Staying fit is important to everyone, but only some of us make it a priority. In fact, 80 percent of American adults don’t get their recommended amount of exercise.
First, notice what’s stopping you from getting to the gym. Once you have determined your barriers, it’s easier to stay motivated for fitness no matter how busy/tired/stressed/bored you are. Here are some tricks you can cut and try to discover what works best for you.
Join a team.
Whether you like having a single buddy or a team of buddies, having someone or a class to hold you accountable can be the easiest way to stick to a workout routine. If you and your gym buddy are still struggling to make weekly workouts, try putting money on it. If one of you tends to break schedule more often, pay the fines to charity.
Find a gym.
Do some research before jumping into a membership. Living in the city, chain gyms can be a convenience that makes the difference. Long driving distances shorten your day, so having the option to stop at different locations can save a ton of time. Cosco sells discounted memberships to 24 Hour Fitness and other gyms, they vary by state. Most gyms honor student, alumni or military discounts. Or your employer may partner with a gym and you can get a discounted membership there. Sometimes insurance companies are even willing to help pay.
Finding a gym in your budget will vary depending on where you live, but these companies have a reputation for being affordable. Usually, you can try out a gym you’re interested in before signing up.
Fitness junkies have the best gear and their collection is always growing. As always at PD, we recommend you find a sustainable and ethical activewear to power your workouts. I like Spiritual Gangster, a quality line that also donates a portion of proceeds to charity.
Some other ideas: Personalize a reusable, toxin-free water bottle with stickers and stock up on your favorite healthy snacks. With new gear you love, going to the gym will be much more exciting.
Hold back at first.
Sometimes when approaching a new goal I’m so excited I’ll burn out after overdoing it the first few weeks. You want to be fit fast, so it’s no surprise you’re tempted to hit the gym every day or even twice a day the first week. Set an achievable goal and commit to it.
Only shower after a workout.
This one may sound gross but think about it. If you work out daily you’ll still be showering every day. And you’ll save that fresh, after-shower feeling for the days you deserve it. This is not the best tip for morning work-outers.
Find the right time.
Know your peak hours, and know your gym’s peak hours. Most of us hit a wall at some point in the day, figuratively speaking of course — when time slows to a crawl, and coffee becomes a must. Notice a trend in your energy and plan workouts during times you tend to be more motivated. Consider the gym’s busiest hours in this process too.
Bring some entertainment.
Download podcasts, audiobooks, music and other forms of entertainment to distract yourself from the difficulty of your workout. You can even do it for free, legally. That purple podcast app you’ve probably never used, iPhone users only, it’s loaded with podcasts and mix tapes from a surprisingly long list of artists. Or if you prefer music, try Spotify.
Change it up.
Don’t do the same workouts every day. Research new circuits and exercises to achieve the body type you’re working towards. This will prevent you from getting bored, and will naturally transform you into a personal trainer.
Set goals and track your progress.
Keep a tally sheet of every day you’ve committed to your gym schedule. If a day is skipped, you have to start over! This can be kept in a notebook where you should also make lists to track your goals. These can vary from short term, mid term and long term to accurately depict a goal timeline.
Share your journey.
We all hate that meathead who posts one or more pictures every day at the gym, in basically the same pose. Don’t be that guy, but do feel comfortable sharing your progress. It’s something to be proud of and can be another way to hold yourself accountable.
Think of relaxing habits or guilty pleasures you enjoy, and reward yourself with one after a workout. I prefer non-edible incentives so I still feel light and healthy falling asleep.
Mastering a workout schedule is one of those things gym junkies make look easy, but can be one of life’s biggest challenges. Practice these tricks, stay dedicated and trust the process; your dream body is closer than you think.