A gym membership is a great way to give yourself access to high-quality fitness equipment, classes, and trainers. However, many people who have gym memberships do not use them regularly. If you are trying to motivate yourself to go to the gym more often, there are several strategies you can try, such as rewarding yourself, connecting with people at your gym, and keeping your gym bag somewhere convenient.
EditUsing Material Incentives to Stay Motivated
Purchase an audiobook that you commit to listen to only at the gym. Research has shown that only being able to listen to an audiobook while at the gym motivates people to go to the gym more often. Choose an audiobook that you are very interested in listening to so that this will actually motivate you.
If audiobooks aren’t your thing, then try making a list of movies you want to watch and only allow yourself to watch them while you are working out, such as while walking on the treadmill or using the elliptical machine.
You may also consider making a gym-only music playlist. Create a playlist of your favorite songs and commit to only listen to them during your gym workouts.
Another alternative to audiobooks is to find a podcast that you will only listen to at the gym. Choose upbeat tracks to help make your workout more fun.
Set up a reward system. Knowing that you have something that you are working towards may also help you to stay motivated to go to the gym. Take some time to establish rewards for going to the gym a certain number of times weekly and monthly.
For example, you could reward yourself with a new nail polish or movie rental for going to the gym 5 times in 1 week. You could also reward yourself with a pedicure or a trip to the movie theater for hitting the gym 20 times in a month.
Choose rewards that will motivate you and commit to give them to yourself only if you meet your gym visit goals.
Calculate the cost of not going to the gym. Gym memberships are not cheap, so not using your membership is a waste of money. If losing money motivates you, then take some time to calculate how much money you will be losing by not going to the gym or not going often enough.
For example, if your gym membership costs $60 per month, and you don’t go for a week, then you will be wasting $15. If you only go to the gym 2 times in a month, then it is like you are paying $30 per visit.
Pledge money that you will go to the gym or donate to charity. If the idea of losing a larger sum of money than you are spending on your gym membership sounds like it would motivate you, then try making a pledge that you will donate $100 dollars or more to charity if you don’t go to the gym a certain number of times in a month.
For example, you could pledge to go to the gym 20 times in one month or donate $100 to your local animal shelter.
Or, if you think you’d be motivated if the money went to a cause you do not support, then you could pledge to give the money to that cause if you don’t meet your goal.
EditMaking Gym Visits a Positive Experience
Think about your biggest motivation to go to the gym. You may want to get fit to look better in your clothes, to feel more confident, or to improve your health, but these reasons may not be specific enough to motivate you. Instead of focusing on general reasons, try to come up with something very specific and personal to motivate you to go to the gym.
For example, if you have a child, then your motivation might be something like, “I need to go to the gym regularly to be a good example to my son.” Or, you could go even further and say something like, “I want to walk my daughter down the aisle on her wedding day, so I am going to the gym today.”
You can also base your motivation on an upcoming special event. For example, you might say something like, “I want to look amazing at my 10 year high school reunion, so I need to go to the gym today.”
Set goals for yourself. Having a realistic fitness goal can be a great way to stay motivated to go to the gym regularly. Try setting a SMART goal that you can accomplish by going to the gym. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-based.
For example, your goal could be to reduce your 5k time by 2 minutes by the end of the next month. This is a specific goal that is measurable and achievable. It is also something that you will clearly know when you have accomplished it (results-focused) and it has a deadline, so it is also time-based.
You could work toward this goal by running a 5k course on the treadmill at your gym 3 times per week.
Participate in exercise routines and classes that you enjoy. Working out will always seem like an unpleasant chore if you force yourself to do activities that you do not enjoy. Instead, find an activity that you enjoy doing to help make visiting the gym something you look forward to.
Try different classes at your gym, such as spinning, step aerobics, kickboxing, and high intensity interval training (HIIT). If you don’t like one class, then take a different one. Showing up a little early for class can help you make friends and feel more invested in your workouts.
Use different machines, such as the treadmill, step machine, stationary bike, and elliptical walker.
If your gym has a circuit training station, try it out to see if you like it.
Get to know the trainers and regulars at your gym. Taking some time to chat with the trainers and regulars at your gym is a good way to make going to the gym a more pleasant experience. It will also help to keep you accountable because if you stop showing up, people will notice. Try saying “hi” to the trainers and regulars you encounter each time you visit the gym. After a few visits, you might want to introduce yourself to the trainers and regulars.
For example, if you encounter a regular or trainer on your way into the gym, say something like, “Hi! My name is Chris. I don’t really feel like being here today, but I am here! How are you doing today?”
You may also consider getting an accountability buddy. This can be someone you meet at the gym or a friend who also needs help sticking to their gym visits. Send each other texts throughout the week each time you go to the gym, or plan to meet the person at the gym a few times each week.
EditSetting Yourself Up to Go to the Gym
Get some comfortable workout clothes. Feeling good about the way you look may be an end goal of regular gym visits for you, but having some workout clothes that you like wearing now may help you achieve this goal. If you have been hitting the gym in old or uncomfortable clothes, buy yourself a few new items to wear to the gym.
For example, you could buy a new pair of leggings or shorts, a new workout t-shirt or tank top, and a comfortable new pair of running shoes.
Go to bed early to ensure that you will have enough energy to work out. Feeling tired is a major reason why some people skip the gym. To avoid feeling too tired to work out, force yourself to go to bed a little earlier than you normally do. Even getting an extra 30 minutes of sleep may make the difference between feeling run down and feeling energized when you head to the gym.
For example, if you normally go to bed at 11:00pm, try going to bed at 10:00 or 10:30pm.
Keep your gym bag packed and ready. Setting yourself up to head to the gym at a moment’s notice may be good motivation. You will have less of an excuse to skip the gym if you are totally prepared to go. Pack your gym bag and stow it somewhere handy at all times.
For example, if you like to go to the gym after work, then keep your gym bag in the trunk of your car or in your office at work. Make sure it is stocked with your workout clothes and shoes, a water bottle, a towel, and a snack.
If you want to hit the gym in the morning before you head to work, stow your gym bag right by your front door. Wear your gym clothes in the morning and stock your gym bag with a water bottle, toiletries, a towel, and a change of clothes for work.
EditSources and Citations
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