Five Ways to Make Going to The Gym a Sustainable Habit
Let’s face it, finding the motivation to look up a workout plan online can be just as hard as taking that first step into the gym.
Whether you’re feeling fatigued after a full day of class, intimidated by the bulky gym vets roaming near the free weights, or just unsure where to start, there are plenty of reasons to feel uneasy about starting a new routine. Luckily, there are a few simple steps you can adopt to build healthy fitness habits.
Setting a Schedule
Form a routine. Evaluate your schedule and choose a time to head to the gym. If you’re an early riser, beat the crowds and arrive at the gym as soon as it opens. Then, leave enough time to shower and get to your 8 a.m. If you enjoy your beauty sleep, work out later in the day so you can sleep in. Discover what works for you, and find it within yourself to commit to improving your personal health. Once you have times penciled into your planner, working out becomes part of your daily routine. You know what they say, “a body in motion stays in motion.”
Find a few peers to accompany you to the gym. Trust me, the extra accountability goes a long way. Here’s a scenario: you’re in your room, locked into the third season of your newest Netflix binge. You’re tired, comfy and entirely unmotivated to work out. Then the dreaded, yet much-needed text from your workout buddy comes, “Ready?” Now something inside you says, “I can’t let her down, I need to pick myself up and make it to The Rec.” Today your workout partner was your saving grace. Tomorrow, you could be theirs. Even more so, fitness is so much more enjoyable and revitalizing when you have someone to enjoy it with. How much fun is it to go to the movies alone? Not very, but add a couple of your most animated friends and you’ve got one heck of a Friday night. Look at the gym the same way. Friends share your struggles and your triumphs, all while holding you accountable to reaching your new-found fitness goals
Writing Your Goals
Creating an obtainable fitness goal can be an excellent way to maintain a commitment to personal fitness. Goals, especially ones written in visible places, act as a road map guiding you through your fitness journey. When you head off on a road trip, you don’t drive in a random direction. You have a map, a plan, a strategy. Write three obtainable fitness goals along with the steps needed to complete them, and categorize them by completion time (i.e., near future, intermediate future and long term goals). Place the list where you’ll see it often, and visualize obtaining your outcomes frequently. Place sticky notes on your bathroom mirror or refrigerator, save them as the background on your phone, or use them as bookmarks in your planner. Keep your goals fresh in mind and remind yourself why you’re working so hard everyday.
Too Much, Too Fast
One of the biggest deterrents from making the gym a habit is beginning with too much, too fast. We all know the story: you go once, stay for two hours and then regret your decision the next day when you have to walk across campus to get to your 8 a.m. When you find the motivation to start working out, it can be hard not to enthusiastically out- perform your body’s capabilities. We must learn our limits in the gym. There is nothing shameful about progressing slowly. So start slow, start low, and gradually build your strength, endurance and ability. In no time you will be crushing your mile times or reaching new personal records
Group Fit Recommendations for your personal fitness level:
- Beginner: Yoga, Cycle 30, Zumba and BollyX
- Intermediate: Tigerpump and Butts & Guts
- Advanced: H.I.I.T. and Turbokick
Quantifying Your Goals
Along your fitness journey, you’ll likely question your progression. “Am I meeting my goals? Do I look better in these jeans? Have I been going to the gym enough?” All of these questions are normal. In most circumstances, these questions can be answered if you diligently quantify your results. This doesn’t necessarily mean logging every calorie, workout and breath you take. Instead, establish some sort of baseline for comparison throughout your fitness progression. Take before and after pictures, weigh yourself weekly, measure your waist, or even set a number of monthly gym visits and aim to beat that number the next month. As you continue to work hard toward your goals, these reminders will help you continue pushing forward during those moments when you can’t immediately recognize your improvement.
Remember, we are here working for progress, not perfection.
Be well, Auburn.
Photography: Auburn Campus Rec