If there is one article you should read in the new year, its this one! We’ll give you 11 ways to motivate yourself to go to the gym.
Having trouble getting to the gym? Maybe you’ve set yourself some really good goals, but you just can’t seem to get out the door and onto the floor (sorry..just couldn’t help myself) ?
Well, we have a few tips for you. Tobias and I have figured out over the years what we need to do in order to get to the gym. We’ve also figured out that what works for one of us might not work at all for the other one. So here you also have to test and try what works for you.
We have also written a post about how to get started with working out and how to stay at it, check it out here.
So our tips to you are based on our shared experiences and knowledge and we hope they can help you get motivated to go to the gym.
Here are our 11 tips!
Table of Contents
1. Understand your willpower
A lot in this post is related to this, several ways to hack your way into and trick your brain or willpower if you will. Some people are ridiculously disciplined they just decide and go for it, I’m not! but I have trained my willpower and I am getting better by the minute.
Willpower is really important to understand, so stay with me. Your willpower is like a muscle. If you have used it a lot during the day, for example in restraining how much you eat, not eating candy, waking up early if you really want to sleep. All these things and more, actually everything you don’t want to do, sort of eats its way through your willpower and uses of that muscle. Since it’s a muscle, it will get tired, you follow?
So, when you get off work and should work out you have no willpower left, your willpower muscle is tired, maybe you were in some heated discussions at work or maybe someone brought cake? So you decide not to workout and rather do something you and your body enjoys. Not because your lazy but because you’ve used up all your willpower on other things, you simply are too tired to fight it.
However, I have a secret for you and a trick! Since willpower is like a muscle, it can be trained! And you can work with your willpower, try and understand it, and maybe even trick it.
For example, it will help if you make decisions early on, or even better in advance, your willpower and mind will accept that, because the decision is made and you therefore don’t have to concern yourself with it.
A lot of the tips and tricks in this post is about playing on the same team as your willpower, motivation, and brain. Hopefully, they will prove helpful to you
2. Get through the door
The hardest thing is to get through the door. It is summoning the nerve and the will to make the decision of getting out through your front door, to the gym and changing your life.
If you come home and you’ll start something else you will make up a ton of excuses for why you shouldn’t or can’t go to the gym. Don’t even try to sit down on the couch, it’ll get even worse! So, stop with the excuses, and certainly don’t sit down on your couch or lie down on your bed, we all know that’s a terrible idea!
Your focus when you have decided to go to the gym should be to get out that front door. It might sound silly, but it is so true that this struggle has its own name the “doorstep mile”. It’s because the hardest part is getting out the door and sometimes it can feel like a struggle. So, this is our first tip to you, get out through that door!
3. Pack your bag a day in advance
We have already been through the excuses part, the trick is to limit the number of excuses you can come up with and also to decide and commit as early as possible, then you’ve made the decision and must honor that.
Therefore we really recommend you to try and pack your gym bag the day or night before and put it out by the front door. When you wake up in the morning and are headed off to work, you see the gym bag, it’s already packed, so no excuses about not having time to pack it and no excuses that you forgot your workout gear and didn’t have the time to go home before heading to the gym. It’s there, bring it!
This brings us straight into the next tip.
4. Work out on your way home
If you know with yourself that if you go home you’ll end up on the couch then don’t do it. These habits can be really hard to break, so make sure you are realistic and honest with yourself. If you pack your gym bag and bring it, as suggested above you should head straight to the gym after work!
Some workplaces allow for working out during work hours, if your workplace does that we recommend you to try it! The brain focus best for the first 1-3 hours during the day, after that it needs a break. What is better than a really good workout? It does take some practice though to not be completely worn out from the workout. So remember to take it slow and steady and gradually work out harder, so that you’ll actually get some work done after your workout as well.
Creating a routine of packing your gym bag in the morning and working out on the way home worked really great for Tobias. This was the trick he used when he started working in order to make sure he got to the gym.
For me, it was the next trick that worked.
5. Put your workout clothes out on the bed
I never liked bringing workout stuff to work I bring soo much already ? I used to take the subway each day and it was so much stuff to bring, so for me bringing workout clothes was always hassle and stress oriented. Therefore, I put out my workout clothes either the day before or in the morning. I either put it on my bed or in the hallway. That way, when I got home the clothes were ready and I couldn’t avoid seeing the clothes and I had to act upon it.
The first thing I did when I got home was to put on the workout clothes, even if I was hungry and wanted to eat before working out I always put on the workout clothes first. The reason for this is that then you’ve made the decision, and there is no turning back. So you see, you make the first decision of working out when you are filled with motivation and willpower. You act upon it because of the previous action and you act upon it again because of a previous action. It’s all about making life easy and playing on the same team as your mind and body.
6. Know what to do
What really helps is knowing what to do. The best thing is maybe having a personal trainer that will tell you what to do, keep you committed and accountable to come to training and that will motivate you. But not everyone can afford that, and you can without a problem get into shape without a personal trainer (even though they might tell you otherwise?).
