How many times have you paid a gym membership fee with the best intentions, only to find a month later that you've stepped through the door just once? You know you'll feel physically stronger and mentally refreshed after your workout is over, but somehow life just keeps getting in the way. You hit the snooze button too many times this morning, a lunchtime meeting pops up or your son needs a ride to soccer practice this evening. How do you establish a routine so that going to the gym isn't a chore at the bottom of your to-do list, but rather a regular part of your daily life?|
Between the variety of equipment and classes from which to choose, access to trainers, and friends who make your hour of sweat a social experience, the gym has the potential to turn exercise into something you look forward to instead of something you dread. But you have to get there first. If packing your gym bag the night before isn't enough to get you there regularly, check out these tips from trainers and other motivational experts to make getting to the gym one of the easiest parts of your day.
Find the Right Gym
"It’s amazing what the right type of gym will do for motivation," says Pat Gilles, owner of Pat's Gym in Wisconsin. "Find a gym with people who will build you up instead of
Before you dive into the first
Plan for the Week Ahead
Alysa Boan, a certified personal trainer at FitnessTrainer.com, finds that detailed planning is the key to success. "One of the tricks I have found works best is to not only schedule their workouts, but schedule them early—our
Set Very Simple Goals You Can't Excuse
You've set SMART goals, but somehow they still aren't getting you to the gym. Weight-loss expert and author Michelle Hastie Thompson suggests it's time to take a step back and start with something even simpler. "If you've worked hard all day and then set the goal to go the gym and run, your mind will fire off excuses like, 'I am too tired,' 'My knee hurts' or 'I don’t want to mess up my hair.,'" Thompson explains. "But if you make your goal as simple as, 'Put my workout clothes on after work,' it's unlikely you will find an excuse to skip out. You have your workout clothes on and it feels silly to just drive home."
This way of thinking creates a domino effect. "Going to the gym now becomes you
Visualize Your Feelings of Accomplishment
The funny thing about many regular gym-goers is that they don't necessarily love to get up and go, but they love the feeling after a good workout and that alone keeps them coming back for more. Emily Mendez, a mental health writer and expert,
Plan for a Special Post-Workout Snack
If there's a healthy snack you really enjoy, why not save it for after a good workout? You might not be jazzed about heading to the gym, but if you know there's a tasty snack waiting for you afterward, it could be the boost you need. Commit to yourself that the snack is only available if you follow through with your workout plan.
Download an App
"I don't know what to do when I get to the gym" is no longer an excuse with the wide variety of apps and resources available. A simple search can yield exercise moves targeting specific muscles, expert-developed circuits and training plans that work for your schedule and your fitness level. The Aaptiv app, for example, allows you to enter your goals, select a workout and a trainer guides you through it for $10 per month.
Looking for some
Find Some Motivational Prompts
Christene Burgess, a counselor and mindfulness expert, recommends finding a variety of motivational tools that target the different senses. "Video record a segment of your workout as an active reminder that you are this person who's committed to keeping fit. Choose a music track that's motivational and energizing as your 'call to action' for your alarm on your phone, telling you it's time for a workout. Start or join an interesting group to meet up with for workouts," she suggests. "If you fail to keep a planned workout session, commit to a new appointment. Don't let the one-off occasion derail you indefinitely."
Even the most faithful exerciser has trouble getting out the door for a workout now and then. By learning what motivates you to be consistent, you'll be able to stay committed to the gym and, therefore, committed to a lifetime of activity and better health.