If you’re sitting there feeling lethargic and assessing your growing waistline, your thoughts may be turning to actually doing something about it. However, it may be that you’ve not been to a gym in quite a while, or worse still, you may be paying for your gym or health club membership but not even using it.
So, if you want to get motivated and start going to the gym again, check out our 10 ways to shake yourself out of your inactivity and begin going to the gym on a regular basis.
There are all manner of different types of gym– some of which are at the high end of the scale where membership will come at a premium and some that allow you to pay per visit. If you’re someone who’s not going to go at least three times a week, then stick to the ‘pay-as-you-go’ variety of gym, as this will stop you spending money needlessly. On the other hand, a gym that has additional facilities such as fitness classes, personal trainers, spas, saunas and steam rooms might incentivise you to go more frequently. Make sure the gym you decide to go with has the facilities that suit you.
One of the things that puts people off is the type of clientele they find or expect to find at their gym. Although there may be some finely toned specimens in your gym of choice, they are often few and far between. Gyms are usually full of people of all shapes and sizes. Even if you’re carrying a few extra pounds or are not able to do as many sit-ups as the person next to you, don’t concern yourself with how well you compare to them. Instead, ignore what everyone else is doing and concentrate on yourself and your own training.
One way to get yourself really motivated and in the mood for exercise is to work out with an experienced personal trainer.
Try to select someone that has been recommended to you by a friend and remember, not all personal trainers have the same styles of instruction. If you used to have an instructor and the experience put you off, then perhaps you just had the wrong fitness instructor, so why not try someone different? Plus, of course, if you’ve booked a session with a trainer, you’ll be less likely to back out of going to the gym.
To avoid feeling out of place in the gym, take a friend. It doesn’t have to be all about working out and can be a social occasion too. Training with a partner may introduce a competitive element between the two of you, thereby pushing you further and encouraging you to go back to the gym. You could even hire a personal trainer between the two of you and do plenty of activities that can be done in pairs. Also, after your workout, you could enjoy a drink (non-alcoholic of course) together in the club bar.
Going along to a gym, especially after a long absence, can be quite daunting. Since you last went, you may find that a lot of the equipment you previously used has since been replaced and the feeling of not knowing how to use a piece of equipment can easily put you off! In this instance, ensure you have a proper induction so you are familiar with all the fitness machines as this will make you more confident about going back to the gym and will also prevent you from feeling uncomfortable if you think you are using a piece of equipment incorrectly.
Many people make the mistake of going to the gym and doing the things that they really detest, and wonder why they never stick at it! If you really detest running on a treadmill, for example, then try other cardiovascular exercise such as cycling or swimming. Only by actually doing exercises that you enjoy will you really want to go to the gym and keep at it and doing regular exercise of your choice is better than doing none at all! Also, try to vary your activities to keep yourself interested.
Frequently, people use the excuse that they don’t have enough time to fit in a gym session but even if you’re pushed for time, it should still be possible to fit in a workout no matter how short it is. Remember: it’s quality not quantity that counts so maximize what you do while you are there to get the most of your session. If you’re honest with yourself, you may realize that you spend at least half your time in the gym chatting and generally gazing at what everyone else is doing so, if you cut that out, you’ll easily be able to fit in a session and therefore not have any excuses for not going to the gym!
Going to the gym doesn’t have to be all about pushing weights and grinding out the miles on the treadmill. In recent years, many gyms have introduced a range of fitness classes such as spinning, circuits, rowing, abdominal workouts, yoga and Pilates all of which give you a variety of options and will help you to maintain your interest. Plus, as you see progress each week, you’re more likely to keep going back time after time. Classes will also ensure that you are doing the exercises correctly thus minimizing your chances of picking up an injury.
It definitely pays to go to the gym at a time that really suits you. Many gyms have extended opening hours and are open early in the morning so the early birds can get their fix before going to work. It’s often best to go to the gym in the morning or on the way home especially as you may not be bothered going to the gym once you’ve made it home and slipped your shoes off. However, if you’re someone who likes to head out to the gym late on and are usually one of the last to leave, then stick to that if it suits you.
To really get you to focus on your visits to the gym and stick at it, why not consider entering a race or competition? If you've got an end goal, such as running a marathon, then that may spur you on to keep going to the gym. It doesn't have to be anything as hard as a marathon, of course but simply by putting the date of the race on your calendar, you will be helping yourself to get revved up and may even start looking forward to the gym! Also, following a specific training schedule will give your workouts structure and really help to motivate you.
If none of the ten tips above have inspired you to pick up your membership card or start looking for a new gym, then why not consider working out at home? There’s plenty you can do from home to keep you fit, and it doesn't have to rely on expensive and sophisticated gym equipment. For example, using your own bodyweight for exercise is often all the gym equipment you need.