So, a while ago you decided you were going to do something about your health and fitness and joined a gym. For the first few weeks, or even a few months, you maintained a great routine and worked out 2-4 times a week. Things were going well. But now you’re not going as much as you used to. There always seems to be things stopping you from going as much as you want/need to. You’re too busy at work, you don’t have the time, you’re too tired, etc. You’re starting to put off going today and tell yourself you’ll go tomorrow instead. This scenario is extremely common and is a huge sign that you’re losing or have already lost your motivation.
Reaching your fitness goal isn’t usually a short-term exercise. It takes time to reach your goal and then ongoing effort to maintain your body at that level. Maintaining motivation is absolutely critical to your success. I’ve been going to the gym on and off for about 7 years and have been through all the motivation issues I mentioned. Work reasons were my most common excuse and I would often delay going to the next day and sometimes that next day wouldn’t happen till much later. Along the way, I’ve learned many of the things that are important in maintaining motivation. Below are my top 10 tips for helping you maintain your motivation and give you the best chance to reach your fitness goals.
1. Set Achievable Goals
Break down your long-term goal into a number of achievable short-term goals. As an example, if you want to lose 10kg, set your initial goal at 3 kg. Reward yourself when you reach the interim goal. Sometimes, the longer-term goal can seem so far away that you can lose belief in achieving it so focus on something short term.
2. Focus on Your Objective
Your desired outcome is your true motivation so don’t lose sight of it. Your goal isn’t to go to the gym 3 times per week so don’t use it as your measure of success. Training at the gym is a way of achieving your goal, not the goal itself.
3. Join a gym that fits in with your lifestyle
The gym you join needs to be conveniently located and must be open at the times you want to train. Before joining a gym or choosing to change gyms, think about how your training needs to fit around your lifestyle to minimise any compromises. When you have to compromise on other things that are important to you, you’ll always find reasons to not go to the gym and you won’t achieve your goals.
4. Set yourself up for success
When choosing a gym, ensure they cater for the type of training that you need to reach your goal. If you want to lose weight and attend group cardio classes, don’t join a low-cost gym that focusses on weight training and body building. Sounds simple but you’d be amazed at how many people join a gym based on a low cost ‘deal’ before finding out they can’t do what they want.
5. Keep it fresh and interesting
Ensure there is a good variety of training methods and equipment available. Your body and your mind will both get bored if you keep the same workout routine for extended periods of time.
6. Try and train with friends
Friends are an important ingredient to keep you enjoying your time at the gym and also to keep each other disciplined. If you don’t have anyone you know to train with, joining a gym full of people with similar fitness goals to you will usually mean there are plenty of opportunities to find new friends. Gyms can be incredibly social venues and a great place to meet new people.
7. Don’t waste all your hard work
Support your investment at the gym (both your time and money) with a good diet designed to help you achieve your goals. You won’t see the results you’re looking for if you work out at the gym and then undo all the good work by eating poorly. When you don’t see positive results, you’ll lose motivation.
8. Reduce or remove the motivation blockers
Sometimes, the hardest part about motivating yourself to go the gym is actually getting there in the first place. As I usually train in the morning before work, the hardest part for me is the act of getting out of bed at 5.45am. 1-2 mins after I get up, I’m committed to the act of going and my motivation is fine. To make this easier, I’ve found a gym that is on my way to work and has good shower/change facilities. I also prepare my clothes, protein shake and a breakfast smoothie the night before so I can get up as late as possible. These things are designed to make the act of getting up in the morning (my motivation blocker) easier. Find out what is blocking your motivation and do everything you can to mitigate it.
9. Focus on something positive each time you train
Try and find something during or after each workout that you look forward to. For me, there is a particular protein powder and flavour that I love. I only have that particular flavour after a gym workout as a reward. I deliberately use another flavour at other times as I haven’t ‘earned’ the nice one. Seems silly but it works for me. I’m also a member of the AIA Vitality program which rewards me for going to the gym with free Boost juices and other vouchers as well as money off my gym membership the more I go. Find what works for you and reward yourself with it but only during or after you complete your workout.
10. Think of ways to make your training more enjoyable
I’m personally not a fan of indoor cardio equipment as I find it boring. If I’m planning on a cardio workout on a weekend, I will go to the gym when the footy is on the TV so I can watch it whilst I’m cycling, rowing, running, etc. I also try to ride my bike to the gym whenever I can as I’m only about 5km away. Group training is another way of improving your enjoyment. It’s also important to join a gym that you’re comfortable going to. Make sure you find a gym that has people with similar fitness goals to you. If you’re female and aren’t comfortable training with males, consider whether you want to join a female only gym.
Finding a gym that compliments your lifestyle and supports your fitness objectives can take a lot of effort. Fortunately, Suss Out Gyms provides all the tools you need to give you the best chance of success. Check out our guide on finding The Best Gym to discover what you need to consider when choosing the right gym for you. If you’re ready to start your search, enter your address or suburb in our search page and find all the gyms near you. It’s so easy to suss out the best gym for you!
Cheers and good luck!