You know you should go to the gym, but it's easy to talk yourself out of it, or run out of time. The problem often isn't with your schedule -- it's with your mind. Here are our best tricks for making the gym a more regular occurrence.
Lifehacker's Get The Gym Habit series is brought to you by Medibank GymBetter.
GymBetter offers access to over 500 gyms in the GymBetter network with no contracts or joining fees, and Medibank members with hospital & extras covers get discounted rates..
Put It On Your Calendar
If you want to be fit, you have to exercise regularly. The surest way to make that happen is to set specific times when you'll exercise. Don't just say to yourself "I'll go to the gym sometime today". Pick a time and stick to it. Put the appointment on your calendar on your mobile phone, and set a reminder. Pick a specific class you enjoy and commit to getting to that class. Treat it as a non-moveable appointment.
The time you exercise will depend on both your personal preferences and your work situation. If you plan to go to the gym after work but constantly find yourself staying late, aim to hit the gym before you hit work. If you have school-age kids, your best chance may be in the middle of the day, when school pick-up doesn't get in the way.
One other tip -- don't be over-ambitious. If you tell yourself you have to go every single day, the first time that doesn't happen you'll feel like giving up altogether. Regular visits three times a week will benefit you more than a burst of daily visits followed by a week of apathy. Fitness picture from Shutterstock
Think About Your Family
Need a motivation for hitting the gym? Imagine how your family would cope without you. The better your health, the longer you'll be around. It's a grim thought, but an effective motivator. Weights picture from Shutterstock
Think About Your Sex Life
If you're single and don't have a family, then use your love life as your motivation. Getting to the gym regularly will make your more attractive and (ahem) more flexible. You can join the dots yourself . . . Couple picture from Shutterstock
Dodge The Common Excuses
Don't let standard excuses stop you from achieving your fitness goals. Here are some of the most commonly cited excuses, and the simple solutions to them:
|The excuse||The remedy|
|I find exercise boring.||Listen to podcasts or watch TV.|
|I have no idea of what technique to use.||Use a personal trainer.|
|I don't have any time to exercise.||Get up half an hour earlier.|
Dumbell picture from Shutterstock
Partner With A Workout Buddy
It's easy to make excuses to yourself, but it's harder to make excuses to someone else. Partner with a friend and commit to going to the gym at the same time. That way, you'll have someone else to jolly you along when you "just don't feel like going". Couple picture from Shutterstock
Don't Be Defeated By Laundry
Don't let a lack of gear to wear to the gym stop you from going. Keep a gym bag in your car so you're always ready for a visit. Don't have any clean gym clothes? Buy more -- it's not expensive if you hit a discount chain store. Don't let a $5 singlet be the reason you're not getting fitter. Treadmill picture from Shutterstock
What tricks do you use to motivate yourself to go to the gym? Tell us in the comments.
Main gym picture from Shutterstock