Actually signing up to the gym and going regularly is a sport in itself. There are so many factors standing in the way of getting super fit and budging those few pounds/stones which seem to haunt you every single day.
I recently signed up for a brilliant membership which I can use at four centres and have access to their gyms, classes and pools for just £28 a month.
At first I expected miracles overnight but quickly learnt that I was extremely naive. However, instead of being hung up on the scales I found some simple ways to make the gym life easier, and if like me, motivation isn’t your strongest point, you might find these helpful…
Invest in some beautiful gym gear | As the saying goes, look good, feel good! With high street stores such as New Look and H&M launching sport ranges, the pressure to look fashionable in the gym is mounting. However, I don’t necessarily think fashion brands are the right way to go when it comes to sport. I bought some cheap but ultra cool bright orange shorts from New Look and no word of a lie, every time I stepped foot in the gym they would ride up and display half my bum cheek to all the other gym goers (not the look I was going for).
Luckily though, my mum who pretty much knows me better than I know myself, bought me some gorgeous Nike gym wear for my birthday, the material is specialised to allow my skin to breathe, the fits are perfect and I feel seriously gym ready in them, with no fear of going all out and accidentally exposing myself! So basically the moral of the story here is not to be swayed by the cheap fashion but to invest in some good quality pieces that will help your physical and mental state as well as saving your reputation when getting sweaty.
*Plus make sure you get yourself down to a professional running shop who will help you find the perfect trainers. By asking you to run on a treadmill they can observe the shape and positioning of your feet and make sure that you have a pair that fit like a glove (or should I say slipper sock? ;))*
Set achievable goals | There is no point in going to the gym and forcing yourself to try and run a marathon when you can barely manage a kilometre because you will feel extremely defeated, demotivated and generally unproductive which will just put you off going. I find the best thing to do is go as far as you can without fainting and requiring the first aiders, but just each time going a little bit more. For example I normally try to swim 40 lengths at the moment as a bare minimum but if I’m feeling super energetic then I’ll push myself to 50. If I don’t manage it, it’s no big deal as I still feel as though I’ve accomplished something. In time, I’ll raise the minimum and as I’ve already experienced on a few occasions, not even bat an eye lid when I’ve hit 40, so I can physically feel that I’m getting fitter.
You don’t have to do everything at once | My boyfriend is amazing in the gym, he really supports and motivates me, but ultimately I am the one who is in control of my body and if he has asked for 2k on the treadmill and I know that it’s not an option (because I hate running) then I’ll try and do 1.5k, and have a 2 min break and then run another 500m. Sometimes it’s a good idea to take a break rather than try and tackle it head on, there’s no need to rush or race, the beauty of the gym is that you can go at your own pace.
Be prepared | Going to the gym is always so much more enjoyable if you remember everything you need. For example I don’t know about you, but I cannot live without my makeup remover when it comes to the steam room and sauna. These were invented to help open your pores up after all! Plus it’s never fun looking like a panda after you’ve swam a good few lengths in the pool. On a side note, don’t even get me started on forgetting a Tangle Teaser/hair brush.
Find your jam | Running on the treadmill can be terribly monotonous and the only thing which you find yourself concentrating on is your breathing. Listening to music will definitely take your mind to another, more relaxed place and before you know it, the distance will be increasing further than you thought was possible!
Find a gym buddy | Hitting the gym with another person can crank up your motivational points by a considerable amount. Agreeing to meet up regularly will not only burn calories but also make sure that you’re out and about and socialising, a win-win situation! Plus, if you are having a lazy day and would much rather crawl under your duvet with Netflix and comfort food, think again, the guilt of letting down your partner will surely be enough to spur you on!
Vary your activities | If like me, you don’t always like pushing yourself through classes, (I personally like going at my own pace) vary your activities. For example on one day go swimming, another book a badminton court with your friends, on a rest day (okay, I admit I may or may not have multiple, consecutive days like this), I took my little sister to Wet & Wacky at the swimming baths, so I still burnt up a cake or two. Just remember, that getting fit doesn’t have to be a military regime, it can and should be an enjoyable journey too!
Download apps | There are so many apps which can help you stay on track. I have only used a few but My Fitness Pal is definitely my favourite. You can count your calories, work out the best foods to eat and input your fitness activities. This app hits the top spot for me, because you can incorporate it into your lifestyle, better still if you forget to type in what you had for dinner, you will receive oh so helpful notifications reminding you of this fact!
Don’t be too hard on yourself | If you genuinely don’t feel like going – do something else that’s active. Your journey to fitness is not going to be smooth if you keep forcing yourself into doing something you don’t want to do. Everyone is allowed an off day, so why not do another activity instead. One evening in the summer, it was just too hot to go to the gym so we did gardening (how grown up do we sound?! haha), another time we went for a long walk on the beach. As long as you are doing something, you can be forgiven for slacking a little.
Final tip | This one is for you bloggers! You can use exercise as multi tasking time and perhaps plan your next posts in your head, after all I thought of this blog post while I was swimming lengths!
Ultimately, I have a long way to go until I am happy with myself but I am confident in knowing that there is a light at the end of this fitness tunnel! Plus, we are about to book onto Tough Mudder for next May, so I don’t really have a choice in this fitness malarkey! 😉
Do you have any tips and tricks to make the gym life easier? I’d absolutely love to hear them! Leave me a comment or tweet me…