Dance is a difficult art form, and as students it is important for us to create a support system of friends to help us through difficult times. It is even better to make your support system intentionally motivating. This can really help improve your work ethic and make you more confident. One way to think of this is the concept of “workout buddies” – you do a lot of your conditioning together and you help motivate each other to work harder. That will be the primary focus of this post. So, without further ado, let’s learn how to create a motivational system for yourself.
Support vs. Motivational Systems
A lot of people can get these two topics confused, so let’s discuss the difference between them. A support system is a group of people that provides for your needs when you need somebody to help you through an emotionally difficult time, or you want somebody to “vent” to. A support system is more serious than a motivational system. A motivational system promotes hard work and challenges you. Instead of providing a fallback when the competition gets to rigorous or difficult, it increases the competition. This is why I recommend that if you already have a lot of competition at your studio or school or you struggle with an overly difficult amount of competition, not to create a motivational system for yourself. It may backfire on you, because it can be physically and mentally very tolling.
The “Workout Buddies” Concept
While it sounds really weird and kind of funny, this is a type of motivational system that can really promote hard work. Your workout buddy will be someone that you do all of your conditioning and extra training with. The purpose of this person is to compete with you and challenge you to do more work outside of your regular ballet training than you are already doing: they are designed to make you work harder.
There are different ways to take advantage of the workout buddy system. It can be taken to extremes, made into somewhat of a game, or kept more neutral and less impactful. The list below is thorough, though not comprehensive, and gives some ideas on how to expand the workout buddy system:
- Devise a stretching and workout routine together that you will do every day either as your warm up or extra conditioning.
- Design a workout, strengthening, stretching or general training challenge. This will include a progression of exercises and workload over a set period of time.
- Have your workout buddy come over to your house or meet up at the gym or studio to do your exercises and conditioning together. The more time you spend together, the more training you are likely to do.
- Have a regular, set conditioning video-chat time. If you want to set a time every night to do a stretching routine together over FaceTime, Skype, Google Hangouts or any other video chat method, that’s amazing! That way you can push eachother on a regular basis.
- Also, share nutrition and activity endeavors: send eachother photos of what you are eating or doing that day. The human race is naturally very competitive, so if you see that the other person is eating healthier or working out more than you are, there’s a good chance that you will step up your game.
Motivating in Groups
If you have a group of dance friends or other gym friends, it’s great if you want to do a bigger, more general group activity. Here are some ways to promote working out with eachother in a group setting:
- Create a Facebook feed or group chat to hold each member of the group accountable: every day you should post your three meals, amount of water that you drank and conditioning that you did. Again, the natural competition will motivate you to work harder. As you are about to bite into that cookie, you may think twice because you don’t want to have to post it on the group chat later!
- Make your own group-wide workout, fitness or diet challenge. Set a group of exercises that progresses at a realistic rate as the time goes on.
I hope this is helpful in motivating you, and you learned something! I’ll see you on Friday.