Struggling to make exercise a part of your regular routine?
You might be overthinking it. Try these simple tips and see what happens!
If you’ve just started going to the gym/working out or you’re thinking about doing so, it can be hard to fathom how on earth people consistently do it three, four, five times a week, every week, for the majority of the year. You might even think – they’re so dedicated! I must just be lazy, I probably shouldn’t even bother.
That’s absolutely not the case – everyone starts somewhere, and no one has it all figured out right at the start. Here are some top tips for you if you’re trying to figure out how to make it work for you and your lifestyle.
Start off small
Don’t try and go balls to the wall right away. If you suddenly try and cram six gym sessions a week into your life, it’s just not going to happen. You’ll end up missing out on social events, sleep, family time… and all that will happen is you’ll resent the gym. You won’t enjoy it, you’ll dread it, you’ll be exhausted so all your sessions will feel like shit… and then what will happen? The same thing that always happens – you’ll ‘fall off the bandwagon’ and give up completely.
Start off small. Go to the gym twice a week for half an hour. Then three times a week. Then increase those sessions to 45 minutes. Add in another session if you want to. If you enjoy what you’re doing, you’ll get the bug and you’ll want to train more. You’ll realise that you could be lifting when you’d usually be watching Netflix and actually, you prefer your training. You’ll look forward to your next session and be well rested and motivated. There’s no shame in starting off small, especially if it means you’re actually going to stick with it.
Set a consistent routine
The first thing I’m going to say about this point is that I know it doesn’t work for everyone. If you work shifts for example, it’s going to be a lot harder to plan to go to the gym at the same times every week. And that’s okay – it needs to work for you, so just try your best to fit it in as and when you can.
However for the rest of you who are working regular hours with pretty consistent lives, the best way to make sure exercising becomes a habit is to schedule it into your routine. For example, find three mornings a week when you’re able to go to the gym – put it in your calendar if you need to. Put your gym clothes out the night before. Set a regular alarm for those three mornings. Once you’re doing this consistently it will become just another normal part of your routine, and you won’t even have to think about it. It would probably feel more weird if you didn’t go!
Find something you enjoy
This is one that people overlook and it’s one of the most important factors of success, in my opinion. If you find a type of exercise that you enjoy, you’ll want to do it – it’s hardly ground-breaking, but people seem to insist on forcing themselves to do things they hate in the name of hashtag health and fitness.
Go to a class that you love because it’s fun and the instructor is hilarious. Take up running if it helps you clear you mind. Lift weights if you find the feeling of getting stronger empowering. It doesn’t really matter what you do – doing exercise you love has got to be far better than doing no exercise at all, surely?
Train with a friend
Not one I can relate to as I’m well known for being a complete loner in the gym, but I have it on good authority that this works for other people!
Training with a friend can add a social element to your training, if this is something you need. It can add some friendly competition, if this is the kind of thing that motivates you. Maybe you’ll be less likely to skip a session if you know someone is counting on you to join them. You can check each other’s form, spot each other (in non-covid times, maybe…), and give each other encouragement.
Be kind to yourself
If you’re just starting your fitness journey, don’t expect everything to be 100% perfect straight away. Maybe you want to lift weights and get strong, but you’re intimidated by the weights section and can only bring yourself to use the hip abduction machine, because it’s in the corner. Maybe you intended to go to the gym this morning, but you slept through your alarm. Maybe you meant to train for an hour but you could only manage 20 minutes.
That’s okay! Change takes time, forming a habit takes time. The only thing you can do wrong is give up entirely.
If you need a bit of help with starting your fitness journey, please do send me a message and I’ll be very happy to help!