First let me start this by giving each of you a sincere pat-on-the-back for even making it to the gym. There are so many people that never even take that step in the door, let alone actually invest their time and money into their health. So congratulations, hats off and thumbs up to you. Now, whether you’ve been going to the gym for 2 weeks, 2 months or 2 years, how do you keep motivated to maintain that attendance?
Here are a few tips I have for you that have proven to work well to help people maintain motivation and keep down the path of reaching goals, improving health and getting stronger.
– Keep it Interesting: Attend a variety of classes at the gym and engage in an active lifestyle outside of the gym. At Norcal we offer a wide variety of classes (Low Intensity, Elements, Level 1, Olympic Weight Lifting, Balanced Body, Strength Class, Speed and Agility). Also make sure to prevent boredom of a monotonous gym schedule by doing things outside of the gym (Bidwell Park trails, Adult sports leagues, swimming, etc).
– Buddy System: If you know that someone is expecting to meet you at the gym, you will be more likely to get your butt in there. Recruit a friend that already goes to the gym or invite a friend to come join you and make it a team effort. Work out a carpool schedule so you will have to pick up or get picked up to increase the likelihood of making it in.
– Hire a Coach: Another form of accountability it to hire a coach. Again, someone will be waiting for you so the chance of you not showing up are way less. You will be paying for the coach, and we all know that money is motivation. Not to mention, that working with a coach one on one or in a small group setting you will most likely see results faster, discover you can do more than you thought, and have help staying on track.
– Focus on Fun: Remember that this is fun! It’s fun to feel good. It’s fun to improve. It’s fun to see what you really can do. If we put too much stress on ourselves to lose weight or get a new PR, stress levels increase. If you get bent out of shape because you missed a day at the gym or had a cookie, then you’re just digging yourself in a hole and again putting added stress that is detrimental to your health. Make sure you’re enjoying yourself and if you’re not it’s time to change it up a bit.
– Set New Goals: Going into the gym day in and day out without having a specific reason to be there, will get old. Make a goal of getting specific movements down (pull-ups, dips, squat PR, etc). Sign up for a 5K and set a goal for time finished. Give yourself a reason to be there and you’ll be more likely to show up.
– Take a Break: Also remember, it’s okay to take a break. I don’t mean go and sit on your butt for 3 weeks. But take a week out of the gym…come to mobility class to fill your classes paid for if you want…but go play tag football with your kids, go for a walk, or just take a week to recover and revive that desire to be in the gym.
Remember WHY you started in the first place. You want to live a healthy life, be able to function in your daily activities, look good in your bikini…you want to feel good! Know that EVERYONE has moments when they don’t want to go to the gym, when it takes every ounce of energy to get in there, or when they feel a bit lost as to why they are doing it. You can always get back on track. Please share other strategies you may have found to work for you.