Monday, 4 November 2013

10 Tips for Sticking with the Gym

If you follow my twitter you may have spotted a few posts about me going to the gym. Health and fitness can play a large part into beauty and I'm sure plenty of you either go to or at least are considering going to the gym, but perhaps you lack the motivation and end up stopping after a few weeks or months. So, after almost 2 years of attending a gym here are my top 10 tips for keeping motivated.

1. Sign up to an event

I'm the one in the ugly headband. I get really cold ears! 
This provides massive motivation for me. The whole reason I got started at the gym (and kept going) is so that I could complete the Men's Health Survival of the Fittest 5k obstacle course. This year I've signed up for the 10k and knowing that I have to do it in a few weeks means I'm not cancelling any of my gym sessions!

Of course, completing an event then makes you feel proud of your hard work and I immediately signed up to more events!

2. Make a schedule

This is my top tip for making sure you keep going to the gym. For my first year of attending the gym I had no schedule whatsoever. I just went when I felt like it, made it up as I went along and quickly got very bored. I only started getting excited about going to the gym when I started making a schedule.

Work out how many days you can commit to, then split these days into exercises that work separate parts of your body. For example this is my current schedule for the week:

DAY ONE: Back and arms
DAY THREE: Cardio & core

I don't do these 3 days in a row, I tend to space them out with a rest day in-between, but I commit to doing at least all 3 of these days every week. Also, on each day I do a short 10 minute cardio warm up before each session, usually either on the rowing machine, cross trainer or bike as these are low impact, work a load of different muscle groups and get your heart pumping. Don't forget to stretch afterwards too!

Having a planned routine is a really crucial tip I wanted to share because if I ever miss out one of these days, I really feel like I've messed up my routine. If I just ran every day, it's so much easier to put one day off, but when you have specific exercises for each day, you don't want to miss them!

3. Don't just stick to the same exercises and make sure you use the weights!

You will get bored and your muscles will get bored! Make an effort to check out most of the equipment in your gym. Ask for some advice or Google it if you're not sure on how to use something. It's important to make sure you're not isolating your exercise to just a couple of areas. For good health and posture you want to be working on a range of exercises and muscle groups.

I know only too well that the weights' area can be massively intimidating. 95% of the time, I'm the only girl there and without a doubt the smallest person! But working out your muscles with weights can really make a difference to your health and fitness and they definitely help tone up your body parts, my legs these days are a far cry away from what they were 2 years ago. Use a weight that feels comfortable for you then increase it as your strength increases. Ignore anyone who might stare at you, they're likely just impressed!

I think women can often think that as soon as they pick up a weight at the gym they're going to become some bodybuilding beefcake - let me assure you this is not the case! Any woman with noticable, bulging muscles has indefinitely spent a lot (months, years) of intentional time getting them that way.

4. Share with others

I connected with a load of fitness fanatics on Twitter and it was great to share my progress with them. I also frequently post to Instagram when I'm proud of some progress I've made.

5. Record your progress

Keep note of your times, distances, weights (for using weighted exercises) and also track your own weight and measurements. Whilst quite pricey, I decided to invest in some Withings Weighing Scales as they help measure your body fat percentage, which is far more important than your weight. As you may well have heard, muscle weighs more than fat. The key to a health body is to maintain a good fat percentage for your age and sex. The other handy thing with the Withings scale is that it automatically records your data which you can view in its own app or on your computer to keep track of your progress over time.

I also use the Nike+ Running app which I find massively useful and it tracks your milestones and all time bests too!

6. Stop making excuses or putting it off!

This might sound like an obvious one but I have been guilty of deciding I really don't feel like going to the gym one night and decide to put it off til the next day, then the next day something comes up and I actually can't go and then my whole schedule gets messed up. I vowed then to never not go on a planned night simply because I "didn't feel like it". Leave your excuses for genuine reasons only!

7. Find a gym you really like

I don't suggest picking the cheapest/nearest gym purely for its convenience. If you don't like the gym you go to, you're going to stop wanting to go. Before you commit to a long-term gym membership, check out a few gyms first. Almost any decent gym will let you have at least 1 free session at their gym so you can get a feel for the atmosphere and find out their pros and cons. With this in mind, make sure you have your session at a time that you'd usually visit so you get an idea of how busy it gets.

8. Get a long-term membership!

There's nothing like the feeling of wasting money to entice you into making the most of your gym membership. You're far more likely to stick at something if you feel you have a lot to lose if you don't do it.

9. Bring or make some friends!

This can be difficult to achieve if you're quite shy, but any decent gym should at least have some friendly staff who you can check in with when you bump into them. Having a catch up with my friend after my gym session and sharing my progress really motivates me. Plus when I don't go I know he'll notice and bug me for it!

10. Stop caring about what other people might think

This held me back for a while. I'd be embarrassed about how red I'd get from running. I'd be nervous getting dressed/undressed in the changing rooms. I'd shy away from the weights area. I'd compare my speed with other people. STOP! Go to the gym for YOU! Of course, you want to do some research to make sure you're exercising with proper form, but don't worry about all the other stuff. I used to care so much, then I realised that I'm never focussing on other people at the gym, so it's highly likely no one's paying much attention to what I'm doing either. Just get on with it and stick your plan.


  1. This is so inspirational thank you! I'm like you, I'm always so conscious about what people think of me and I get intimidated by all the extreme gym bunnies, incase they thought me and my amateur work out was ridiculous. Loved this post x

    1. Ah I'm so glad you enjoyed it! :) yeah it's really taken me quite a while to get over it, but really if anyone else there is anything like us they'll be paying far too much attention to themselves over anyone else! After a while I just stopped caring and it's so much more enjoyable then.

  2. god knows I need this check list! I am so bad at falling off the wagon! great post!

    Kirsty x Rockit Style

  3. Fantastic motivation<3 you blog! Keep at it :)