Q: I know ways of getting motivated to go to the gym. But how do I actually want to feel like going? What are some tips I can have to make fitness a fun yet integral part in my life?
Welcome to another Weekend Questions. You can read the last one here.
This is actually a really fun question. It isn’t as common truthfully, but it can be a big problem for those just getting started or having trouble maintaining their routine of going to the gym or otherwise doing something active.
The problem is simple. You do not feel that the gym (note that “the gym” can refer to anything regarding general fitness; the gym can even be your own neighborhood where you have started doing regular walks!) is a part of your life just yet. All of this may seem new to you, and because of that it simply is not something you are used to consistently doing.
Another problem is simply the stress load that fitness typically induces on the body and the mind. Think about it: if you are already working your job or finishing up the school day, it seems off-putting to put yourself through even more physical and mental work.
The last problem that usually results in a lack of “feeling like going to the gym” is simply fatigue or a void of time. If you are exhausted, you will not go to the gym. If you are feeling lazy, you will not go to the gym. Likewise, if you simply do not have the time — or so you think –, you will not go to the gym.
How to feel like going to the gym:
Here I offer up my solutions, which could all work depending on what exactly causes you not to want to go.
It needs to be a priority in your life
I have stressed time and again that if you truly want to be fit, if you truly want to change that aspect of your life, then you absolutely need to make it a part of your life. Don’t try to motivate yourself, but find a reason to make it essential in your life, rather than just a temporary thing.
Really look into your personal situation and find things that you want to change. This change can be the simple “I need to lose weight” or “I want to gain muscles”. Or it could be that you want more flexibility, you want a healthier heart, or you want to perform better at a certain sport. Ask yourself how any of these changes will be good for you. Ask what can happen from your potential efforts in fitness. Then once you make that commitment that yes, this change is going to be better for my life, then you have to commit to the time and effort it requires. Figure out how much time of the week you need for your own goals. For weightlifters, around an hour a day for 3-4 days a week is all you need to advance in the muscle building process. For people that want a healthier heart, even 20 minutes a day for 5 days of the week (not even two full hours!) is all you need to be better than you were.
Once you figure out the time commitment necessary for change, find that time. If this change really is beneficial for you, you will find a way to get it done. Wake up a little earlier. Spend less of your day doing wasteful activities. These are just some ideas to get you started.
Have a goal
You will find most of these points kind of tie in to each other. Having a goal is an important step in wanting to go to the gym. Like mentioned in the previous bit, you need to find a reason to change. Because you are delving into fitness, you are admitting there is something about your physical nature that needs fine tuning. Now go from here and identify where exactly you want to go. Is it a more refined body you are after? Do you want to shed 20 pounds? Make it a real, specific goal.
Now you have something specific you would like to work for. Every time you need to go to the gym, you will tend to go instead of putting it off. Why? Because you have something you are working toward and put your mind to. People lack consistency in their gym attendance because they often do not have particular goals in mind, other than “I want to be fit”.
Make it fun
This one is the hardest of them all if you truly just dread being at the gym. Lifting weights or jogging on the treadmill are hardly entertaining activities for most people. But you can make it fun by listening to music, reading the news, or watching a TV show in between sets. I usually have my phone handy when doing light jogs on a treadmill since Netflix is easily accessible. I put on some of my favorite TV shows (30 Rock, Game of Thrones) and often get distracted with how much running I get. Audiobooks are also a useful way to pass time, and they work for lifting weights as well.
The gist of it is: the sooner you accept that the gym is where you will physically be many days of the week, the sooner you can get more enjoyment out if it. If you feel out of place at the gym, you’re unlikely to want to keep going. Treat it like your second home, filled with people that have goals just like you do. Good luck to everyone and please feel free to contact Rich or myself if you need further help on continuing your journey to an active lifestyle! We are also on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!