Health & Wellness

How to Make Going to the Gym More Realistic

We’re counting down the hours until the new year, and I bet I could guess a majority of people’s new years resolutions. I would say for most, it’s something along the line of “go to the gym more” or “lose 10 pounds” or “get healthier.” I would also bet that many people have made this goal before. Everyone knows new years resolutions end up falling out the window about a month into the new year, but how can we make it possible to incorporate going to the gym more into our day-to-day lives?

First, make a plan. Figure out your exact goals. If you want to lose weight, you probably want to incorporate ore cardio. If you want to build muscle, you’ll probably want to start lifting weights, which might just be a little bit out of your comfort zone.

Next, get yourself excited. Do your research about what workout plans will work best for you. Make a Pinterest board that will inspire your workouts. Make a list of fun exercises you can do that will help you reach your goal.

If you find the gym intimidating, it might be best to start going with a buddy. This is exactly what I did my first few weeks at the gym until I felt comfortable going on my own. Personal trainers can also be great. I would recommend going with someone who is familiar with the gym and who can show you how to use and adjust machines. Once you learn the ropes, you’ll be more confident and comfortable with going.

Incorporating fitness classes could also be great and nice switch-up from the gym. Working out in a group setting might also increase your motivation and get you working harder. Fitness classes, while challenging, are a lot of fun! You can start small with low-intensity yoga classes, or try something intense like body pump that combines cardio and weight training. Fitness classes can keep your gym routine exciting!

The most important advice I have to stick to your resolution of going to the gym, or literally almost any resolution, is to start small. If you’re feeling pumped and ready to go to the gym and you go for a week straight, you’ll find it impossible to keep that streak up and end up lacking motivation in the upcoming weeks. Start with a goal that seems easy to you. If you go to the gym once a week and walk the treadmill for 30 minutes, you’re doing great. If you can accomplish your small goals, you can work up to larger ones. Once going to the gym once a week for 30 minutes becomes easy, try boosting it to twice a week for 30 minutes, or once a week for an hour.

Along with starting small, don’t go to the gym and attempt to bench press 200 pounds on your first attempt. Go light. It’s alright if you’re curling 5 pound dumbbells, no one is judging you. It’s imperative to have proper form, otherwise you can end up seriously injured. Don’t push yourself too hard. Progress will be made sooner than you think.

I’ve never been a fit person and always had difficulties building motivation to go to the gym. It wasn’t until college that I became much better at creating a routine. My first year, I’d go to yoga and other fitness classes 2-3 times a week. My second year, I did a yoga class once a week and went to the gym 2-3 times a week with a friend. By my third year, I managed to get to the gym 5 times a week. I still slack off every now and then, and that’s alright. Since I built up the habit, I realized how good the gym makes me feel. This keeps my motivation with me always, even if I have a busy week or am feeling too under the weather to make it to the gym. Not every week is going to perfect and some workouts will be better than others, but as long as you build up the habit of going, you’ll actually start looking forward to your gym sessions.

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