According to Web MD, while it is not all that difficult to start working on your fitness levels by joining a gym, the hard part is sticking to it. As your enthusiasm and energy wane and life distractions abound, many of us will throw in the towel. There are, however techniques you can use to ensure you make it part of your daily routine to put in your time at the gym. These techniques include:
- Keep essentials in your vehicle – This means that there is always a packed bag with your gym shoes, socks, workout clothing, towel, shampoo, soap, and any other items you would typically need after a sweaty workout. When your gym essentials are already in your car, it is so much easier to either make it to the gym before you go to work or to stop by the gym after work. When you are scrambling around in the morning trying to get out the door, getting your gym gear together can seem like one chore you can just ignore. If your gym essentials are always in your car, you have one less thing to worry about.
- Involve another person – If you make plans to meet a friend at the gym every day, it is not as easy to drive by the gym without stopping. In short, you are much less likely to let a friend down, therefore it is much more difficult to give yourself a pass when you are stressed or tired. If you do not have a friend who’s interested in being your gym buddy, enlist your spouse or partner. You may even engage in a little friendly competition to keep things interesting.
- Make your gym time a priority – For you to stick with your gym commitment, it has to be non-negotiable. Exercise actually has to become a part of your identity, and you have to learn to care about yourself, your health and your well-being enough to make yourself a priority.
- Commit to stopping at the gym – Even when you’re beat from the day you have had at work, motivate yourself to get to the gym. If you tell yourself that all you have to do is to stop the car, pick up your gym bag and go inside—nothing more—chances are high that once you are inside you will decide to work out, and, after working out, you will actually feel more energized. While exercising, you breathe more deeply, allowing your body to make better use of the oxygen exchange. So, just make a commitment to stop at your gym and lace up your workout shoes. It is almost a certainty that you will stay and work out.
- Notice all the indicators of your progress – Of course, it is a good day when those jeans you could not zip suddenly fit, but there are other, equally important, indicators of your progress at the gym, including:
- You are sleeping better;
- Your energy levels are up;
- Your muscles don’t scream for mercy during a workout anymore;
- Your brain is clearer;
- Your resting heart rate has dropped dramatically, and
- Your cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugars, triglycerides and bone density have all shown measurable improvement.
On a final note, it can be helpful to give yourself mini-rewards along the way for sticking to your gym schedule. Making behavioral changes is tough, and rewards are motivating—it is just that simple. Set smaller goals and decide on a reward when you meet your goal. As an example, when you consistently walk 8,000 steps per day, you will buy a new pair of walking shoes, or once you have maintained your fitness plan for one month, you will buy yourself something you really want (it is good to set a money limit on your rewards to avoid overspending).