Written by: Shawn Eisenbach, Fitness Director, O2 Fitness Chatham
Studies have shown that people generally feel better once they get to the gym and workout. Getting motivated to head to the gym requires more than that basic knowledge and a cup of coffee. Getting there is the hardest part especially after a long days work or on an early morning where you just didn’t get quite enough sleep. Motivation is one of the most common factors that keep people from getting into a gym and from achieving their goals. This is a battle that can be won mentally and physically!
6 Steps to Help You Reach Your Fitness Goals
- Set realistic fitness goals. The most important thing to do when starting out it to set obtainable goals. Be realistic with yourself, make a goal to start going to the gym a couple days per week rather than saying you’ll go 5-7 days. This will give you time to ease into it. It is easy to tell yourself that you will get up and go every morning. It’s important when first starting out that you leave room for days that you just can't make it so that you don't get discouraged and quit altogether.
- Start with what you like. Once you have made it into the gym, start out with something you like doing. You are more than likely to stick with something you enjoy rather than something you hate. If you find the cardiovascular equipment boring, then opt for some of our O2 Fitness group fitness classes. By finding and doing the things you enjoy in the gym, those things will be an added incentive to continue on your path to consistency and success.
- Use the car analogy. Think of your body as a car…you will only get as far as the amount of gas you put in your car. Our gas is our fluids and the foods that we consume throughout the day. Stay hydrated throughout the day and be sure to eat well-balanced meals. Fatigue comes with dehydration and poor nutrition consumption. Make sure to drink at least eight ounces of water per day and eat all your meals with healthy snacks in between. This will help fight off dehydration and decreasing fatigue. To get motivated to go to the gym you need to be alert and well rested.
- Track your progress. It is a proven fact that those who track their progress in the gym succeed in achieving their goals. I suggest keeping a log of your gym attendance to help you stay on track. To get yourself motivated to go to the gym, try putting stars or stickers on the days that you work out on a calendar. This way you can look at the calendar and see your progress or see that you need to pick up the pace.
- Reward yourself. For every week that you hit your goal, have a meal or snack that you like. Be sure though that it fits into you caloric goals (if you’ve set one). Rewards can be in any form, a movie, the spa or buy a new outfit or purse. Do something small and something you enjoy, this will get and keep you motivated to go to the gym.
- Get Help. Use the buddy system. Recruit friends or family members to hit the gym with you. You can get each other motivated to go to the gym by having someone to help and this can be the key to success. Be sure that your will power is strong enough to not let their excuses be yours. If they can't make it on a planned day, go alone. If you feel friends and family have their own motivational issues, the best way to go it to invest in a personal trainer. This serves many great factors. Not only are you investing in your health further but, you are booking some else’s time for that portion of the day. No one likes to break appointments and commitments or let alone stand someone up (especially when you have paid for it already!) That alone is motivation to get to the gym. Also, by hiring a personal trainer you will become more consistent and more serious about what you are trying to achieve once you start to see the results you have longed for. Most importantly, you will enjoy it!