Improving strength and fitness requires changes in your lifestyle and daily habits, including how often you get to the gym.
However, research shows that many people don’t consistently continue with their fitness goals because it can be really hard to get to the gym, even if you’re paying the monthly membership.
But the beauty of life is that if you fail to make those changes, you can always come back and keep at it until working out becomes a habit.
Here are nine ways to get to the gym and stay on top of your fitness goals, even when it totally feels impossible to even get out the door.
1. Meet a Friend
Many friends have a lot of fun together working out together, whether it’s a running group, a couple, or friends. And they keep each other accountable.
Meeting a friend is a great way to make sure you get to the gym, push yourself while you’re there, and enjoy some friend time in the process. And if you or your spouse needs a little encouragement, there’s a ton of research that says couples who work out together get fitter together.
2. Free Classes
One of the best ways to get into a fitness routine is to take complimentary classes at your gym. There are high-intensity cycle and cardio classes, strength-builders, and yoga classes.
Plus the classes are a great social tool. You’ll meet new people who might be struggling to get going just like you. Make a commitment to meet some people and tell them you’ll see them next week!
3. Create a Simple Routine
You can create a short, easy routine at any gym using machines. Doing a weight machine circuit is an easy way to get a solid workout in. For example, several clients do a circuit on the Hoist machines at the WAC. Others like to do a TRX routine. And many like the cable machines.
The bottom line is to be consistent. Working out three times a week forces your body to start to adapt to the new work loads. Give yourself enough time to recover, though! Muscles are not “grown” in the gym; they’re grown when you sleep!
4. Make a Date.
Go to your Google Calendar or your datebook and write down “GYM.” And, like any other appointment, get to it! Adding this to your calendar makes it easier to block out time to get a workout in, even if it’s only 30 minutes.
5. Trainers Keep You on Track
Working with a personal trainer means you get a workout buddy, someone to teach you proper form, someone to encourage you, and someone to keep you accountable. I have clients at the WAC who meet me three times a week and others once a week for an hour. What do you need to keep you on track?
6. Fake Yourself Out
An amazing amount of research suggests that if you just put on those running shoes or get dressed for the gym, you are more likely to get to the gym! It’s as if you’re telling your body, “well, we’re already dressed, we may as well go.”
This includes driving! If you plan your route to or from work to go past your gym, you’re more likely to say, “well, I’m already here” and walk in.
Just showing up can be half the battle.
7. Go Early
This one has always been a challenge for me. My wife loves getting up early on weekends to run. I would much rather ride or run after work when I can.
My wife says she wants to make sure she’s able to get the workout in, especially if things come up in her day. She’s now established a routine, so she’s more likely to get out of bed and put on her running shoes!
8. Set Reachable Goals and Visualize Them
Many of us, especially those of us who set New Year’s Resolutions, have unrealistic expectations of ourselves. We want to lose 30 pounds in three months or we want to break 20 minutes in a 5k when we’ve never broken 30 minutes.
Research into goal-setting suggests that if you have a long-term goal, do two things:
- Break your long-term goal into smaller, shorter, and more achievable goals. For instance, if you want to run a half-marathon, set a goal of running one mile this month, three miles next months, and etc.
- Visualize yourself achieving all the small and long-term goals. See yourself completing the mile, then the three-mile. Your mind and body then come to expect the change. Visualize your success, and it is more likely to happen.
9. Keep Track of Your Work
Writing stuff done, especially if you do it on paper with a pencil or pen, helps make it more real.
Get a small notebook or use your daily planner. (Don’t have one? Get one! Even if it’s just to write down your list of to-dos.) Write down those goals and micro-goals. Then write down what you’re doing.
Write down your mileage and time if you’re running or riding. Write down the weight you lifted on all the machines.
You can also write down your current body measurements, including chest, belly, and butt. You can write down weight and body fat, but these are not always going to be accurate.
This note-taking is another habit, but with it, you’ll see your progress. You will see how much more you can lift or run, or how your pants and shirts feel looser.
At Simple Endurance Coaching, we create strength-training and work out plans that help you meet your fitness goals. Plus when you have a coach, you are more likely to stay motivated and committed.