With summer coming to an end, many people are returning to their usual routines or looking to establish new ones. Whether you’re heading back to the gym after a long summer of relaxation, or just starting out, it can be difficult to stay motivated and maintain a workout routine.
While many of us start a new gym routine with plenty of motivation and hefty goals, this can quickly diminish and leave us back at square one. Perhaps you’ve set yourself unrealistic goals, feel too tired to work out, or the effort required to even get to the gym is enough to put the brakes on your workout routine. Regardless of these obstacles, there are simple steps that can help you to maintain these routines.
For those struggling to uphold their workout routine, Steven Virtue, Fitness Development Manager at Total Fitness, has shared some top tips on the best ways to make sure you can stick to a schedule that works for you.
Top Tip 1: Set Realistic Goals
As much as we may all want to, not many of us will be able to walk into the gym and immediately pick up 20kg dumbbells. Setting yourself unrealistic goals will inevitably lead to disappointment, causing you to lose motivation and give up.
Setting realistic goals is also important for your own health. Taking on more weight than you can manage increases your risk of serious injury, which is a sure-fire way of stopping your workout routine before it’s even really started.
The best way to set realistic goals is to take things slow and build yourself up. While you might want to be lifting the heaviest weights in the gym straight away, by slowly building yourself up, you’ll find it more manageable and will see results faster, avoiding any disappointment.
Top Tip 2: Do Exercises You Enjoy
Working out isn’t supposed to be easy, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. If your workout routine is a source of stress or discomfort, you’re much more likely to lose motivation. Building a workout routine full of exercises you enjoy means that going to the gym won’t feel like a chore.
To find the exercises that work best for you, it’s best to take some time to try different exercises out in the gym. Whether you think you’ll enjoy them or not, working your way around the different gym equipment will allow you to figure out which exercises and equipment you prefer. You can then build a workout routine that incorporates these exercises, meaning your workout routine can become a much more enjoyable feat.
Furthermore, finding what exercises are best for you will help you to feel more comfortable and confident in the gym environment, so you can be more at ease when doing your workouts.
Top Tip 3: Make Sure to Rest
A crucial part of any workout routine is rest. Taking time to rest after a workout allows your body and muscles to recover, both of which are essential for helping to increase your strength and endurance.
If you don’t allow your body to rest, you’ll find that your progress will be slower, which can demotivate you when continuing to work out. Failing to rest also increases your risk of injury, which can prevent you from working out or limit your capabilities in the gym.
Top Tip 4: Keep Track of Your Progress
The ultimate goal of anyone undergoing a workout routine is to see progress, whether that is to lose weight, gain muscle, or increase endurance. However, progress doesn’t happen overnight, so it can take time to see results.
This can be frustrating but tracking your progress can help you to stay on track. If you’re looking to gain muscle, taking regular progress pictures and making a note of your reps and weights is a good way to log your progress and personal bests over time in an easily accessible way.
Similarly, if you’re looking to increase your speed or endurance, keep a log of your activity, noting the distance and duration of runs or cycle rides. This will help you to set goals and see your improvement, which will boost your morale.
Top Tip 5: Take a Training Partner
A little accountability can go a long way in helping you to stay motivated. Making plans with a gym buddy means you can both hold each other to account and make sure you turn up to your scheduled gym sessions. They can also help push you to achieve more during your workouts and be a source of support, especially on those days you’re finding the gym particularly difficult.
If you’re struggling to find a gym buddy, a personal trainer from Total Fitness can help you to stay motivated and reach your goals. Personal trainers can also help to build a training and diet plan to help you see the best results possible.
Top Tip 6: Plan Your Gym Visits
Planning your gym visits is a great way to build working out into your everyday routine. It is important to set out enough time for getting to and from the gym, getting changed, and actually working out. Setting dedicated time aside in your week for visiting the gym, on the days and at the time that works best for you, will help to take some stress away and keep you motivated.
Also, consider what you want to do during each session to get the most out of each trip and ensure you’ve packed all the clothing or kit you might need. Perhaps you want to combine a fitness class with a swim, or a weights session with a sprint on the running track – planning the contents of your workout session in advance will help you to stay motivated and focused.
So, if you’re heading back to the gym this autumn, following this simple guide will make sure you stick it out and make the most out of your workouts.
This post was written by Rachel Bartee and originated on Your Coffee Break.