As school starts, holiday season draws to an end. We begin to settle into our daily routines, but it can be hard to get back to the gym as we’ve taken a break from our usual exercise habits.
Without the promise of summer holidays to train for, and as the dark nights draws in, it can be hard to stay motivated to achieve your health and fitness goals. Here’s my top tips for getting back into the gym after summer.
1. Set smaller goals.
You will already have your primary goal in mind, but sometimes that can feel like a long, long way away. Break it down into smaller goals which will help you achieve your ultimate goal. This could involve going to the gym three times a week for example, or being able to run 5K without stopping, or simply trying a new class.
2. Make it fun!
With equipment to push, pull, punch, jump onto/over, shake, lift, press, suspend from, climb, throw, catch, modern day gyms have evolved hugely from where they started. Use different movements and freestyle equipment to create an effective but fun workout. If you enjoy playing netball, use equipment and exercises which will help improve your netball skills. If you enjoy playing football, practise routines that will help you build on your current football abilities.
3. The 20 minute rule.
I advise my clients to have a 20 minute rule…on the days they are too busy, too tired or unmotivated to make it to the gym, just do 20 minutes.
On the days where you don’t feel like going, 20 minutes sounds a lot less daunting than an hour, so you’re less likely to be put off going. More often than not, after 20 minutes you feel better, more energised and you can carry on with the rest of your workout. If after 20 minutes you still just aren’t feeling it, let yourself off the hook. You will still feel better knowing you have done something. 20 minutes of exercise has more benefits that 0 minutes of exercise and it will keep you in the habit of attending the gym for the days you do really feel like going.
4. Think positive.
When the last thing you feel like doing is working out, visualise the positive benefits and feelings of taking a positive step towards your goal. If a break in routine over summer makes you feel like you have stepped back, try not to dwell on it and be disheartened. Instead focus on what you have already achieved and remember that if you have done it once, you can definitely achieve it again. If you need to reduce down from what you were doing just before the summer break, then that’s ok. You will be surprised with patience and persistence how quickly you find yourself back to where you left off.
5. Make it a date.
Arrange to meet a friend at the gym. You are much less likely to cancel on the days you don’t feel like going if you have already arranged to meet someone there. Try booking a class, or making an appointment with a trainer to make yourself accountable, or simply make a date with yourself at the gym in your diary.
6. Use what the gym offers.
If you can’t quite remember how to use some of the equipment or aren’t sure how to book an induction, classes and group exercise can also be a great way to learn how to use equipment in a fun and safe environment. You can also see this as an opportunity to meet other people with similar goals to yourself. Personal training can also be a great way to learn new ways of exercising which is specific to you and your goals, keeping you motivated and educated whilst ensuring that your training is getting you where you want to be.