I teach my clients to be their own cheerleaders. Yes, a rah-rah­rah, get-your-pompoms-on type of cheerleader. I want to share my message and train lots of people…but ultimately, I want to put myself out of a job.

I want you to be 100 percent motivated and invested in training yourself, because this will give you the motivation you need to push yourself to the next level. When, for example, I’ve prescribed a set of 25 crunches but a client is only feeling the intensity at a 6 on a scale of 1 to 10, I adjust him to 35 reps or more until he feels the effort at a 10 (click here to read about my intensity scale for your workouts). That’s how you keep improving.

I use other mind games like this one with clients who try to shortcut exercises. If I catch someone trying to stop short of what I’ve prescribed and what I know they can do, I count in the opposite direction. (I always count down so there is a finish line. It seems like a small thing, but trust me, with finish­line counting you get a feeling of accomplishment and can always go farther than if you count up.) So if a client starts slowing down at 3, I start counting up until she or he starts doing the exercise again at the proper intensity. When I see the client moving at the right intensity, I go back to finish-line counting.

Try it and you’ll see that you can always do more than you think you can. When you begin to see that you can do more, you’ll push yourself for more, not less.

And then…remember to reward yourself!

All winners know to reward themselves for a job well done. Rewards are a great way to reinforce that you are worth the effort and time. Put rewards on your calendar once a week.

Remember that rewards come only after you do the work. While this might seem obvious, I have a family member who will give himself the reward even if he skips his workout. Not surprisingly, he never gets around to doing the exercise—and, sadly, he’s unable to lose his excess weight. With this in mind, only treat yourself after you’ve put in the time.

My personal favorite reward is a massage. It’s the perfect way to give a gift to yourself for moving your body consistently. When was the last time you got one? Your muscles need it, and I recommend one every other week. In fact, I insist. Many health insurance companies now reimburse for massages, so take a moment and check. If money is not an issue, get one every week. Choose what stimulates, rejuvenates, and relaxes you.

Click here to buy Joel Harper’s book, Mind Your Body: 4 Weeks to a Leaner, Healthier Life.

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