How To Stay Motivated When Training Remote

COVID | Strength & Conditioning

One of the biggest challenges when training remotely is staying motivated and keeping a proper mindset.

Josiah Schultz, former Scout Sniper Team Leader and current gym owner, shares three key components he has learned during his time in Iraq and training clients in his gym on how to keep a positive mindset and high motivation while training remotely.

Josiah Schultz Headshot
Josiah Schultz

Josiah has a lifelong dedication to health and fitness. He received his degree in Biology from the University of California-Davis, and upon graduation enlisted in the US Marine Corps. As a Scout Sniper, he served on two deployments, including a combat tour in Iraq. Josiah is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and has spent the past 10 years training a broad spectrum of individuals whose goals include elite athletic performance, body composition and building strength and keeping mobility as they age. Josiah especially enjoys using the mental components of training to help athletes achieve their potential. He lives in Salt Lake City where he takes advantage of the great outdoors in his backyard. 

// Harness the Power of Motivation and Mindset to Optimize Results When Transitioning to Remote Training

Convenience, access to high quality coaching and personal feedback are just a few of the many benefits of remote training.

Many athletes, however, struggle with staying motivated and keeping a proper mindset when transitioning to remote training.

During my time as a Scout Sniper Team Leader in Iraq to coaching athletes in my gym for the past 8 years I’ve learned how important motivation and mindset are. 

It’s critical to address these issues because athletes who lose motivation are less likely to achieve their goals. 

Training with a sub-optimal mindset leads to suboptimal results! 

Over the years I have identified three critical training components to add to your training that will keep your motivation high and your mindset positive-helping you achieve great results in remote training.


1. Mental warm up

There’s a reason motivational speakers like Tony Robbins have successful careers focusing on mindset-because it matters! 

Going into a training session with a positive mindset allows you to harness your potential and give your best available effort, leading to better results. 

Conversely, with a negative mindset you’re constantly battling yourself and have less energy to attack your training session. 

We all know the importance of a physical warm up prior to training, but it’s just as important to go through a mental warm up as well. 

There are two areas to your mental warm up-Getting Into an Optimal Headspace and Setting The Tone for Your Session.

Optimal Headspace

Most of us enjoy training-we’re excited for our sessions and have a positive attitude. 

However, even the best of us can get into a funk, making it tough to bring our “A Game” when training. 

I’ve had numerous athletes over the years tell me one main benefit of training at my gym was that all they had to do was “Walk Through The Doors”. 

They knew that if they could just get into the gym, I would get them into an optimal headspace, regardless of their stresses or challenges outside the gym. This is a critical component of ensuring maximization of each training session.

The best way to get your head right is to identify how the training session will help goal accomplishment.

Prioritizing the training in your mind, leads to a positive mindset.

Begin your “mental warm up” by reading your written training goal(s). This does mean you’ll need to write your goals down! Then ask yourself how the upcoming session will help you progress toward those goals.

Setting The Tone

As a Team Leader in the Marine Corps, one of my responsibilities was to review the mission plan before we left base. 

When I took the time to focus my team on the task and mentally prepare them for what we would encounter beyond the wire, the missions tended to be successful. When I was rushed and skipped this part of the preparatory process, the missions tended to have more hiccups. 

The second step of a mental warm up is to set the tone for your training session. Remove distractions (i.e. put your phone on Do Not Disturb) to help focus on your training. Take 1 to 2 minutes to review your session and verbally tell yourself what mental approach you’ll need for each section of the training. 

Plan your Work and Work your Plan!

mental focus

2. In session evaluation

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”- Mike Tyson

You’ve spent time mentally preparing for your training going through your Mental Warm Up, but training, like life, doesn’t always go as planned. It’s critical you give yourself every opportunity to keep your mindset positive and your motivation high throughout your training. 

We use two tools to optimize mindset and motivation mid-training: Mid Workout Halts and Real Time Pushes.

