Finding Joy in Going to the Gym
I have loathed going to the gym my entire adult life. I do not get that “high” that many people feel during and after a workout. My idea of fun physical activity is going to the art museum with friends, with a bit of shopping afterward, followed by a fun lunch! You can’t pay me enough to break a sweat, but I KNOW I need true physical activity to stay healthy.
According to Fitness for Weightloss the average gym member goes to the gym twice a week. In fact, around 12 percent of gym members sign up in January, and according to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, most people have quit or stopped going after 24 weeks.* No surprise there.
This year, I got a jump on that January “joining” rush by signing up with my gym in November. I’m hoping to begin building good habits both now and through the holiday season. Here’s what’s helping me stick to a routine. Some of these tips may seem quite obvious, but I have had to re-learn them over and over again!
The first two are what I call the “carrot” and the “stick” approach to motivate me to get out the door and head to the gym:
1. The Buddy System
The obvious “carrot” that I dangle in front of myself is making a date to meet friends. This way I’m held accountable and going to that group barbell lifting class is LOT more fun with a friend by my side. I deliberately joined a gym where my close friend goes almost daily, so I know someone will almost always there. I also joined one close to my house, so there are other moms and friends that make for a whole tribe of people to join in the fun! If you’re in Colorado, you could find a gym buddy at the We Are Women Rising Meetup.
The “stick” that I sometimes use to get myself mentally motivated to go to the gym is just to look at my parents’ and grandparents’ health history. I have Alzheimer’s, heart disease and osteoporosis in my family for starters. Research has shown that brain, cardiovascular and bone health can be improved with regular exercise. I want to be healthier and live longer than previous generations, so to the gym I go!
3. Do What You Love
Stick with what you really love to do. First, find a place with a killer pool or accessible tennis courts or great yoga instructors based on your favorite form of exercise. But I also encourage you to find a place that has variety, so you can change it up from time to time. This also allows for flexibility when making those work out dates with friends, too.
I have joined several yoga studios in the past only to find that I got bored after about three months of the same thing. I love my new gym because I have access to swimming, rock climbing, group classes and more, so I can learn new things.
4. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
I NEVER would have gone to a Zumba class at this stage of my life, but my friend convinced me to go one Sunday morning. Now I love it! The energy from the class, the instructor’s enthusiasm, the encouragement from friends and the music make it so much fun! I encourage you to do the same — try something new! This going-back-to-the-gym thing is better than I’d expected.
5. Make it Easy on Yourself
I have always made 1,000 excuses not to work out, but now I practice that 5-minute rule: Just do it! I keep a gym bag packed by the door at all times, so I can just pick up and go. I keep an extra pair of gym shoes in the car in the event I can’t make it home to get my bag. I now have my gym’s app on my phone, so I always have my electronic gym card handy and the group fitness schedule at my fingertips.
Finally, I joined a gym with a swanky café, so I often promise myself a healthy treat after a workout or group class to keep my motivation level up. Whatever it takes!
So, take it from someone who literally HATES to work out, getting back to the gym can be fun and rewarding! We aren’t getting any younger, but exercising with friends at the gym sure makes me feel younger. And it just may prolong my life, so I plan to stay the course.