How I learned to love the gym

As I’ve mentioned before in my posts I used to hate going to the gym and I don’t know exactly why, but how this hatred has changed during the past months amazes me.

Just after my university studies I started working at a gym and the job was fine. I worked as a receptionist at a gym that was open 24/7. The job was easy, handling memberships, make sure everything worked and was clean and just being nice to the people training. The gym also gave me a free gym card but I think I can count on my two hand how many times I used it during my two years there… It just wasn’t fun!

When I left Sweden three years ago I hadn’t done any exercise in maybe two years and I did not start until September 2014. That’s almost five years without moving my butt! Only when going out dancing and doing my every day duties. And in August, just by the end of the month, a friend asked me if another friend and I wanted to come to his gym and that sounded like a good idea, I mean I had been thinking about that I’d actually would have to start doing something soon or I’d be like an old lady very soon.

We went to the gym and I decided to sign up and so did my friend. We talked about going together, but we never did… A week after joining the gym a man called me to offer me a free hour of personal training. Yes, I know, going to these you always end up buying it, and that wasn’t something I had planned,I wanted to go to see how my physical status was and get some tips and help to get started. Once there and after having two workouts with my personal trainer, I was sold!

But being sold on a gym is so much more than a personal trainer, and here are some other things that I’ve done and that I think could help you to become more affectionate to go to the gym, or do any other exercise.

1. Set a goal of how many times a week you want to workout and stick to it.
My goal is three times a week; Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If I can’t go one day I rearrange it and maybe I’ll go Monday or Tuesday morning instead of Monday night. I also like having the weekends off, but if I one day wake up and feel like going, it’s just a bonus! And of course, if I can’t go on Friday, I have the whole weekend to make up for it.

2. Find a place that you like
It sounds silly, but if you don’t like the place you’re going to, you won’t go there when it’s raining and you don’t want to leave your house. I find the esthetics very important, my gym has to be spacious, light and have nice details, maybe like a lounge where you could wait for your friend if you go with someone. I also find the ambient very important; if the people aren’t nice, I won’t go. This might also depend on the time you’re going, I always avoid rush hours if I can, because as I said, I like it spacious.

3. Make friends or go with a friend
As I mentioned, my friend and I had the intention of going together, but we realized that we didn’t like doing the same thing, she likes swimming, I like weights. So what to do then? Get to know the people there! If you always go at a certain time, you’ll soon realize that more or less the same people are there every time you are there (once again, set a goal with certain days to go). Start with a nod, then a hello and in the end you might end up talking.

4. Get to know the staff
The receptionist, the instructor, the personal trainer, the cleaning lady, you name it. Once you start talking to them I think you’ll find it a lot easier to go to the gym because you’re not alone, and you have someone that recognizes you and that might poke you for not coming on your usual day.

5. Set a goal for yourself and find programs that will help you achieve your goal
Not everyone wants a personal trainer, even though in my opinion it’s one of the best things that happened to me last year, but everybody needs some kind of help. I find it quite boring going to the gym, repeating the same machines every day and never really see a difference. The program doesn’t have to be complicated or professional, but having a different workout for every day is good for your body and, at least for me, makes me enjoy my workout a lot more. It’s a cliche, but take a before picture! You will notice a difference. Maybe not the first few weeks, but give it two-three months and voilá!

6. Think about something that interests you that is related to exercise
I’m very into sports and the human body so I read a lot of articles and studies online. If you’re into math, search for articles about how physical exercise can improve your math skills, or if you like dogs try to look at different exercises you can do with your dog to stay healthy. I hope that everybody is interested in their health and by combining it with other interests it might just be the thing for you!

7. Make it official
Tell people that you go to the gym, or any other activity, because the more people that know that you’re going, the more you have to disappoint when you’re not going. My friends always ask me if I went to the gym and if I say no, I feel ashamed and my friends quite surprised.

8. Make your workout list
Music might be important to a lot of people. I usually listen to the music that they play in the gym because I like it, but on the weekends I bring my MP3 and plug it into the speakers (I’m often alone in the gym, but it’s because I do my workout in a separate room where the personal trainers are), and every other day I listen to my music while getting ready to go or while waking over there.

9. Delete all excuses
Always have a bag ready for going to the gym. Don’t let it be your excuse that you forgot to bring your shoes or membership card. Bring it to work and even if you didn’t plan to go that day, but at the end of the day you might just have the urge of going, and then it would be a shame if you left everything at home.

10. Remember why you’re going
It’s all about discipline and turning something “boring” into something fun. Remember why you want to go and make the most out of it.

A lot of people say that the distance to the gym is important. I agree that it shouldn’t be complicated getting to your gym, but I for example did not choose the closest gym, no, I chose the gym that I liked the most according to what I wrote in no. 2.

Most importantly though is that you go to the gym (or any other activity) because you want a change. Figure out what you want before paying the membership card, because if you haven’t agreed with yourself, how will you then succeed?

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