Friday, August 5, 2011

How to get motivated to go to the gym!


I'm really close to my goal weight! My secret? Eating lots of unprocessed food (fruit, veggies, beans), quitting coffee and dairy (I've switched to calcium rich almond milk!), and going to the gym. Its really been working for me! In the heat of Florida's summer the only place that I can work out without fainting is the gym!

How often you need to do cardio for weight loss?

Here's the cold, hard truth: You probably need to do five or six workouts a week.

How long your workouts should last for weight loss?

Here's another dose of reality: You should aim for at least 45 minutes of exercise, a mix of cardio and strength training, six days per week. Again, you don't need to do all this sweating at once, but for the pounds to come off, the calories you burn need to add up.

That is a lot of gym time. How can you keep yourself motivated to lace up those sneakers and go? Here are some tips that I have found really useful (I've been going at least 4 times a week for the past two months! Yeah, I can't quite believe it either!! )

 Buy yourself new gym gear as a reward. 

When you start to feel a little 'blah' about going, go get a cute new shirt, or some new sneakers!

A new outfit can make you a little more excited to get dressed for the gym! Its better than pulling on that ratty shirt and ancient shorts. (Though sometimes that is necessary if it is laundry day...but if you have more clothing to wear then  laundry day wont mean you have run out of clean gym clothes!)

Spice up your music

Music REALLY helps me to keep going at the gym. When Im starting to wilt on the elliptical or treadmill a good beat can pep me up again and making me move faster. When the weights get heavy, an inspiring song can make me feel stronger. Don't let the songs on you music player get old, update it at least monthly so you don't get tired of any of your music. When you have heard the same song a gazillion times it can stop inspiring you!

I like to use dubstep/dance music for cardio as it is what I would dance to- so it makes me feel like moving. I use power ballads/songs with lyrics about strength etc for. weights (haha, cheesy- but it works for me!) You can also google 'best music to work out to' and find new songs that you havent heard of.

Time your gym visits with your favorite TV shows

Between work/school/chores/gym I can have very little free time. Sometimes I just want to kick back and watch some T.V! And I do...but then I find half my evening is gone and I still need to get to the gym etc. I tend to time my gym visits with some good TV shows and then I feel like I still got to veg out and watch some trashy T.V! Just make sure you keep a good pace going!

When I've been swamped with exams I've also taken my books I need to read to the gym and sat on the bike machines. Its the least 'bouncy' cardio so I can still read really well, and I'm getting some exercise. I sit at work all day so the last thing I need to do is sit still all evening reading- I like to have my legs spinning around and around instead hehe..

 Track your visits

I have a little monthly calendar on my fridge. Every time I work out I write 'GYM' and give the square a tick! It is satisfying to see all those ticks lined up at the end of the month! And it can help you see how many times you went (I would forget otherwise!)

 Ive also started writing how long I went in little writing - was it 45 minutes, was it an hour plus twenty minutes of strength? Was it just a work out DVD at home and that means I need to push myself harder the next day?

I've also seen people walking around the gym with a notebook, and they write down what they are able to do on each machine. I think the point is to get encouraged by how the numbers go up over time :D

Calculate your target heart rate

This will help you know how hard you should be working on those cardio machines!

 Measure yourself

When you work out, the scale won't always accurately reflect your fitness. Sometimes, the numbers on the scale will be the same but you could have lost an inch off your waist and put muscle on your arms and thats why the scale has the same number but you are actually fitter!

Get any flexible tape measure and measure yourself all over- don't pull the tape too tight or loose. Write down the measurements of your stomach, hips, waist, calf's, thighs, upper and lower arms, bust, butt...keep that piece of paper safe.

 Every month or so pull it out and measure yourself again. If you have been working out all month something should have changed, even if just by half an inch! Its very encouraging :D I've been really excited every time I've seen inches go from my waist and thighs!

 Find a Friend

Gym buddies are the best buddies!! You can motivate eachother to go and its just nice to have some company at the gym! The best way to get a gym buddy is to talk about the gym with your friends, and how much your body is changing! They will usually be inspired and want to come along :D

 Switch it up

The gym can get boring REALLY quickly if you use the same machine all the time. Try different things. Try machines you are intimidated by. Look up different interval work outs for cardio- if you do a google search you will find all sorts of ideas!

 If the weather is nice outside consider working out in the sunshine! I love bike riding on trails and walking my dogs!

Tux climbing Hanging Rock in North Carolina with us, we do all sorts of work outs together!

Or play a sport you enjoy- tennis, badminton, football...

Another great way to learn new moves is to buy work out DVDs. These you can do at home, and they will teach you new mat work and give you tips on correct posture etc. I love Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred!

Set Goals

The best thing to work towards are goals! Set small, acheivable goals like losing five pounds in a month. I like to use events in my life as motivation, for example my man's graduation from Paramedic School is coming up in eight days! I'm so proud of him and excited!

I want my arms to look toned in the dress I'm wearing to the ceremony, so I've put a bunch of weight lifting sessions into my schedule until then. The photos we take on this day are going to be treasured for a life time, so I want to look nice and svelete. I will be able to focus on eating correctly until then knowing how soon it is!

 Find a gym that suits you

This is really important. I've tried a few gyms in the same town, and none of them worked for me. Too far, too expensive, closed to early on weekends, too many lunk heads...until now. I go to Planet Fitness, it opened less than a half mile away from my house and it's only $10 a month! I think the best thing about it is proximity. The fact that I live SO close makes me go more often. I dont have a long drive to dread. If the weather is bad, I still go. I have no excuses! Find the gym with the shortest commute time for you! This may be a gym you could stop in on the way home from work (just pack a snack to tide you over until dinner!)

Watch shows that inspire you

When I'm on the couch feeling like I really dont want to go to the gym, I watch Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition!

You can watch it on hulu for free:

Seeing what the contestants achieve makes me feel like a lazy sack of excuses for not going, and I end up lacing up my runners and getting out the door :D

Remember, you can do anything you put your mind and heart into! I rappelled down a waterfall in Mexico a few months ago despite being terrified!!

ME, feeling alive & like I am hanging off the edge of a cliff....wait...I am!!

Do you have any tips on getting yourself to go to the gym?


  1. Great tips! Usually just knowing how exercise will make me feel is enough encouragement but when it's not working out with a friend helps a ton.

  2. Thanks :) I agree, knowing how good it feels afterwards can help! Sometimes when Im sore I'm happy to have a friend drag me off the couch though!