WASHINGTON—Spring is around the corner and there is no better time to jumpstart your fitness routine. If you’re stuck with a yearlong membership at the gym and can’t find the motivation to go, following are a few tips that may help get you through the door.
As with any health or workout regimen, consult with a doctor and make sure to tailor your routine to your fitness level and goals. This is not professional advice, just tips my friends and I use.
1. The 15-minute trick
When the excuses begin to pile up, tell yourself all you have put in at the gym is 15 minutes. It usually takes 15 minutes to get into a workout or routine. Promise yourself that if after 15 minutes you still don’t feel like working out, you’ll go back home and not punish yourself about it. Chances are, once you’re at the gym and have worked out for 15 minutes, you’ll stay to finish your workout.
2. Go on Monday
This is another psychological trick. If you go on Monday, you start the week out right and set the precedent for the days to follow. If you have a goal of a certain amount of days per week you want to go to the gym, then – boom! you’re already closer to your weekly goal and more likely to continue going for the rest of the week.
3. Reward yourself
Creating a reward system when you hit certain health goals can keep you motivated. Make sure that you set small, attainable goals, and that your rewards are something that you really enjoy. No, don’t get an apple fritter when you lose five pounds, get a manicure or massage instead. Ok, if you want that donut, treat yourself, just don’t do it all the time. I met a personal trainer once that taught me a reward system that I still follow. If I work out five days of the week, I allow myself a Sunday “cheat day,” when I eat anything I want for one meal and nothing is off limits.
4. Buy something fabulous in the size you want to be
Really committed to take the pounds off? Buy a fabulous piece of clothing in the size you want to be and hang it near your mirror. Every time you feel like skipping the gym, look at yourself in the mirror and look at the item you’d like to fit into. Try it on, even.
5. Work out with a friend
Friends can be great motivators for working out. Grab a friend and set goals together, maybe commit to going to a weekly fitness class together. Another good idea is to get a trainer with a friend or group of friends. Trainers will usually lower their per-person fee if you are part of a group, and it can be a great way to catch up if you and your friends have busy schedules.
6. Allow for trash
Do you have a guilty-pleasure book or magazine that you just won’t allow yourself to read? The gym is the perfect place. Indulge in the trashy magazine or novel while working out. A Kindle or other e-reader is perfect for the gym since you can increase the font size, perfect for the treadmill.
7. Dress the part
When you are really not motivated, try taking it one step at a time by putting on your gym outfit. That takes you one step closer to getting to the gym and eliminates the “but I have to change my clothes,” excuse. Looking the part is sometimes enough motivation to get you out the door.
8. Put some money on the line
For some people, money is the ultimate motivation, so put your money where your mouth is. Want to lose weight? Exercise more? Prove it on Stickk, where you commit to a certain goal, and then put your money up to prove it. The website takes your credit card information and charges your card when you fail to meet your goal.
9. Keep a gym bag packed
It helps to always be prepared to go to the gym. If you have a gym bag packed in the trunk of your car or at your office, you can take advantage of unexpected breaks in your schedule. It also eliminates another obstacle to going to the gym.
10. Put an old thin picture and a recent picture together
Have an old picture of how great you used to look? If you don’t, use a snapshot of your favorite celebrity. Now, do you have a recent picture of yourself? Put them together by your bathroom mirror or by your desk, where you can see it every day. Look at them when you decide to skip the gym.