For many years I joined countless gyms went twice, stopped going for about 6 months then finally quit. In 2014 I made a promise to myself to finally get in a habit to go to the gym. During the first half of the year I spent some time reflecting and figured out what my issues were that kept me from going to the gym regularly. My main issues were distance (if the gym is not right infront of my nose, I will not go), and then just getting myself in the habit.
I solved the distance issue by joining a gym in my office building, I have no excuse (well minimal excuses), because I have to pass it everyday going to and from work, so it is always on my mind. Plus I can also go on my lunch hour, which gives me flexibility when it comes to my schedule.
As far as getting myself in the habit, it helped to have regularly scheduled gym events to show up to. When I signed up for the gym, they were offering a deal with one of their personal trainers, I took the plunge and splurged, I do not regret it for a moment. Having a trainer was something I had to show up to, I saw him twice a week, but then he also requested that I went to the gym one other day of the week as well. He was able to check whether or not I had been going with their sign in system. Other then having him help motivate me to show up, he also gave me many of the basic tools to help make my workouts better, including how to properly execute exercises.
Since joining my gym last May, I have been going consistently about 3 days a week, my trainer sessions ran out long ago, but I have myself in the habit of going. Even though I am in the habit of going regularly, sometimes I am not so motivated to show up. I have found some ways that help motivate me to go to the gym, here are my 5 things that help make going to the gym more enjoyable for me.
1. Entertainment - This is key, whether it is watching TV on the treadmill or rocking out to tunes on your iPod, entertainment helps tune out the people around you and makes the workouts go by quicker. When I do cardio on the elliptical I bring my iPad and stream whatever I am currently obsessing over on Netflix or Amazon Prime. The rest of the time I either listen to the music on my iPhone or listen to a variety of playlists on Spotify, Pandora or iTunes Radio. Upbeat music helps power through workouts.
2. Workout Plan - If I don't walk into the gym with a plan, I end up wandering around like a lost puppy, going on the elliptical for 15 mins and then leaving. Having a plan before entering the gym prevents you from wandering around aimlessly. Some days I do classes that are available at my gym, such as yoga or spin, other days I do planned workouts. Pinterest is a great resource for workout ideas, I have a bunch of them pinned to help for inspiration. There are also some great workout plans created by personal trainers up for sale, lately I have been trying the Kayla Itsines Beach Body Guide and I am loving it.
3. Gear - This is going to sound strange but having good gear for the gym will not only make your time spent more functional but it can also be more enjoyable. A proper water bottle is key for me, I prefer one with a straw, so I can drink my water without spilling all over myself while on a spin bike or even mid yoga move. My favorite water bottle (which I own about 3 of in various sizes) is the Contigo Autospout, the soft straw is my favorite part, plus it fully seals to not spill in your bag.
Another thing that helps going to the gym be more comfortable is proper gym clothes. Growing up I wore old cheerleading shorts and old ratty t-shirts, since then gym clothes have grown into an empire all its own. I prefer my gym shirts to be made of Dry Fit or moisture wicking fabric, there is nothing worse then the feeling of a sweaty shirt touching you, for my sanity I get shirts that keep me feeling dry no matter how hot I get.
Good headphones are also key, especially if you want to watch Netflix or even use the TVs attached to the treadmill. Lately I have been wanting a pair of wireless headphones to avoid getting tangled in wires mid workout. I have been using the cheap $10 headphones from Target because I lose my headphones all the time, but I will definitely invest in a wireless pair soon.
4. A Friend - Having a gym buddy helps a ton, I love working out with friends, we push each other and cheer for each other. During some of the hardest workouts I have done having a friend has really helped me push through the worst and finish up. I don't always have the chance to have a buddy go to the gym with me, but when the option comes up I always take advantage.
5. Reward Yourself - You just worked out! That is awesome! I always try to treat myself when I have gone to the gym, it helps me to keep going back, I even have different rewards for milestones. I don't treat myself with food because then that defeats the purpose of going to the gym. Lately my treat has been a pamper session. There is a lotion I am obsessed with from Lush called Sympathy for the Skin, it smells like delicious vanilla cream and is such a treat to use. Lush lotions are not cheap but I have made a promise to myself to only use the lotion during showers I have after going to the gym, this gives me something special to look forward to after a hard workout.
Lately I have been trying to be more cautious on treating myself with shopping, in effort to save money and pay down debts. But I definitely feel that milestones should be rewarded. If I can be consistent in working out for a month I may treat myself to a new work out shirt or pants. If I complete my 12 week workout plan, I would love to treat myself to the wireless headphones I have been eyeing.
These are some of my tips I do to help motivate me and make going to the gym more enjoyable for myself, what are the things that you like to do to help motivate you to stay healthy?