Mid Workout Halts

Most remote training programs do a great job of giving the athlete a challenging, yet attainable, goal for the session. Whether your program bases your goals on percentages, max rep challenges or leaderboards, serious thought has gone into the plan. But what happens when you come into the gym on fire, ready to set PR’s all day? 

What was a challenging goal is now too easy and leaves gains on the table. And what if it’s a day where it took all your energy just to drag your butt into the gym? Now what was a challenging goal seems impossible, making it easy to beat yourself up and get in a negative headspace, further minimizing your results.

During combat patrols our Team would take periodic breaks, called Security Halts. 

These Security Halts gave my team a chance to rest during an arduous stretch of terrain, but more importantly, they gave me the opportunity to evaluate how the mission was going. Were we staying on course? Were certain team members struggling? Halts were planned opportunities to make course corrections. 

It’s critical you plan your own “Security Halts”, or Eval Breaks, when training remotely to take advantage of days you’re on fire or keep an optimal mindset on days you’re struggling. 

First, plan where and when you’ll take breaks to evaluate and adjust your training before beginning your session for the day. 

Don’t get so focused on completing training as fast as possible that you neglect to pause and reflect on how the training session is going. It’s easier to adjust when you are having a day where everything is coming easy. Pause and ensure you are squeezing every last drop out of the session. 

It’s even more important to break briefly to evaluate on days where you’re dragging. The key here is to reflect quickly on your long-term goals and realize that any work is better than no work. 

Always determine to find the positives in the situation, which keeps you in a constructive mindset, leading to better results.

Real Time Push from Lifting Partners

I’ve trained on my own for years, and while I’m enough of a self-starter to get results, the best training I’ve done has been in real time with a lifting partner.

There’s nothing like sprint training with a partner who’s a tenth of a second faster than you. You’re able to find that extra gear trying your best to catch them! This doesn’t have to be something you leave behind when switching to remote training. 

TrainHeroic has built an amazing platform allowing you to connect with the other athletes on your training team. Reach out to one of them or a friend and set up a Zoom meeting so you can train at the same time. 

Determine set times, ideally during your Eval Breaks, when you can briefly check in to motivate and encourage each other through the training session. Leaderboards and assigned percentages from your coach are great motivational tools, but nothing beats the real time push you can get from one (or more!) fellow athletes.


3. Mental Cool Down

After Actions are a critical component of any military mission. The Team sits down and honestly evaluates their performance. They focus on the areas where the Team was successful ensuring they maintain these areas. The Team will also focus on aspects where they could have done better. 

There is always room for growth and little details on a Combat Mission can be the difference between life and death. However, it can be hard to achieve balance during these After Actions. 

Many highly driven people don’t waste time praising themselves for what they’ve done well but focus on where they can improve. There are numerous benefits to a driving mindset including fighting complacency and pushing you or your team to new heights. 

However, this mindset can easily lead to burnout when victories are never celebrated. 

Conversely, many successful individuals have a large ego and feel there is no need for them to change anything up. This mindset can easily lead to stagnation and limit them from reaching their full potential. 

This is a key piece in your own training- To do this on your own, perform a self-evaluation after each session. Find one thing you crushed in your workout and then one area where you could have done better. 

By identifying one positive component, you’ll build a positive mindset by celebrating what you’ve done well. This can have a snowball effect building momentum and confidence, furthering your ability to maintain high motivation levels. 

When you identify the one area where you could have done better, you give yourself a new goal, continuing to keep motivation high. Remember, motivation falls off when you believe there is nothing more to accomplish. Balance is critical in your after actions-don’t get too high, but don’t beat yourself up. 

reach your goals

Wrapping It All up

Many of those who train find motivation slipping and their mindset sub-optimal when they transition from in-person training to remote programming. 

By incorporating three easy steps, a Mental Warm Up, Mid-Session Eval Breaks and a Mental Cool Down, remote athletes can put themselves in the best mindset possible and keep their motivation high.



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