Getting to the Gym

by - 2:41 PM

It's the middle of a very cold winter (for most of us). It's still dark when we wake up, and dark when we leave the office - curling up under a warm blanket on the couch sounds so much more appetizing than going to the gym most days.

When a glass of wine and takeout sushi after a long day of work sounds better than hitting up a spin class or hopping on a treadmill, here are five things I've done to keep myself motivated to work out.

Five Tips for Getting to the Gym

1. Break your workout routine into simple steps. Getting to the gym is entirely a mental exercise, after all. Next time you realllly don't want to go to the gym, try this: challenge yourself just to go to the locker room and put on your clothes. If you still don't want to work out after that, you can leave.

If you decided you've come too far to go home, challenge yourself to work out for 15 minutes. When 15 is up, add another 10 (you're already sweaty anyways). Continue adding until you feel satisfied and happy with your workout. Now, don't you feel better?

2. Be realistic about how many days you can work out. One of the biggest mistakes people make is stating an unrealistic goal like, "I'm going to go to the gym five days a week." While that sounds awesome, ask yourself, is it realistic with your work and social schedule? If you only get 3 or 4 workouts in that week, will you feel like a failure?

I find it helps to create a calendar for my workouts for the week ahead. I can look in my Google Calendar and see upcoming plans with friends, possible work conflicts and plan out a reasonable schedule for the week. I color code my gym days in a happy color, and create re-occurring appointments no more than 4 weeks out if there is a class or instructor I like to go to.

3. Motivate yourself with rewards. After an insane and challenging hot yoga class, I like to treat myself with my favorite takeout sushi or pick up Homemade Pizza Co. I'll order it before I leave work or on my way home from class, creating a nice routine for myself.

Find your motivation - is it a post-workout smoothie from your gym? A new workout top? Or maybe it's just looking forward to going home after your workout and catching up on your DVR. Whatever your reward, don't let yourself collect unless you've actually accomplished your workout that day.

4. Sign up for a class you can't cancel. For those who have true gym commitment phobia, sign up in advance for a yoga, spin, pilates, barre or Crossfit class. Most classes cannot be cancelled less than 24 hours in advance or you will be charged the full amount. Throwing away $15, $20 or $30 should be motivation enough to go.

Look at your schedule in the beginning of the week and figure out which classes you want to go to, and sign up then. No excuses!

5. Figure out your workout MO. I can't work out at home. It just doesn't speak to me - I need a class environment energy to feed off of (with the exception of running). I can count on my hand the number of times I have tried to do a home pilates mat or yoga class.


However, several of my friends swear by their Tracy Anderson at home workouts and do them diligently! As long as your are realistic with yourself, do the workout that serves you best.

Tip for going for that run when you don't feel like it? Run for 20 minutes or go on a long walk. It's only 20 minutes out of your day - I promise you will feel better after you get done!

Times you should not go to the gym:

1. You are injured. If the injury is minor, you can try something like cross-training (swimming or biking for runners is great!). If you pulled a muscle or did anything major, don't push it. Give yourself a few days off.
2. You are sick. If you have a serious cold of flu, please don't go to the gym and sweat it out. You will just risk infecting other healthy people. If you just have a headache, doing a low-impact activity like pilates or yoga can be great mentally and physically for you.
3. You are in the middle of a juice cleanse or are super dehydrated. If you are doing any sort of liquid cleanse, take it easy on your workouts. Cleanses deplete your body of serious nutrients and electrolytes, and any work out should be as minimal or low impact as possible. If you wake up hungover (read: super dehydrated) drink at least 1 liter of water before trying to sweat out the bad stuff.

I hope this helps your gym motivation and remember...



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