Nearly everyone starts off the New Year with some hefty fitness resolutions, but maintaining that enthusiasm for the gym past January can be a challenge. So how can you stay motivated and fulfill your health objectives?
The most difficult part of staying in shape, for many people, is motivation. It’s easy to start going to the gym — especially for New Year’s resolutions — but when the fresh routine gets stale, many people start wavering in their attendance. Gyms frequently see a spike in new memberships in January, but attendance tends to drop off soon thereafter. So what’s the secret to keeping up that motivation? The team at Cedars Health & Leisure Club, based in Richmond, has some top tips to do just that…
1 Lifestyle over results
Instead of thinking about the results you want, think about the lifestyle you’d like to have, with the results being a positive outcome of that lifestyle. Cedars’ personal trainers focus on the lifestyle rather than the results, helping you to figure out how you can fit gym sessions into your lifestyle and encouraging you to start with easy 20-30 minute sessions 2-3 times per week. A good trainer should then create a programme that adds variety to your training regime, since excessive repetition can lead to boredom.
2 Embrace the process
The process of working out should be enjoyable. We’re talking about the process starting from where you are. From having a light snack or a smoothie to putting on your gym apparel, saying hi to the people at the gym, working out and – here’s the key – finding a workout buddy who shares your goals and exercise preference. You should also enjoy feeling those muscles working – it’s all part of the process, as are the post-workout snack, showering off that well-earned sweat and wearing that post-gym glow. Cedars also has a steam room and sauna, a beauty treatment area and cafe, which should help you create an enjoyable routine.
3 Choose a gym that suits you
People often feel intimidated about entering a new environment, especially a busy gym, where seasoned gym-bunnies can be seen lifting serious weights in the latest kit. But the experience you receive is the responsibility of the gym team, so make sure you choose a gym that suits you. Cedars staff are trained to be friendly and positive, to get to know you and your goals and to enhance your experience. Feeling that sense of community helps keep up your motivation as the whole experience becomes more enjoyable.
4 Intrinsic motivation
When you truly love doing something — such as playing golf or a musical instrument — it’s hard to stop doing it and you can’t wait to get started. The same can happen with exercise and going to the gym. Instead of viewing the weights room as a chore, shift the way you view exercise. Focus on that feeling you get after a workout – the ‘adrenalin rush’, the glow, the satisfaction of knowing you lifted extra weights, knowing that you’ve earned your next meal – you’ll soon find you start to enjoy the process, rather than looking for the result.
5 Lock in the commitment
The 100 Club is an incentive for Cedars’ members where you sign into a log book every visit and, when you reach 100 visits, you’re rewarded with a prize. This gets you into the habit of tracking your progress. Keep a diary of what you have eaten and how much exercise you are doing per week and monitor your changes. If you’re not progressing as you think you should, seek advice from an expert to get you back on track.
Cedars Health & Leisure Club, Richmond Hill, Richmond Upon Thames TW10 6RP; 0844 855 9139; cedarshealthclub.com