NSW gyms reopened last weekend! Have you already been? Did you ease yourself back into training? Or have you found a new routine amongst this corona chaos and are having trouble figuring out where the gym belongs in it? If you answered yes to the last question and are having difficulty making going to the gym a habit again, I've written up some tips on how to make going to the gym easier. Remember, if an activity is easy, you won't need as much motivation or discipline to do it.
Get yourself a training buddy
Setting an appointment with someone else gives you accountability. No, this doesn't have to be an investment in personal training. If you know someone else who is trying to #makethegymroutineagain, schedule time to train together. Remember, make it easy. If you're both trying to set this new habit, start by committing to training just 1-2 times a week first. When that feels routine, you can aim to train together more often.
Celebrate every workout
Emotions create habit. Every time you go into the gym, count it as a win. Celebrate the fact that you stepping into the gym is you taking another step towards your long term goals, whether their performance based, aesthetics focused or health based.
If you leave the gym focusing on the negatives - maybe you only had a short time to train and could only fit half your program in, maybe it was super crowded and annoying gym bros didn't want to share equipment or maybe you were feeling down about not yet being close to achieving a specific strength goal - you'll start associating the gym with negative feelings and that won't make you likely to go back.
According to every book I've read on habits*, a great way to create a habit, is 'stacking' the habit you are trying to implement on top of a habit you are already doing successfully.
When I used to work full time in an office, if I got home and sat on the couch and started snacking, it would be very difficult to motivate myself to get off the couch and into the gym. Since driving to and from work was an easy part of my routine, I started packing my training clothes and shoes with me in my car so that I could just drive straight to the gym from work without having to make a stop at home.
Have a look at your current routine and see where you can easily stack 'going to the gym'.
*I've read three and highly rate them all. They are; The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, Atomic Habits by James Clear and Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg.
Instead of saying 'I need to go to the gym today', be more specific with your plan. For example, 'I'm going to wake up at 6:30am tomorrow to train my legs for 45 minutes'. Having a specific plan makes it seem more actionable.
The 5 Minute Rule
If you're having trouble finding motivation, start your timer for 5 minutes. In that 5 minutes, I want you to start getting ready for the gym. When the 5 minutes is up, you can decide to either continue getting ready or you go back to whatever you were doing before. Chances are you're already half dressed, so might as well keep going and head to the gym!