How to Stay Committed at the Gym

commitmentSimply having the goal or intention to begin training at the gym doesn’t mean that you’ll do it.

Equally so, having a gym membership doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll use it – regardless of what it’s costing you each month and the 12 month contract you’re likely tied into.

So what can you do to ensure you don’t waste your money on an unused gym membership?

Firstly, you have to realise that the gym is simply a tool. A tool you’ll use in order to aid your success, alongside a healthy nutrition and lifestyle plan.

When you use this ‘tool’ correctly it can dramatically improve your results.

As a Gym Newbie the best advice I can give you when starting out at the gym is to start small. It’s better to start small and build upon it every 2-4 weeks than it is to go all out in week one and find that you’re unable to keep up with the demand you’ve placed upon yourself.

“Biting off more than you can chew” aka “doing too much, too soon” is a sure fire way to overwhelm yourself and lose motivation when you miss sessions or find that recovery takes longer than it should because your body wasn’t ready for such a large volume of training.

Of course there are always exceptions to the rule and some people jump straight into a 5 or 6 day training plan and manage to stick to it without any problems but as mentioned, these people are the “exception” rather than the “rule”.

Is it possible to start too small?

Just like starting with too many training sessions, training too infrequently can also be a problem.

By training too infrequently results tend to be very, very slow and sometimes non-existent. Although technically, doing something is better than doing nothing it’s not always enough, especially if your intended results are aesthetically based.

Another problem with training too infrequently is that it’s often hard to maintain the motivation needed in order to stay focused and on track because there is such a long time between your sessions.

I would recommend minimum of 2 sessions a week in order to maintain focus and motivation even if one of them is a home training session.

In my experience as a health and performance coach I have found that the optimal amount of training sessions each week is 3-4 when first starting out as a Gym Newbie.

Training 3-4 times a week will allow you to train your whole body efficiently and will also serve as a great foundation for increasing your workout frequency if or when required in the coming months.

The key to your long term success lies in your ability to stay committed to your goal(s) and stay consistent with your efforts to achieve them.

Like most things health and fitness related, that can often be easier said than done until it becomes a general habit within your lifestyle.

How to Stay Committed at the Gym

There are many different things you could do in order to help make your training a regular habit but 4 of my favourites are as follows:

1. Train first thing in the morning before work – Providing you can get to bed on time, getting up a little earlier to do your training sessions before work can be one of the best habits to develop regarding your health. Although it’s not essential for success, it’s great because it:

  • gets it done out of the way with minimal impact on your daily schedule/routine
  • improves daily energy levels
  • improves appetite – great for those who struggle to eat breakfast
  • has no negative impact on evening sleep hormone levels
  • means no waiting around for equipment to become available

…and these are just a few of the benefits to training first thing in the morning.

TIP: I’ll get into the specifics of why in a later article but as a general rule, if your goal is fat loss you should do your morning training session on an empty stomach (or just some BCAA’s) and if your goal is to gain muscle you should likely eat before doing your training session.

2. Ensure your programme is varied and change it regularly – Now by “varied” I don’t mean random and by “regularly” I don’t mean every session or every week.

What I mean is that your training programme should consist of a variety of exercises which are specific to your goal. Doing so will help to keep the fun or enjoyment factor of your programme high which is of course great for maintaining adherence. Choosing the best types of exercises for your goal will also help you achieve your goals in the shortest time possible.

As mentioned you’ll also want to change your programme “regularly”. By regularly I mean approximately every 4 weeks. For most beginner and intermediate trainees 4 weeks will be fine – if you’re a complete Gym Newbie then you could even change your programmes every 6 weeks for the first few months if you really wanted but 4 weekly just helps to break up the potential monotony.

Not changing your programmes too frequently will allow you more time and practice with each of the exercises in your programme, which will allow you to hopefully master them (or at least become competent in them) before moving on.

It’s far better to have a handful of exercises your are good at and can build upon than it is to be rubbish at hundreds of them.

3. Grab yourself a training partner – Now I won’t lie, this one can sometimes backfire and you may end up spending more time in the gym having a morning chat than a morning workout BUT, if you can save the chatting for the end of the workout or outside of the gym all together then having a training partner can often be of great benefit.

Also, because you’ve arranged with somebody to meet them at the gym at a certain time you’re automatically more likely to get your butt outta bed to go meet them because you don’t want to let them down.

Training partners are also great for helping to motivate you to push a little harder during the session or at times when you may be down or contemplating giving up.

For some, it can even provide some subconscious competition which can be great for helping you to make the most of each training session.

4. If the above isn’t enough to keep you on track to success, I would highly recommend you get yourself a decent Coach or Personal Trainer to help you.

If you thought having a training partner was good for getting you out of bed in the mornings, having a trainer that you’ve paid in advance multiplies this several times over!

A good trainer will not only hold you accountable for your actions but also for your inactions. They will also regularly monitor your form and progress and adapt your training programmes to ensure you stay on the road to success, taking much of the burden off of you.

So there you have it, 4 simple tips on how to stay committed at the gym.

If you have any advice and tips for our readers, post them below so that we can all help each other.

Your friend in health and performance,