My tips to keep you motivated to go to the Gym
It’s the start of a new year and this is a popular time for people deciding to join a gym. Some of you have decided to do something about your fitness, tone-up or maybe lose some weight and what better place to do this than your local gym. I applaud anyone that wants to lead a healthier more active life and what better way to start then joining a gym; you’ve made a conscious decision to do something about it.
So you’ve had your induction at the gym, probably been a few times, maybe had a programme written for you. Motivation can start to diminish for all sorts of reasons especially as it can take a few weeks for gym visits becoming a habit and part of your normal weekly routine. You might not be seeing any results, work is busy so you are struggling to get there, the weather is awful and your warm cosy living room is more appealing than an exercise class or a cardio session on the treadmill. To be honest I go through times when my motivation for going to the gym starts to diminish and visits in the week start to be less frequent but there are various tips and tactics I use to get back into it and I’ve listed them in this blog.
Top tips for staying motivated
- Be prepared – kit ready, gym bag packed! Nothing worse than getting up and having to hunt around for kit; removes the danger of not having kit becoming the reason for not going.
- Buddy up – find a training partner. It makes you more likely to go as someone else is relying on you and potentially makes the whole experience more enjoyable. Be wary though that it doesn’t turn into a gossip session, that’s happened to me so I’ve learnt to get that over & done with on the way there! Also if you lack confidence when using the gym equipment having someone with you will take away some of the anxiety!
- Put a play list together – I love cranking it up and escaping to my own little world when I’m training. If I don’t fancy a playlist I tend to listen to TED Talks. Concentrating on what I’m listening to helps take my mind off things when a particular exercise is challenging me or I’m on the treadmill doing sprint intervals.
- Set a realistic training schedule and stick to it. If you can only manage going to the gym twice a week then fine don’t try and increase it to three and then struggle to get there 3 times it will only de-motivate you and the guilt will probably kick in. If you get to a position where you can increase your number of visits then do it as you would have got into a routine; the gym habit has been formed.
- Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t go. Sometimes life gets in the way and there is nothing you can do about it. Don’t dwell over missed sessions. Get over it and get yourself back when you can, but don’t use it as an excuse not to ever go back. Establishing a schedule and it becoming a habit can help with this as you are more likely to want to get back into going again.
- Mix up your routine – as they say variety is the spice of life. In the past and out of boredom I have been guilty of narrowing down what I do at the gym or sticking to the same routine, boredom sets in and that’s been an excuse to stop going. Attending some of the classes that your gym has available, combining a mixture of cardio & weights in your routine or perhaps concentrating on sprint intervals on the treadmill during a session are all examples of how you can mix things up a bit. Not only does this keep things interesting but it also means your body doesn’t get used to the same old routine; shocking the system by doing a HIIT class certainly helped my fitness levels when I felt I started to plateau.
- Remind yourself why you joined the gym in the first place. What set you on your fitness journey and of course joining the gym is a huge motivator. Sometimes we can lose sight of this so it’s good to re-focus on this especially when your enthusiasm is beginning to wane.
- Find something that will motivate you to go and visualise it – It can be dropping a dress size, toning up, losing weight, feeling fitter, getting into a bikini for your holidays; whatever it is think of it when your enthusiasm at a low. For me it’s the buzz of knowing that by toning up I stopped wobbling and dropped a dress size. It made me want to go more!
- Set realistic, short-term goals – I entered a 10km Mud run so I had to up my running distance to 10k as well as building up core strength to survive the obstacles; this gave me increased motivation to go to the gym and get the most out of my gym routine. I had 8 weeks to train, mapped out a realistic schedule and the end run was not too far away time-wise. That goal achieved I set another one!
- Know what you are going to do at the gym before you get there. Ok this may sound a strange one but apart from when I have booked a class there have been times when I’ve gone to the gym and not really had a clue what I’m going to do once there. All that happens is you probably waste time, focus and motivation. Are you going to weights? Full body, upper or lower? Are you going to do cardio only? What machines then? Are you going to do interval training? Are you going to do weights & cardio? Go in with a plan and it will focus you and you will probably feel you’ve used your time efficiently.
- Track progress. Nothing motivates me more that tracking my progress. Smashing a PB, dropping a dress size or deadlifting more than my own bodyweight; these are all achievements that I’ve tracked during my fitness journey. These have made me want to push harder to achieve more.
- Book some sessions with a personal trainer – yes they can be expensive but you are hiring a professional whose there to motivate you, provide the best advice tailored for you and ultimately you will look as gorgeous as them if you keep at it!
- Enjoy the post gym session buzz – you’ve worked hard, got a bit of a sweat on, felt you made the most of your visit. Enjoy it and remember that ‘buzz’ when you need an extra bit of motivation to get you there!
- Reward yourself and celebrate success – Rewards can be large or small, it’s up to you. However, I do try and steer clear of rewarding myself with food or alcohol as to me that defeated the object. Maybe the odd bit of gym gear, new trainers, a new song to add to the playlist, relaxation time away from the kids. Rewards will motivate you and reinforce positive habits. Even a post on Facebook or twitter is a great way of shouting about your success but don’t be smug or arrogant about it, It’s a great way to say I did this, I’ve kept in there, dug deep and achieved my fitness goals, especially to those that ever doubted you could do it!
Stick in there, keep at it and you may find some of the above tips in this blog useful. You will see results but it takes time so keep at it!
Have you any tips that have kept you motivated when it comes to going to the gym? I’d love to hear from you!