membership1Here are my Top 5 ways to get the most out of your gym membership. I hope this helps motivate you to get in the gym and accomplish the goal you are working toward.

1. Show up.

Some of you are probably saying “DUH! HELLO! Of course I know I need to show up!” But, this first step can be the hardest part. It’s tough starting something new and walking into a gym for the first time can be intimidating. You are not sure what to expect. You might be thinking everyone will be spectacular at the exercises and in phenomenal shape. It’s important to remember that everyone else in the room was probably thinking the same thing at one point or another. We all have a fear of the unknown but focus on what could be positive to change your mindset. Imagine what you could accomplish after 1, 3, or 6 months of training! This can help give you the motivation to follow-through when you feel like giving up. Check out my other blog on how to get over gym anxiety.

 

2. Stick to a program.

You won’t know what works for you if you don’t follow a consistent program. Your body will respond to a stimulus (exercise) and make the necessary adaptations so you can perform at a peak level. If you are doing one mode of exercise one day and another mode the next day your body may not adapt to either. But, if you have a goal in mind like getting better at pull-ups, focus your workouts around getting better at performing the pull-up and you will see strong gains in this area. Choosing specific skills to improve and staying focused on these goals will keep you motivated and on track.

 

3. Try something new.

Don’t be afraid to try a new workout. If the workout is challenging or intimidating, start slow. Be safe. Practice being a student of fitness. You can only get better with each passing day and become stronger as you learn and try new workouts and programs. I take things from each new workout I do to help myself become a better trainer and better athlete. If something works I keep it. If it doesn’t work I try to make it better. No one gets better by being stagnant. Try new things, keep learning, and do something each day to make yourself better!

 

4. Post your goal in a public forum.

What is your reason to start? Are you training to run a marathon to honor your father who passed away? Are you struggling to lose the weight you gained after having a child? Whatever your motivation, you made a commitment to yourself and honoring that commitment is much easier when you have a community cheering you on and holding you accountable. It takes a lot of courage to open up about your struggles, but posting in a public forum will help you stay on track. Posting publicly gives you a network of people who will check in with you, ask about your progress, share their own struggles and cheer you on when you need it. Most people are pretty quick to cheer for someone who is working hard to accomplish a goal and this can positively reinforce your determination. Returning that favor and encouraging others can inspire you to stay the course with your own goals, too.

 

5. Make nutrition work for you, not against you.

Sticking to a nutrition plan can be the most challenging aspect of starting a new health and fitness routine. The variety of information is overwhelming and it can be hard to stay motivated with Starbucks, Dunkin Doughnuts and Einstein Bros. Bagels on every corner. Many people yo-yo from one “diet” to another, only to experience success for a short time then feel like a failure when the weight doesn’t stay off. The key is to find what works for you. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to change everything at once. (Those of you who read my blog will remember the story of the rider and the Elephant {Link}.) Small changes can make a big difference. Start by journaling what you are eating. Then, look over your journal to see where you can add nutritional value to your diet. It is much easier to add veggies, lean proteins, and healthy fats into your diet than it is to cut out the vanilla latte you have been drinking every morning for the past 15 years. See what you can add to your diet and focus on making this change a habit for 30 days. (It usually takes about a month for lasting changes to stick.) Once your first healthy habit is established, then look into establishing another. Smaller, incremental changes will ensure success!

 

These are all great ways to make the most of joining a gym. What I can’t explain on paper is the awesomeness you will experience when you commit to becoming strong and fit. At first it might feel intimidating to do an unfamiliar work out in a room full of strangers, but keep in mind what brought you to this point in your life. What made you call, email, or walk into the gym? Something inspired you to say, “Today is the day I do something about this!” So, why is this important to you? Imagine how you will feel when you achieve your goals. These emotions, coupled with a support system of people who want you to succeed, are what will keep you going!

 

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