Joining the gym is a great way to get in shape, take time out for yourself, and can help you become more active in your community. The local gym is an excellent place to go to work out solo, meet up with friends, or try out new group fitness classes like Zumba or Pilates. A lot of gyms are accessible 24 hours a day now, so if you work nights or have a tight schedule and cannot make normal business hours, there are plenty of options out there for you as well! Whether you are looking for a sense of community, to begin a weight-loss transformation, or take on bodybuilding, the gym has all the tools and resources you’ll need to start your journey. If you’re a beginner just starting out or a professional competitor, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your membership by attending regularly, but what is the easiest way to make that happen? Below are 5 simple, yet effective tips on how to succeed at the gym:
1. Prepay for your membership. If you buy an annual or semi-annual membership from day one, you are more likely to show up. When you’re financially committed to your fitness endeavors they become more of a priority, and there is more at stake if you feel the urge to throw in the towel too soon. Most memberships are on a month-to-month basis with the option to cancel, so you may be more likely to hit the pause button or cancel altogether if there is no risk of a monetary penalty. An added bonus of joining annually is that you will likely save money for paying up front. Most gyms offer deals where if you buy 12 months, you’ll receive an additional 3 months free, for example, which is an added incentive to commit. We all love getting things for free so this may be the better option for your budget.
2. Get a personal trainer. I am not saying this because, ya know, I am one, but rather because new gym members are typically more successful at the gym when they begin with a trainer. If there is a deal or discount when you sign up to add personal training to your membership, I highly recommend you do so. Having a trainer will keep you accountable, she/he will offer you safe and effective workouts tailored to your needs to help prevent injury, and will help you become more confident with exercises and equipment so you can have long lasting results. Depending on the gym you choose, some trainers will also provide nutrition coaching and are happy to provide assessments (body measurements, weight, body fat percentage, etc.) for you at no additional charge. It’s incredibly motivating having someone in your corner to help keep you on track! And a great trainer will make sure you’re reaching your goals.
3. Join with a partner or friend. I don’t know about you, but I love working out with my squad! It’s more energizing and fun to meet up with my ladies at the gym, and it gives us a chance to catch up, groove, and try new workouts together. Plus, it allows us the chance to meet in a space where the overall focus is on self-care and self-love — which is pretty kickass if you ask me. If you are married or partnered up, joining with your S.O. is a great way for the two of you to do something fun and engaging together as a couple. What’s the saying: couples who play together stay together. Hands down, totally agree with that one! It’s fun to get hot and sweaty with your main squeeze. You’ll both end up leaving the gym feeling jazzed from the effects of all those endorphin’s running through your brain which can only lead to a healthier and happier union. 🙂
4. Show up! I realize this is a very obvious tip, but if you’re not creating a schedule and planning out when you will make it to the gym to workout, you are not going to be consistent and will likely skip out altogether as a result. We all get busy, and yes I know things come up. Life is always going to happen regardless of how organized we are. However, it is up to you (and only you) to hold yourself accountable and to set aside blocks of time to care for yourself. Maybe you are not after a leaner body, and you’re joining for different reasons like increasing mobility or to simply maintain your current lifestyle. Okay, I get that and it’s all good. Whatever your reasons for joining may be — be sure you make yourself a priority and show up. What have you got to lose by making your health a priority?
5. Leave your gym clothes in your car or carry them in a bag with you if you walk, bus, or take a subway. I cannot tell you how many times clients have missed sessions because they were unprepared or forgot their sneakers at home, for instance. If you leave a gym bag in your car at all times, you won’t have an excuse to not make it to the gym. Depending on the time of day you plan to go and whether or not you go on days off, put your gym clothes on when you get ready in the morning before leaving the house. I find this act helpful in motivating me to get my butt in gear! If I’m already in my workout clothes, the better the odds are that I’m gonna hit the gym or get a session in as soon as my day clears.
I hope you find these tips useful and applicable to your own situation. Remember that everyone was once new at the gym and don’t let others around you (in the gym and elsewhere) distract you from your goals. Simply stay focused on yourself and your mission, and you’ll do great!