Joining a gym is one thing, but actually going to it regularly and reaching your personal goals is something else entirely. I've had this problem myself in the past and have recently joined a gym, so I'm very keen to learn from my past mistakes.
I thought it would be helpful to share a few simple ideas that could really help you turn things around if you're struggling to find time for the gym, or if you don't seem to be there enough.
You may even be thinking about joining a gym or changing the one you're with.
For me it's a very special opportunity, as I've only just been able to return to the gym after a period of over five years due to illness. This makes me super motivated but a little fragile, as I've really had to start from scratch. For some reason though, it's easier than it was before for me and I've been able to pinpoint a few reasons why.
Here are some things to consider if you want your gym membership to make a difference.
I'd always made the mistake of joining a gym that was close to where I worked rather than close to where I lived. This decision was obviously motivated by the cheaper costs, with company schemes, but as I didn't work out around working hours, it was hard work getting there in the evenings and weekends.
The main thing that put me off of going to the gym before or after work is that these were the busiest times. I could never use all the equipment I needed and it was all so crowded and rushed.
It was also full of collages who usually wanted to talk and interact when I needed to be focussed. If I'm honest, I also didn't want people see how out of shape I was and felt more than a little self-conscious.
The distance also made that personal commitment of getting there a lot more difficult. The long car ride would provide plenty of reasons to put it off and it was often hard to find that amount of free time. I also felt that I really had to commit when I was there to justify the trip.
I now go to a gym that's very close to my home and it's made a huge difference, as I can even walk there if I need to. I can also do a very quick and light workout if I'm busy.
I've just joined a 24 hour gym and it really makes a difference.
It's so easy to decide that you don't really have time to go before the gym closes or that you might get held up in traffic. This is likely to bite you even more if your gym is far away.
Even if it doesn't close, you can also find yourself procrastinating or get distracted. You'll then decide it's far too late to go and put it off to some future date that will probably get forgotten.
If this happens, plan ahead. Set an alarm if you need to but make sure you're moving at a set time when you really need to go. Creating a routine can also be helpful and keep focusing on how good you'll feel afterwards.
This is all essential during the first few weeks. It may also help to keep thinking of the monetary value of your membership as well.
Like before, my advice is to look for a gym that's close by and is open during hours that suit you.
It's so easy to come home shattered after a hard day at work and decide that it's just not possible to go to the gym. You may also feel far too jaded at weekends as well.
When you're in these situations, just try some fairly light routines and see how you feel afterwards. The benefits will be obvious and you're sure to feel a lot more relaxed and alert.
You then need to focus on this feeling when you're next in this situation and do your best to work though it. Again, joining a gym that's close to home should help here.
I think aches and pains and minor injuries are pretty much inevitable when you start working out. My recent return to the gym after many years away has been difficult in this respect, but I've gained some valuable experience that has helped me out.
The most significant thing is that you often have to accept that there is no way around an injury and that you have no control over it.
Simply working though a sprain or a pull can often lead to more time away from training than simply resting for a couple of days. You have to think long-term and not get caught up in all the frenzied attempts to motivate yourself.
Let your head rule your heart here and focus on the practical things you need to do to make sure you return as soon as possible.
It's so easy to be too busy to go to the gym and while some things are obviously more important, you need to find the right balance.
I personally use my time at the gym to be productive as well, which really makes a difference.
Not only is it a great opportunity to clear your mind and let your brain work its magic behind the scenes, as you can also do some work there as well. A lot of gym equipment is internet enabled now so you can put it to good use.
I can access Pocket on mine, so I can spend time walking on a treadmill catching up on my reading. This has even become part of my workflow and it's a great way to effectively multitask without splitting yourself down the middle.
I really hope that this has been helpful and that a few of these ideas should help you if you're just starting out. Good luck, and remember keep an eye on this blog for more ideas.