It is fair to say that millions of people around the world like the idea of improving their health and well-being, well in theory. Putting this initial motivation to good use, visiting the gym on a regular basis and doing something to increase your daily exercise is all very simple at the start. However, once the initial “honeymoon period” is over, what motivates you? Prompts you to go through the boredom/pain barrier to visit the gym? What keeps you interested?
Setting realistic goals
Whether thin, average or overweight, it is extremely easy to set unrealistic goals when you first start visiting the gym. You will expect to shed stones or pounds in a matter of days, create that holiday body overnight and improve your health and well-being no end. The reality is very different, building muscle tone takes time and effort, one half hour blast on the treadmill won’t turn you into a lean mean fighting machine and lifting a couple weight does not make you a bodybuilder. So, in order to retain any degree of longevity and motivation you need to be realistic.
Set yourself gradual weight loss targets then slowly build up your exercise on different pieces of apparatus and do not try to emulate somebody else at the gym. Be yourself, be realistic and above all enjoy.
Introducing gradual changes
In the early days the vast majority of those people who join a gym for the first time will be all over the place, they will try every piece of machinery, every exercise but this is not sustainable in the longer term. Focus on a particular part of your body one day and then switch to somewhere else the next day and in between ensure you have rest days. Whether you are looking to change the type or duration of exercise in question, any changes should be introduced gradually.
It is fair to say that gradual changes are not necessary for everybody but a gradual change in your diet or a gradual change in your exercise routine will help. In a similar fashion to the way in which a frog will jump out of hot water to protect itself, but remains unmoved if the water temperature is gradually increased, your body and mind will not notice any difference as you introduce gradual changes. The end goal may be significant but if this is done on a gradual basis it is more likely to stick.
Making workouts fun
It is all good and well having serious long-term goals to improve your health and fitness, improve your muscle mass and your durability. The idea of visiting the gym is obviously to improve your health but it can also be enjoyable. The vast majority of people new to the world of gyms and additional exercises see them as a chore to get out of the way at the start of the day. However, it does not necessarily have to be this way!
Whether working with a gym buddy or by yourself, it is possible to make gym workouts fun and enjoyable. Set small targets, mix up various exercises and above all chat with your fellow fitness fanatics in the gym. Having a race on the treadmill or rowing machine can be fun as well as extremely good for your health. Why not socialise with your fellow gym enthusiasts? We’re not necessarily talking about big meals or a lot of drinks, but just time to unwind, chat and compare notes.
Many people who join the gym are regular visitors in the early days but will “beat themselves up” if they miss a day, miss an exercise or perhaps they are unable to stick to their new diet. Time spent thinking about something you can’t change is time wasted. Successful gym goers are able to focus on the future, look at the wider picture and for example where they may have overindulged, they will consider their calorific intake on a monthly basis.
Controlled aggression is useful when pushing yourself to the limit, aggression based upon the past and something you cannot change is a waste of time. Even the most ardent gym fanatics will never be able to stick to their diet or exercise program to the letter. There will be days they miss, days cut short but maintaining focus on long-term goals is vital.
As they say, a little bit of what you fancy will never harm you, but one element often overlooked when looking to improve your health and well-being is a simple sleeping pattern. Aside from the fact that when exercising regularly your body does need to rest in order to recuperate and rebuild bigger and stronger muscle, a lack of sleep will have an impact upon your mood and your enthusiasm for your family, working life and exercise routines.
Many people also have an issue with late-night bingeing where on many occasions they are not necessarily hungry but just bored. It may surprise you to learn just how many people “lose weight” by introducing a healthier sleeping routine which does not involve continuous late nights and limited sleep. The general consensus seems to be that eight hours of sleep is sufficient for an adult but in reality we are all different, some will require less sleep while others will require more.
Don’t get obsessed
You will find that a visit to the gym is more productive when you have little on your mind, your family life is settled and your working life is going well. A clear mind is directly connected to a healthy body because it allows you to focus on your exercises as opposed to your mind being “miles away”. It is also imperative that you put aside time to maintain an active and healthy social life with friends and family and ensure that you do not overdo it at the gym and become obsessed. While many of us automatically assume that improvements in our health are just physical, we all need to consider our mental health as well.
So, prioritise what really matters in your life, ensure that you are not becoming obsessed with exercise and above all put aside plenty of time to socialise with friends and family.