The important thing is knowing what to do. Planning your training by using a program or joining a class can be a good idea. There are lots of programs online, but do yourself a small favor and do some research before you commit to a program. Make sure the person who wrote the program has some actual programming experience and knowledge of the training type you are undertaking. It’s also important that you choose a program at the right level for you, the right number of workouts during the week and the right amount of complexity in the workouts. Joining a class or CrossFit box can be super fun and you can become a part of a great community.
Having a plan will also do great things for efficiency and intensity during the workouts. If you don’t know what to do its easy to just end up wandering about looking at all the stuff not even knowing where to start. In addition, it will mentally prepare you for the workout, you know what to expect and what you need to execute on. For example, for me, it is very helpful to know if my programming has a lot of cardio and if it has burpees or not. Burpees make me super nauseous, so I know I can’t eat too much or too close to the workout, if I do, I will feel really unwell.
7. Have someone to hold you accountable
Having someone to hold you accountable can be what makes or breaks your workout routine. In the beginning, when I worked out at a gym I didn’t like the idea of working out with someone. I wanted to listen to music and just be on my own. Now I like both, I like being a member of a community (my CrossFit box) and people notice if I haven’t been there for some time. I feel accountable not to only show up but also eat healthy, I want to perform well and be the best version of myself. PLUS I want to win that workout!! ?
Tobias and I also hold each other accountable, I always feel bad if I’m not working out when I said I should and I feel like I need a really good excuse. And the “I’m tired excuse” just doesn’t do it in this house ?That being said, Tobias is the first person to notice if I have trained too much and need a rest day.
Tobias has some great workout buddies at work. They have set days the workout, Tobias makes a program so they know what to do in advance. They keep each other accountable not only with regard to working out but also with regard to food and meals.
So, having someone, a friend, a community, a partner or community that holds you accountable, but at the same time ensures that you make the right decisions can be very helpful and motivating.
8. Mix it up and make it more fun
Working out should be fun! Not all workouts will be all smiles, but it should have some degree of joy in them, if not during the workout then at least after or before, try not to be so serious.
This is why I love CrossFit, skiing and single track riding. I love throwing weights around, hanging in bars and rings and tearing heavy things off the ground ? But I also love to be in the mountains or in the forest riding my bike through rocks, trees, and steep hills. I can’t think of anything more fun than dragging a sled or carrying a yolk, unless I can carry more, pull more or lift more than the guys at my box or Tobias ? That is so much fun! another thing I have learned to love is gymnastics, I can awake my inner child and practice walking on my hands or swinging in the rings.
Everyone should find the things they like, and if you like more than one thing, great! Do them all!! Who said you could only do one thing? The most important thing is to try new things and play around. Your body will become more agile and handle unforeseen things better. Remember, you can’t be a grown-up until you find your inner child.
9. Be mindful
Be mindful of your habits, what you like and don’t like. If there is something you don’t like, stop doing it and let it go. If there is something you do like, do it more.
Try to think about how things impact you, does it make you happier, more relaxed, more stressed?
If you are stressed before a workout try to figure out why, then try to change those aspects that make you stressed. If you think your sleep has improved, try to reflect upon why. Is it because you’re more tired when you go to bed? Is it because you’ve changed your eating routine? Is it because you have more structure?
Being mindful about why and the root cause of your emotions and behaviors will in both the long and short-run not only improve your workout routine but also your quality of life.
Make working out and getting to the gym into a habit. For example, I always work out on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays during the weekday. This is my habit. I plan around it because this ensures I get energy, this schedule works well for me, and I know its coming, so it’s easy to plan around.
I’ve also changed my habit of putting my clothes in the bed to always bring my workout clothes to work with me and workout on the way home. This works better for me know because I bike to work and we have moved, so I bike past the CrossFit box on the way home. So make sure to review your habits once in a while and see if you can improve them ?
I’ve also made a habit to check my programming the night before and pack my gym bag accordingly. That way I mentally prepare for the workout and I put out clothes I know I will feel good in during the workout. For example, do I need a belt, lifting shoes, grips, an extra comfortable tights that don’t slide down in case we’re doing box jumps and burpees?
By making your workout routine into a habit it’s not something you have to use willpower on deciding to do. It’s just something you do because you are used to doing it and it makes you feel good. It will require some stamina to get there, but once you have it will do wonders!
11. Realistic and honest
Be realistic and honest with yourself, how often will you be able to go to the gym? Is the gym far away? Do you work shifts? Do you have children that must be picked up from kindergarten or school? What are the gyms opening hours compared to your working hours and so forth. Make sure your ambitions are realistic and fit your schedule and life.
Also, if you’ve never worked out before, or its years since last time, you probably shouldn’t have an ambition to workout 5 days a week. I don’t doubt that you’d be able to do it if you committed, but it takes time for your body to adapt as well. In the beginning it will feel like an energy drain, and working out 5 times a week will wear you out and you won’t get the results you are craving. Be smart about it. Be realistic and honest with yourself. How much have you worked out before, and how much do you think you’ll be able to handle, both physically and mentally.
So, on that note, I wish you all the best of luck and I really hope these tricks will help you get to the gym ASAP! ?
*Featured image credit: Photo by George Pagan III on Unsplash
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