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7 Essential Tips to Keep You Hitting the Gym

Taking membership at a gym or signing up for some fitness classes is the easy part. The part most people struggle with is actually turning up to train and sticking to a fitness program. Most gyms are full of people with good intentions for the New Year in January, but the numbers soon reduce as the weeks pass. 

Before signing up to a gym, it's important to consider that it's more than just a financial commitment. You'll only get the value out of it if you commit to improve your body shape, health and well being over the long term. Having the motivation to visit the gym on a consistent basis is something many people struggle with. 

The following tips will help you to pack your bag and hit the gym when you'd rather do something else.

1. Develop a routine that suits your lifestyle.

It's natural to resist visiting the gym if it doesn't fit the rest of your life routine. If you work long hours during the week, Saturdays and Sundays may be the best times to schedule your fitness sessions. Be realistic about how many times you can visit a gym each week. If you over-commit and have to cancel other things, you may be tempted to give up the gym completely.

2. Give yourself a break.

Most people ride a wave of enthusiasm when they join a new gym, but it's important to keep some balance and take some time off. Setting aside two or three times a week for your fitness program works well for most people. Once a week means your progress will be slow, and four or five times may be too much. Accept that there will be days you're too tired or have last minute plans meaning you'll have to miss a gyms session.

3. Stay positive.

A common reason many people quit the gym is that they don't feel their body is improving as they expected it to. Having achievable goals is important, and it also helps your motivation if you acknowledge every step of progress. Stay positive and don't beat yourself up. Comparing yourself to other people can bring added pressure, so concentrate on your own progress.

4. Reward yourself.

Rest days are essential if you take regular exercise, and they are a good opportunity to reward yourself for your hard work. A relaxing swim or massage are great for your general well being. Just meeting a friend for a coffee or having an evening watching movies are guilt-free ways of unwinding in between gym sessions. Rewards shouldn't undo all your hard work, so think carefully before opening a bottle of wine or over eating.

5. Find a gym buddy.

If making it to the gym on your own is a constant struggle, a gym buddy may be the answer. A colleague from work is a good option as you can arrange your visits for before or after the working day. A friend, partner or member of the family can also be your gym buddy. If someone else is expecting or relying on you to join them for a workout, it can make a big difference to your motivation. 

6. Try something new.

Boredom may be one of the things stopping you going to the gym. It's a good idea to review your routine every few months and add some new exercises. Try a mix of cardio and exercises with weights, and sign up for some classes if you need some motivation. If you can stand the pace, some boot camp classes may be the kick you need. If you're really struggling with the thought of the gym, look into something different like martial arts classes or a running club.

7. Get a personal trainer.

The cost puts some people off, but a personal trainer may be what you need to break the cycle of avoiding exercise. A trainer can work with you to design a fitness plan to meet your personal goals, and committing to regular sessions means you'll develop a routine.

The rewards of going to the gym or fitness classes or a regular basis are huge. As well as controlling weight and improving your physical health, exercise can reduce stress, improve mental health and help you to sleep better. Once you find ways to keep your motivation for the gym you'll never look back.