Going to the gym has many health benefits from the physical to the mental. Knowing all of these benefits doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s easy to get yourself to actually go to the gym. If you have trouble motivating yourself to get to the gym consistently, try these tips to help!
Dress the Part
Research shows that dressing the part can actually help motivate you to accomplish a task. If you’re set up and ready to go to the gym, you’re more likely to actually go. In addition, setting out your clothes the night before can help make it even easier to go.
It can definitely help to have a partner to hold you accountable. Especially if your partner is at a similar level to you, you can do your workouts together and plan to meet at specific times. You’ll be less likely to skip your workouts if you don’t want to leave your friend hanging. Plus, partners are great for celebrating with!
Make a Goal
While some people have no problem working out for the sake of working out, most people need to work towards a goal. The type of goal you choose depends on what works for you. Broad goals, like losing weight or increasing muscle tone, tend to be less motivating than strictly achievable goals like working towards a competition or wanting to lose X pounds by Y deadline.
Getting up early to go to the gym isn’t necessarily easy in of itself but working out in the evening gives you all day to come up with excuses not to go. Energize yourself by working out early, leaving your body feeling refreshed for your work day. Tough it out those first few mornings and soon your body will adjust to the new schedule.
For many beginners, going to the gym can simply be a challenge of overcoming their fear of judgement and self-consciousness. While this may be a “simple challenge,” it is not always simple to overcome. There are a few options to fight these feelings. One option is to find a music playlist that hypes you up so you can zone out and focus on yourself only. Another option is to go during off hours, like mid-morning or mid-afternoon. Of course, this works best for those with flexible work schedules.
Switch It Up
Repeating the same thing over and over can get boring. To avoid getting stuck on one routine, which can make you less likely to want to go to workout, try switching it up with alternative exercises and even shifting through sport practices and other activities. This will help keep your mind interested and alert.
Set Goals that You Can Reach
Like we went over earlier, it’s important to have goals to motivate you. It’s also important to make sure that those goals are achievable. For example, starting from the couch and working towards a 5k is absolutely achievable, so long as your timeline is appropriate. Same thing with bodybuilding competitions. Overwhelming, high goals will leave you feeling drained and defeated. Instead, set yourself up for success with smaller goals you know you can achieve.
Something that works for many people is positive reinforcement. This is the idea that you reward yourself when you go to the gym, thereby creating a positive emotional association with the idea of going to the gym. One example is to give yourself a small piece of candy after a workout. The sweets will make you happy, which will in turn make you think of being happy at the gym. Alternatives include visiting friends nearby or checking out a local coffeeshop next door. The reward must be sustainable, close to immediate, and effective.
Log Your Workouts
Record your activities while working out. This can be distance on the treadmill, weights, exercises, machines used, or even milestones you’ve achieved. Writing your progress down, whether on paper or with an app, helps you to see how far you’ve come and to remind you of where you started. If you started by working with 20-pound dumbbells, being able to work with 40-pound dumbbells will leave you feeling accomplished and ready to work harder.
Recovery and Rest
Being motivated to workout can quickly turn into overworking yourself if you don’t keep rest and recovery in mind. Your body needs time to process muscle growth and aerobic conditioning. Build in recovery time into your program, whether that’s giving yourself a day off or keeping it light with some stretching and mobility work. Your body will thank you for giving it the break it needs!