January is the month that all gym rats dread. Hordes of people swarm their previously clean and uncluttered health clubs. They hog equipment, leave weights on the machines, and rudely ignore all hygiene and gym etiquette. By the time February rolls around most of them have evaporated in a mist of sullen sweat and unfinished sets. This isn’t you, though, right? You have set a goal to join the gym and stick with it. You’ve embarked on a search for your long lost abs and waist and by God, you’re going to find them! It’s not always easy, though, even for the most dedicated fitness freak. Here are 10 ways to stay motivated when you just want to go home and order a pizza.
Set your fitness goals:
1) If you’ve been working out for six weeks and hopefully eating a more healthy diet, than you must feel and see some kind of results. Before you start slacking off think about how hard you’ve worked! It’s all you; nobody else did the work to make you lose those pounds and inches. Even if the progress is slow, it still progresses forward. So steel your resolve, refocus your goals, and work out!
Mingle with others at gym:
2) Get to know some of the people at your gym. We’re all in the same boat and sometimes it helps to commiserate with others when you’re feeling less than jazzed. I’ve heard some really motivating stories that got me excited about working out again. This doesn’t mean spend all your time chatting though you’re there to burn, not to churn!
Do some research:
3) You’ve probably done some reading on fitness already, especially if you’ve been working out for a while. There’s a mountain of information out there in the form of magazines, books, and websites. Subscribe to a favorite fitness magazine, or go to your local library and check out a couple of books on exercise. Most magazines have an informational website. You can learn more about your body, exercise and exciting new classes that you might want to try.
Change your routine:
4) This is very important, both mentally and physically. If you lift the same weights and do the same cardio day in and day out you will get bored very quickly. It’s important to vary your routine so that you can stimulate your muscles and your heart in a variety of ways. It also keeps you challenged and can blast you out of a weight loss plateau.
Try a new class:
5) Sometimes people who are new to a gym are hesitant to try a new type of class. They might feel intimidated or clumsy. I’ve never met an instructor who wasn’t friendly and helpful.
Everyone was new at one time or another. If it’s your first time just arrive a few minutes early and chat with the instructor. He or she will be glad to give you a few tips.
6) Spin! I highly recommend this intensely challenging and fun style of aerobics. Everyone rides a specialized bike and an instructor leads them through a series of sprints, climbs, and jumps for a calorie blasting ride. You control your own tension and speed and ride at your own pace and your own RPE-or Rate of Perceived Exertion. This class will add a ride on the wild side to your workouts as well as burn anywhere from 400-800 calories.
7) You’re tired and stressed out. You just want to go home and pour a glass of wine or a beer. Take a second and think about how you feel after your workouts. You’re tired, but in a positive way that says you did something good for yourself. You feel invigorated and that much closer to losing another pound or an inch. You feel great mentally and physically because you followed through another day. Hold that feeling close and before you know it you’ll be at the gym working up a feel-good sweat.
Buy a comfortable workout outfit that fits your body:
8) Buy a couple of nice workout outfit that fit well and is easy to move around in. It always helps your confidence at the gym to feel good about how you look yet still be comfortable. They don’t have to be expensive either. Most stores these days carry inexpensive yet effective workout clothes.
Try new shoes:
9) Buy yourself a new pair of shoes. I’m not talking Manolo’s either. Every time you see your shiny new sneaks they’ll inspire you to throw them on and hit the gym. It’s essential to have a pair of shoes that fit your needs at the gym. For example, if you like to burn calories on the treadmill then buy a pair of walking and/or running shoes that fit well and are good quality. Shoes are not the area to skimp on quality. You need healthy feet in order to be healthy. If you want to save some money shop around online.
10) Compliment yourself like you would your best friend. It’s amazing how easy it is to encourage others that we care about and how difficult to do the same for ourselves. Instead, we analyze and criticize every flaw and fail to treat ourselves in a positive way. Even if you haven’t accomplished all that you hoped or planned, acknowledge and revel in your hard work and persistence.
Remember that this isn’t just about fitting into that special dress, or losing your gut and then quitting. You’re making fitness a part of your life and sometimes it’s hard work to fit it in along with everything else. So yes, you’ll probably miss a day here and there. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Workout the next day and move on and forward. Make exercise a part of your lifestyle and soon enough you won’t be able to imagine your life without it.