gym with a goal in mind and don't let distractions get in their way. Train there for just one week and you'll be equally inspired.”
Using his specialized techniques, Ray Klerck has advised and trained numerous professional Men's Health cover models, readers, and celebrities to achieve world-class techniques. In Body Trainer for Men he offers a completely accessible resource tailored to the unique needs and goals of men.