I may not be a gym bunny (and will likely never be one), but I have started to not totally hate the gym. Let’s just say we’re now acquaintances rather than straight up enemies.
I’ve been going to our local gym for a few months now, aiming for twice a week and *most* of the time achieving that. I recently tried to trick myself into going three times a week – but turns out I ain’t about that life.
Going to the gym is never going to be fun, and there will always be things to hate about going such as all the incredibly fit people around you hogging the machines or the people who jump the queue for water because they are running late for their yoga class.
But there are a few ways to bring some of the joy back to going to the gym – so here’s the things that I remind myself of when dragging myself out of bed at 6am to make it in time to get to a treadmill.
Monitoring your progress
I don’t usually stick to things unless I start to see progress – and I usually like to see it relatively quickly. The good news is, I did start to see some progress early on as I was able to jog or run on the treadmill for longer the more I did it. Who knew that’s how progress worked, eh?!
When I first joined the gym, I decided to do intervals on the treadmill of a few minutes walking, then a few minutes jogging or running. Now, I can jog or run for 10-15 minutes depending on how awake I am, with just a minute or two’s walking in between. That might sound pathetic to regular gym goers, but I see it as positive progress that I can keep building on.
Go at your our pace
I’ve made the mistake in the past of trying to push myself too hard and burning out too soon. You’ll achieve more by going at your own pace, and gradually building up to pushing yourself.
You want to come out of a work out sweating profusely, but you don’t want that after your first 10 minutes! I usually aim for a 45 minute workout so I’ll start slow, then work up to that feeling of omg how did my hair get so wet and are my arms/legs on fire?
Knowing when to push yourself that bit harder becomes easier the more you go to the gym – just don’t rush it.
Ignore the gym bros
We all know who they are – they’re the ones working out in groups and trying to prove which one has the biggest dick. They mostly hang out by the free weights and barbells, hogging them up when you want to do some weight training to break up your cardio sesh. Don’t let them get in your way – and remember that even the gym staff don’t like them, either.
Their life is the gym, and that’s pretty sad tbh.
Try new equipment
I used to only gravitate towards the treadmill and rowing machines. Yes, they are still the majority of my workout routine but I also now use a seated leg curl, Pec deck machine and leg press (amongst others but I have no idea what they’re called!).
It’s always worth giving another machine a go, even if ultimately you decide it’s not for you. Just remember to get someone to help if you’re unsure on how to use it! I initially thought the seated leg curl wasn’t for me, but once it was adjusted properly to my ridiculously small height, it felt more comfortable and like it was doing what it was supposed to.
Buy new gear!
There’s something very satisfying about getting new gym gear – maybe the combination of YAY NEW CLOTHES with YAY MOTIVATION. I’m forever buying new gym clothes and it does make me feel better for it. Maybe that’s materialistic but idgaf if it helps me get fitter!