You may or may not have noticed via my Instagram and Twitter that I've been rabbiting on about the gym lately. To be honest I've always enjoyed going to the gym since a young teenager; yes I have days where I want to skip going, but I always feel so much better once I've been, so falling back in love with exercise was not too difficult for me. However, there were some things that definitely helped ease myself back into exercising so I thought I'd share them in case any of you out there are trying to get your butt back into shape. My top tips are:
Find a reasonable membership deal
The thing that has stopped me being a member of a gym for the past 2 years since graduating from my undergrad degree has been the cost of gyms- they're bloody expensive. During my Masters in York there wasn't any reasonable gym deals around (the actual uni one was so expensive), so we just never went. Unfortunately I don't actually like exercising outside (unless it's playing football or swimming!), so I flopped massively last year and put on all the weight I had worked so hard to lose the previous year. However, we found an amazing deal for a gym here in Brisbane ($29 for 2 months for a 24hr gym) about a 15 minute drive away and it has been so good. I really advise using Groupon or other similar deal websites to find gym deals near you if money is a factor deterring you from joining (if you're in Australia use my link to get $10 credit for you to spend on anything on Groupon or if you're from the UK get £6 credit using this link). Often these deals are incredibly cheap with a significant percentage discount for the usual monthly fees and waiver things like the initial joining up fee- just make sure the gym has everything you want e.g. for me, it was really important that the gym had entertainment systems for me to use whilst exercising and a changing room with shower for afterwards.
Ensure there are TV Programs on that you're interested in
Unfortunately the only bad experience I have had at the particular gym we have joined is that the big TV's at the front of the studio are locked onto preset channels. Whilst this might be okay during the day, we usually head to the gym late at night when we have both finished work and during this time we have experienced some seriously questionable programs on e.g. "Blokesworld" which is the most misogynistic program I've had the displeasure of laying my eyes on (the actual program description says .."a lifestyle show for the real Aussie bloke. Discover the joys of a roaring V8 engine, a good BBQ, a punt on the dogs and a bit of a perve along the way". The last thing I want to see when I'm working out is a group of bogans getting off on naked poledancers.. so there's that. Now I ensure that I never go during the time this show is on to save myself from the most awkward workout of my life again, and make sure there's something on I want to watch as it really helps time go really fast when you're working out. Some of my gym favorites now include: Celebrity Rehab With Dr Drew, Bargain Hunt, Escape To The Country and Catfish.
Go when the gym was quiet
As I've mentioned we go to the gym late at night which is great as it means the gym is really quiet, and often we are there on our own. For me there is nothing worse than a busy gym, and some we have looked around there has been people actually queing for machines... absolute nightmare- not only is it inconvenient but it would send my anxiety crazy! By joining a 24hr gym and going in the evenings it means you can really concentrate on working out which is really good if you're a little unsure in the beginning.
Enjoy accurate results? Invest in a fitness watch!
I have the Polar FT60 Watch which M got me for my birthday last year and find it really helps motivate me. Being able to track your heart-rate and see your fitness improve, as well as track how many calories you burn (if this is your thing) is great for watching your fitness and weight get closer to where you want to be. I find it is much better than the trackers on the exercise machine as you can track your age, height and weight and pause when you are moving between machines. There's also a function on this watch to target your heart rate to reach your weight-loss and fitness goals which is cool, but I haven't dabbled too much in this function yet.
Before we went to the gym I was aware I didn't have any workout tops that I felt comfortable wearing- I like sleeveless tops that aren't too figure hugging when exercising. We headed to Target and I found a top that was perfect for me (and only $10) which I now wear. Being comfortable is important to me as I don't want to be paranoid about any mishaps with clothing whilst I'm trying to focus on completing 10km! Also ensure to buy a couple of pairs of everything- there is nothing worse than having to do washing every day so you can wear the same clothes to the gym the following evening.A pair of comfortable trainers are also really important- I have the Adidas Adizero ones which are so lightweight which I picked up when I lived in York from the DFO- they are so cheap compared to buying them full price!
Something which I never did before when I went to the gym was use the weights area- I got into the routine of using the stationary bike, rowing machine, treadmill (occasionally) and cross-trainer. Now I use the stationary bike, cross-trainer, rowing machine, bosu ball and always use the weights. It gives you a break from doing full-on cardio all the time, and I actually think it is a lot more effective for toning up- I can already notice a difference just after a few weeks of doing it.
Stick at it for a couple of weeks
This the one of the main ones for me, although it is hard at first, I can guarantee after a few weeks of going you will start to feel so much better even if the scales haven't changed. I feel so much more confident now than I did a month ago which sounds ridiculous, but exercising really changes the way you feel about yourself. Now my mind is never occupied with the thoughts of "if I exercised I'd look so much better", instead, my thoughts are more "I don't look how I want to look, but I am doing everything in my power to change it, so for the meantime I can accept this". It really is life changing for me, and low self-esteem coupled with anxiety can really make life extremely lonely, but since exercising again, I have a new found of confidence.
What are your tips for falling back in love with exercise again? How do you motivate yourself?