I`m back at the gym, since Christmas. I had to. I can trace the start of my slow and gradual weight gain to the day I cancelled my membership in November 2015 – I was just not using it enough. Eventually, I however could no longer ignore how out of shape I had become and decided to invite fitness back into my life.
At first, I bought 10-visits passes from my old gym (, at £40.oo, those were cheaper than the monthly fee), but, believe it or not, this gym announced its closure just as I was starting to lag again, so I had to find myself another one. I found one that I really like and can afford, and the first two things that made me go again were the novelty factor and the fact that I had a membership again, which I paid regardless of how often I went. (In the previous place, I could kidd myself every time I didn`t go, I was saving myself £4.oo.)
It`s only been three weeks, and I`m in a routine I am pleased with, and am slowly getting back into “the zone”.
Still, on days like this, it`s hard. I was home alone (so noone would notice if I didn`t go), I had been out running last night, and the night before, and the night before that I had been for a really long walk. My knees actually hurt from all that running, so I deserved a day off. Yeah, but I need a day off on Tuesday as well, as I won`t have time, and I also know how difficult it is to get myself back in once I slipped out of the routine I agreed with myself. This was always a huge thing for me: I would agree with myself on which days I should go, and as soon as I didn`t, I was “off the waggon”, and getting back on was difficult. I still haven`t quite figured out why this is, but I know a lot of people struggle with similar things, so I thought I`d collect a list of motivators which help me exercise when I really don`t feel like it:
- My gym membership gets paid regardless of how often I go. Cost per visit goes down every time I go.
- I chose a gym which is convenient to reach from home and from work. I no longer have to go past my own house if I go from work, which has often proved too tempting. I have also forfeited a cheaper one, which was further away from both – it wouldn`t have been good value for money, as I simply know I wouldn`t have used it that much.
- I tell myself I don`t need to do much today. I have two “relax workouts”, which is either only 30 minutes cardio or 30 minutes strength training. But as soon as I walk through the door, I want to exercise.
- Remind yourself how hard it is to get yourself back on track if you skip again.
- Also, your fitness will be diminishing. You`ve come far – you don`t want to start from scratch just because you couldn`t be bothered.
- Getting back after holidays can be particularly hard. Try to do some exercise during your holidays. Long walks count. We often do this without thinking about it when we explore new places. Have a look at your step counter at night – you`ll be suprised!!
- Have a good playlist. Eventualy, you will associate this with exercising.
- I subscribed to a few podcasts, which I only listen to while I exercise. I regularly exercise for longer than I meant to, just to listen to my podcast to the end.
- After the gym, I reward myself with a sauna and favourite body lotion – I never use either without working out first.
- Vary your workout – keep the novelty factor going!
- Make a conscious decision in the morning. Many suggest calendar appointments (which don`t work for me), but if I make a conscious decision when I wake up that I will exercise after work, and what exactly I`ll do, then the anticipation will be with me all day, just as if it was a coffee with a friend or going to the supermarket, and it would feel wrong not going. I expect it.
- If you can (weekend!) put on your workout clothes in the morning, and do not take them off until you have done your exercising. In fact, don`t even have a shower yet.
- I find my fitness tracker incredibly movitating and easy to use, but if you don`t want to spend money – there is a huge choice of step counters or more detailed fitness apps which you an download on your smartphone.
- Think of what you want to achieve – running a 5K or getting your arms more toned for summer? With every workout, you are getting closer to your goal. If you train regularly, you can soon step it up and see results even quicker.
- Think about what motivates you to exercise at all. This can be as mundane as “to annoy my neighbour by getting slim without those silly shakes she`s constantly pushing on me”. Whatever gets you going.
- I look at other women at the gym, the ones who look good and work hard, and I believe that hard work pays off. Don`t look at fitness pictures online, though – those women are usually professionals and heavily photoshopped. But what I see around me is real.
- One of my friend says “I exercise, so I can drink.” You can make this your own: I exercise, so I can go out for pizza on Saturday. I exercise because I won`t let that piece of birthday cake I had in the office today sabotage me.
- Exercise leads to an overall healthier lifestyle for me. Just as not exercising spreads into other areas of my life. Honestly, I see a relationship between my exercising and drinking.
- Get a buddy or book into a class.
- Reward yourself at the end of a good week: Decide on Monday what a good week is and what you will reward yourself with, and then on Sunday… And yes, chocolate counts…
To be continued…