Mindset: the hardest part about working out at the gym is…
The hardest part about working out at the gym is … getting to the gym. Once there, you’ll do a workout.
So focus your motivation on getting there a few times a week. Build it into your schedule and routine. Everything is about getting there.
Pack your kit in a bag the night before. Put it by the front door. Arrange to meet a friend there. Or sign up for a class (I just did a pilates class because I want to increase my flexibility and range of mobility as I age… it was eye-opening how inflexible I was and how the program is increasing my flexibility). Using external accountabilities like friends or classes means you’re more likely to go.
Some gyms aren’t expensive
Mine is $2.50 (SGD) a visit. No membership fees. That’s because it’s a government-run sports complex. Find local community centre gyms, or a friend who has a home gym. Perfect.
Don’t buy your own home gym until you already have a habit of working out. Else you risk it all becoming an expensive clothes rack or door stopper or storeroom clutterer. Form the habit first. Get the equipment later if ever.
At home I have a bike desk, a kettle bell and a dumbell. That’s it. You don’t even need any of them.
Discipline once you’re at the gym…
You might have to push yourself to do a few more reps than you’d prefer.
You night want to ask someone about the correct form in a particular machine and if they think you’re doing it right. No need to hire someone, just ask the staff.
You also might have to stop yourself from working out for hours when you first start back at the gym. Otherwise you could feel so sore for the next few days that you could lose your gym-going momentum. Or you could talk yourself out of going because the sessions are too long.
My strategy is to give myself permission to do a 20-minute strength workout when I’m there. If I have more time I can stay longer, but knowing that it might only be 20 minutes removes the “don’t have time” argument.
Also I mentioned I only do strength workouts at the gym. That’s using weights and resistance machines, not treadmills and cardio machines. That’s because I walk to and from the gym. That’s my warm up and warm down.
Insert forced walking into your schedule
I also find a way to walk daily. Usually I’ll drop my daughter to school in the morning. We take the bus together. Then I walk home or to the gym and then home.
If you work in an office get changed there. Find a place to hang a suit and get changed there. Or have a backpack with your work gear in it.
Or simply do it on the way home. Park a couple of kilometres away from the gym or the movie theatre, or the grocery store, and walk there and back. Doing curls with your groceries.
There are a bunch of things you can do. Develop options, decide, do.
What do you want more?
First decide the result you want more than the comfort of the next 2-30 minutes.
Discipline is choosing what you want most over what you want right now.
If you want to lose fat, or tone up, or increase mobility and flexibility, then that’s the goal. Know your goal. Make it more important to you than the comfort of the next 2 to 30 minutes.
In two minutes you can eat a pack of chips, drink a can of sugar, suck on a burning leaf, … or… choose what you want more than that. Then go drink a glass of water or eat a carrot or do 10 squats or distract yourself doing something more worthwhile.
In 30 minutes you can sit in a chair and read a thing or play a thing or watch a thing… or … do a quick workout. The workout helps you do what you want more: to reach your goal.
What do I want more than this? The better body, the healthier feeling, the sense of victory, the increase in self-esteem, the pride of doing what you’ve always meant to do, the donation of fat, the release of an addiction, … the even better version of you.
Less of X, more of Y.
And just get yourself to the gym.