How to boost motivation & help hit your fitness goals
If you really want to fast track your way to success with your fitness goals or any goals in general, dopamine is the key to hitting those targets! But why is dopamine so important?
Dopamine is the main reward hormone in your body, so when there’s an increased amount of dopamine in the cell nucleus, it triggers feedback for predicting rewards which makes you want to redo whatever activity you performed. You can see how this can make things addictive, but also if you harness dopamine’s power, it can be a massive advantage!
What causes your dopamine to spike?
Dopamine performs its tasks before we obtain rewards, meaning that its real job is to encourage us to act, either to achieve something good or to avoid something terrible.
Most people thought dopamine was the neurotransmitter for pleasure, but further research found a strange phenomenon. Spikes in dopamine occurred in moments of high stress — like when soldiers with PTSD heard gunfire. Those are hardly pleasurable memories, but there the dopamine was.
In another study, a team of scientists mapped the brains of “go-getters” and “slackers.” They found that people willing to work hard had higher dopamine levels in the striatum and prefrontal cortex — two areas known to impact motivation and reward. Dopamine was also present in the anterior insula, a region of the brain involved in emotion and risk perception among slackers.
One significant way you can increase your dopamine from a training point of view is to make a workout plan. List all your exercises for the day with your weight used, reps, and sets and tick off every set as you go. Every time you tick another set-off, you’ll feel a small sense of accomplishment. Each time you finish a whole exercise that feeling will grow, and when you finish the entire workout, you’ll get an even bigger hit of dopamine, making your workout more enjoyable and making you want to come back and train again. The other added benefit of tracking your workouts is you know exactly what you trained last time, you can then try and beat it during your next workout, this will ensure you’re progressing in your training and working towards your goals.