Yesterday you said to yourself “tomorrow, I WILL go to the gym”. All day today you said to yourself “tonight, I WILL go to the gym”. But then you get home from school or work, sit down for a minute, and all of your fitness hopes and dreams go out the window and are replaced with your new intention: “tomorrow, I WILL go to the gym”. We’ve all been there. Multiple times. The most difficult part of getting into a gym routine is the part where you actually get up and go to the gym. Here are some tips and tricks that helped me get into the swing of things, even when all I wanted to do was eat ice cream and take a nap:
1) Pack a gym bag the night before
Make the decision to go to the gym as easily accessible as possible. Having everything ready to go makes it easy to just pick up the bag and head on over. The same thing goes for running or at-home exercise if you don’t have a gym membership. Lay out your clothes and equipment the night before so that when you’re ready to workout, you don’t waste any time searching for your clothes, time which leaves room for “ah, nevermind, I’ll just go another time”. Also, preparing things the night before further commits you to actually going the next day…you didn’t take extra time out of your Netflix-watching to pack a bag for nothing!
2) Go with a friend
Telling someone “I don’t feel like going anymore, I’m tired”, is a lot more difficult than saying the same thing to yourself. Some people do prefer going to the gym alone, and that’s fine…as long as you actually go! Going with a friend and spending more time talking than sweating is still better than not going at all.
3) Make a schedule. Plan, plan, plan.
Know what exercises you want to do and on which day ahead of time. On Sunday night, make a gym schedule for the upcoming week. Being indecisive about what you want to target that day and what exercises you will do uses up valuable mental energy that can be used to motivate you to just get to the gym. Also, be smart about your plan; unless you’re a gym regular you likely won’t be able to do three days of weights in a row without feeling like you got hit by a train and giving up after day two. Spread it out, and use lighter cardio days between weight lifting days to help your body recover.
Another important aspect of planning is timing. Pay attention to the time of day that you have the most energy. I am NOT a morning person, and although this time would work best for my schedule, I know that I will never drag myself out of bed before work to get to the gym. I get most of my energy in the afternoon, but that’s when I’m at work. This leaves me with the evening being the only time I have left to go, but at that point in the day I’m usually exhausted, which brings me to my next tip…
4) Try a pre-workout
Taking a pre-workout can give you a boost of energy when your gym timing just isn’t conducive to your daily energy levels. The other great thing about pre-workout is that it 100% commits you to going to the gym because once you take it, there’s no going back and there’s only one way to get that tingly-energetic feeling out.
5) Turn the negative into positive
Stop thinking of the gym as punishment. Stop thinking “I ate that cupcake at work today so now I have to go work it off”. Stop thinking “I have all this fat, I need to get to the gym”. Enjoy your cupcake. Learn to love and accept your body. But do NOT think of the gym as a form of punishment, it creates a mental block that makes going that much harder. Start thinking of it as a form of stress release, a way to be healthier, a way to live longer for your kids/significant other/family, a way to feel better. That is truly when you start WANTING to go, rather than forcing yourself to go.