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Experts in Sport podcast: How to stay motivated on your new year fitness journey

With the festive season now a distant memory, many of us have swapped turkey and mince pies for kettlebells and treadmills as we attempt to live healthier in 2023.

January always begins with our best fitness intentions but how do we keep motivated beyond the initial post-Christmas effort?

In the latest Experts in Sport podcast, host Martin Foster (Applied Sport Management Lead) is joined in the studio by Dr Ian Taylor (Senior Lecturer in Psychology) to discuss how to keep our gym wear from gathering dust.

“If we look at how motivation works, we know quite a lot about that,” explains Dr Taylor.

“The fundamentals tell us that if something is pleasurable, you’re more likely to do it. If it’s not pleasurable, you’re less likely to do it.”

Dr Taylor also talks about how our goals must be adaptable, and by breaking these down into smaller more manageable aspects requiring lower effort, can prove beneficial.

“It’s obviously very difficult to stay motivated, otherwise people would do it all the time. But there are a few things people can do. The first is goals, what you set and how they’re set…if you’re new to exercise in the new year, small goals and low effort is a great place to start.”

Dr Taylor also believes that having alternative plans in place, should your usual schedule go awry, is worth accounting for.

“Think, if it’s raining outside, I’ll do this instead, if all the treadmills at the gym are taken, what am I going to do,” he explains.

“By planning alternatives beforehand, you’re moving the effort away from the exercise session, so it becomes a lot easier. When you get to that idea, it then requires less mental effort and you’re more likely to do it.”

The advantages of immediate effects over long-term effects are also discussed, as well as the best times of day to exercise and the importance of selecting the right form of exercise for you.

Dr Taylor also talks about the importance of reaching a new change of identity to become an ‘exerciser’:

“Becoming and identifying as an exerciser should happen as a natural process over time by simply doing the behaviour for long enough. It should naturally develop. What you must do is focus on the short-term strategies to keep you in the exercise environment…again, keeping effort as low as possible.”

The full episode is now live and available to listen below and on all the usual podcast platforms.

Listeners of the podcast can subscribe to the podcast series and will receive an alert once new episodes are published.

The Experts in Sport podcast is a regular series that brings together experts from across Loughborough University with external thought leaders to discuss the latest research and hot topics in sport and academia with new episodes launched regularly.

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 23/05

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2022 QS World University Rankings – the sixth year running – and University of the Year for Sport by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is ranked 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2023, 10th in the Guardian University League Table 2023 and 11th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’, and in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 over 90% of its research was rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally-excellent’. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.