I’ve been an avid and dedicated gym goer for years. My alarm went off early in the morning, and no matter how tired I felt, I hopped out of bed into my gym clothes. One hip injury/surgery/recovery later and I was totally out of my gym routine. Life is busy. We all have so many things pulling us in many different directions-work, relationships, kids, hobbies, school, church, etc. Sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done let alone get to the gym. As busy as we are, physical fitness and overall health are important so how do we make time to get to the gym?
1. FIND YOUR MOTIVATION
Do you want to lose a few pounds or maybe more? (The simplest way to look at weight loss is calories in versus calories out. Exercise burns calories. Burning calories helps the ratio of calories in/calories out.)
Do you want to build muscle? The gym is the perfect place to increase muscle strength, tone up, or lean out. Lifting weights a few times a week can make a big difference in strength. Don’t let the weight machines scare you. Most of the machines have simple instructions with pictures to help you or schedule a consultation with a personal trainer.
Are you ready to improve your overall health? Exercise not only helps with weight loss and muscle strength, but it builds your overall health. A regular exercise routine improves cardiovascular health as well as mental and emotional health.
2. SET A GOAL
Set your goals based on your motivation. Do you want to lose 10 pounds, deadlift 50 more pounds, improve your blood pressure? Setting your goals based on your motivation will make it easier to stick to those goals. I like to set a bigger goal and smaller sub goals to accomplish my bigger goal. For example, if I want to lose 20 pounds, I set a goal to lose 2 pounds per week. 2 pounds seems much easier to accomplish than 20.
3. MAKE A PLAN
When are you going? Morning? Night? What time?
How long are you staying? 30 minutes? 60 minutes? When you first start, having a time goal (whatever it might be) is probably more important than the actual amount of time you are there.
What are you doing while you are there? Spin class, treadmill, free weights, elliptical, zumba? Go with a plan and you will feel more productive about your workout and more likely to go back next time.
4. GET A GYM BUDDY
I’m much more likely to make it if someone expects me to be there. I can make all the excuses in the world to myself, but none of them seem valid if I have to say them to someone else. I don’t want to be known as the flake so if you expect me to be at the gym to meet you, I will be there.
5. REWARD YOURSELF
Once you start meeting your small goals, celebrate. Buy a new outfit. Splurge on those new gym clothes you’ve been wanting or buy yourself a new purse.
Pay yourself. Give yourself a certain amount of money for each small goal met to work up to a bigger reward when you meet your big goal. It’s easier to celebrate that big goal when you have the cash on hand.
Get a massage or a pedicure, or whatever you like to do to relax. You’ve been working hard so reward those efforts.
As tough as it can be to get started with a gym routine, once you do it consistently it gets easier and easier. The excuses will stop, and you’ll feel much better.