New Year’s often means people sign up for a gym membership with high hopes to get fit but usually by mid-February our motivation wanes and we stop going as regularly. Here are some tips to help keep you motivated throughout 2017.
Many of us have been there; the resolution that this year is the year that we are going to start the year with a plus and get fit. We joined the gym on January 1st (ok, probably the 2nd or the 3rd to be honest) but after four weeks of religiously going, it loses its shine and we slip back into our old habits.
This year, we want to help you reach your active goals so here are 10 tips to help keep you motivated and moving.
1. Clear goals
Just like you wouldn’t leave the house without a destination in mind, know why you’re going to the gym. Maybe you want to be fit for that holiday, or your wedding, or maybe you’ve signed up for a fun run or walk, but having a “why” can be a good first step to fitness says founder and managing director of Vision Personal Training, Andrew Simmons.
“Goals give you motivation to exercise even when you don’t want to, you will make less excuses. He, or she, who has a big enough ‘why’ to live for will get over almost any ‘how’. If you want it bad enough, you will make time,” says Simmons.
2. Get accountable
Signing up with a personal trainer
means that someone is waiting for you at your session, and they are monitoring your progress.
“The number one reason why someone needs a personal trainer is for accountability,” says Simmons. “There’s also a point in time where people don’t know what to do. There is so much conflicting information out there about how people can achieve their goals, often people get confused. The use of an appropriately qualified trainer can help you reach goals.”
Most gyms offer a free personal training session - make the most of that.
Lo3. Make a habit
You may need to push yourself to create a new habit around your exercise goals, but the good news is that a good habit can be as easy to form as a bad one. The secret is consistency.
Don’t set your expectations too high when you begin – in one study, it took approximately 66 days, on average, for a new habit to form; but the range was 18 to 254 days (depending on the person and the activity)! Make a plan to go to the gym a certain amount of times per week and stick to it until it becomes part of your weekly routine.
4. Mix it up
Boredom can be the death of fun so whatever you do, don’t get bored at the gym. Mix it up by doing some weights sessions with your cardio, or take a few classes to ensure that you don’t get in an exercise rut. Join a walking or running group one-day a week so you get some al fresco stimulation too.
5. Experiment with classes
There is a class for almost everyone these days. Most gyms offer weight classes (pump), boxing and spin (cycle class), but if you want a little less impact there are often yoga and Pilates classes on offer too. Try them all and see which one excites you.
“Not everyone will enjoy group fitness but there is a certain social aspect that comes with it that is very appealing to many people,” says Simmons.
6. Location, location, location
Ensure the gym you have chosen is accessible and convenient for you so you can’t use “it’s too far to go” as an excuse.
“You need to decide if something closer to home is best for you, or something closer to work,” says Simmons.
“You want your training to fit into your busy lifestyle so you don’t want to be going to a gym where you’re stuck in traffic for hours, or you can’t find a parking space,” says Simmons.
7. Measure up
Why not keep a little journal to help you map your progress, and although writing down your weight and measurements can be one indicator, another could be assessing how far you can walk, run or cycle in a 10, 20 or even 30-minute workout.
When you start, you may not be able to run at all, but as you gain fitness you may be able to walk for two minutes and run for two minutes. Keeping a journal can show you that you’re getting fitter and stronger so even if the scales don’t tell the story you want, you can know when your hard work is still paying off.
8. Grab a buddy
9. Know your rhythm
Some people prefer to get up and train first thing in the morning, while others prefer to do it at the end of the day. Finding the right time for you and understanding the rhythm of your body can help give you a better chance of finding the drive when the time comes.
“I find getting up early and getting it done works for me. Getting my workout in before anything can distract me. Everyone’s circadian rhythms are different though so find out what works for you and stick to it,” says Simmons.
10. Don’t get disheartened
“It takes a long time for you to get unfit or put on that weight so it’s about making realistic lifestyle changes,” says Simmons.
“Making subtle changes over time so it becomes a habit is key. We see huge losses in weight loss challenges but I’m more interested in seeing people’s lives in six months. That’s the key for me, it’s about ongoing goal setting and accountability.”