7 Tips to help you keep your new year's gym resolution
As a nation, we're wasting £37 million a year on gym membership, with the average person stopping use of the membership after just 18 months. January is statistically the most popular time for gyms, and many of us (ourselves included) have promised ourselves that we'll get fit and healthy for the new year. Perhaps surprisingly, a survey by GoCompare.com revealed that 77% of people fail to follow through on their resolutions to lose weight and get fit - that's an overwhelming majority (1)!
If you're anything like the Expertrain team, your fitness is important to you, so why is it oh-so-hard to motivate yourself and all too easy to get into bad habits during the winter months? Shorter, darker days and hectic work schedules could leave you feeling wiped out, and many of us continue paying for gym membership long after we have stopped using the service. Luckily, there are some things you can do to ensure you keep your new year's gym resolutions - our 7 tips will have you up and out the door in no time!
#1. Join for the right reasons
Don't join the gym just because society says you should after Christmas. Yes, so your friends and family might all be doing it, but it's actually better to wait until February to join, since you'll know you aren't just following the herd - and the gym will be a whole lot less busy then too! You might have indulged a little too much over the Christmas period, but make sure that joining the gym is right for you; maybe you'd prefer another type of exercise? Dance classes, boxing, martial arts, yoga, pilates, bouldering - these are just a few of the classes you could join, without a gym membership in sight! Or why not take up running? If you sign up for the wrong reasons, you're more likely to drop out; conversely, if you choose a form of exercise you enjoy, it will be easier to stick to your guns. We say, make sure you're doing this for yourself, not for anyone else!
#2. Set yourself realistic goals
There's little point in expecting a month of gym membership to result in a Sylvester-Stallone-in-Rocky body - it just ain't going to happen! By setting yourself realistic, achievable goals, you're less likely to break your resolutions and more likely to achieve them. A good way to get started is to think about where you'd like to be in terms of health and fitness in two weeks, a month, three months, 6 months and a year's time. Then think of ways you can reach those goals - these could relate to your workout, your diet and your lifestyle. If you're struggling, a personal trainer can help with workout planning and goal setting.
#3. Hire a personal trainer
Most gyms have an in-house personal trainer and they're there for a reason (not just to look good - although they probably do!) Whether you're looking to tone up, lose weight or build muscle - or all three - they can help you to achieve and smash those goals. From healthy eating advice to achieving your personal best when it comes to fitness, a personal trainer can motivate you and inspire you. Let's face it - you're more likely to feel you can achieve your goals when you have a fitness professional on hand telling you it's possible. If you don't want to work with the trainer at your gym, why not hire your own personal trainer for fitness outside the gym?
#4. Eat a healthy diet
The better your diet, the better you'll feel. When you think about how sluggish you feel after a takeaway pizza or a bowl of ice cream, it's easy to realise that eating unhealthily won't motivate you to get up off the sofa and hit the gym. Eating a healthy diet can motivate you to make healthier choices, and by loading your body with lean protein, plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and a healthy dose of carbs, you'll benefit from increased energy levels that will make it easier to exercise. Make sure you're eating enough calories to sustain your energy levels if you're hitting the gym regularly - we recommend one of our healthy post-workout snacks to refuel.
#5. Bust gym boredom
Gym boredom is one of the top reasons why we stop going to the gym, and if you don't want to break your new year's resolutions, keep reading! Rather than spending half an hour running on the treadmill every day of the week, mix it up a little. Vary the lengths of your workouts, try legs one day, arms another, then focus on abs. Sign up for classes and try something new, so you always have a reason to look forward to the gym. Or turn your gym sessions into a social occasion by meeting up with friends for a workout rather than you usual cakes and coffee or trip to the pub.
#6. Get a fitness buddy
Committing yourself to a gym membership is too easy - just sign on the dotted line and promise yourself you'll make the most of your membership. But get yourself a fitness buddy and you're making a commitment to them too! You can't flake on your fitness partner just because you fancy an extra hour in bed, so find a friend, co-worker or another gym member who's also trying to stick to a fitness routine this new year and you'll motivate each other. It doesn't matter if you're new to fitness whilst they've been training for years - in fact, having a fitter friend could push you to work harder!
#7. Treat yourself - you deserve it
Hard-earned benchmarks deserve a reward, so if you've managed 30 minutes on the treadmill or 50 laps of the pool, treat yourself! We're not talking about food or anything that could potentially undo all your hard work, but why not enjoy a pedicure, manicure or massage? Buy some new workout gear or running shoes, or meet friends and catch a movie. Regularly treating yourself can motivate you to work even harder to reach your goals (2).