Finding Motivation For The Gym

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Settle down and grab yourself a snack, this is a long one guys. For many, the hard slog of the gym is something which is dreaded, not anticipated. The waking up early and actually walking to the gym is normally the worst part, because once you're there and throw yourself into it, it really isn't half as bad as you imagined it to be. The main downfall of the gym is plucking up the courage and digging deep in search of motivation. Once you're in the right frame of mind and have the right attitude, then it all becomes a hell of a lot easier. I personally feel that you can have two outlooks on the gym which require a different mindset. 

If you want to go to the gym to lose weight, then it's very important that you get into a routine and also organise an eating plan. This does not mean you go to the gym seven times a week and live off green leaves. That's a massive no no. A balanced diet works wonderfully when hand in hand with a regular gym routine. Meat and fish are brilliant for maintaining a healthy balanced diet if you eat them with vegetables. By all means throw some carbs in but when dishing up potatoes, focus on portion control and try and downsize. Again, this doesn't mean you can't treat yourself and indulge, but limit yourself to having something naughty once or twice a week, depending on how serious you are about losing weight. The golden rule is that if you are specifically going to the gym for weight loss, you cannot carry on eating a carb-infested sugar-heavy diet. It just isn't going to work. There are a lot of great websites and books to advise you on exactly what exercise you should be doing and what foods are good for you.

If you're going to the gym purely for toning and aren't conscious of your weight, then I feel you can be a little more relaxed. I am happy with my weight and weigh on average what I should for my height. All I go to the gym for is to tighten and tone specific areas that I think could benefit from a work-out. I'm very lucky and have an incredibly fast metabolism so in general I don't put on weight. I guess for me my skin could just be a little tighter so at the moment I'm working on my abs, bum and side of my thighs. Taking this into account I am by no means strict when it comes to my diet and I think if you gym it purely for the toning side, then you can afford to be naughty when it comes to food. Obviously try and stay healthy with your meals and drink a lot of water, but don't feel guilty if you have a couple of biscuits or a takeaway at the weekend. 

Whether you want to go to the gym for either of those reasons, it's still just as hard to get motivated. If we saw instant results then the gym would seem much more appealing. However, it apparently takes four weeks for you to notice a difference, 8 weeks for friends and family to notice a difference and 12 weeks for everybody else around you to notice a difference. So bear that in mind if you have a down day and are deflated about not seeing the benefits just yet. Another thing to be mindful of is the scales. Whatever you do, don't become dependent on weighing yourself because this really doesn't help. Weigh yourself either every week or fortnight and note this down. This way you can track your progress which will encourage you to carry on what you're doing. Another handy little tip is to keep a food diary. This way, if you know you treated yourself a little too much yesterday, you can reign it in and have a healthy day.

Before you get started you need a few essentials to kit yourself out. The gym can be expensive in itself, but buying kit to wear to the gym is also a nightmare. Grey can show sweat patches, lycra leggings can be unattractive and a sports bra can make you feel like a 70-year-old. But if you do a little digging in Sports Direct if you have one, there are some serious bargains to be found. Start off with a pair of three quarter length trousers, a pair of shorts, a few gym tops, a sports bra and a sturdy pair of trainers. You can alternate these items and wash one set when the other set is being worn. Considering I bought a decent pair of trainers among my gym wear, these four items cost me just under £50 - bargain. Also, don't forget a bottle of water as it's extremely important to keep hydrated when exercising. 

It's best not to go into the gym all guns blazing by pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion. You're likely to fall flat on your face and embarrass yourself just because you wanted to prove a point. Take it easy. Ten minutes walking on a treadmill followed by ten minutes on the bike and a ten minute floor session doing sit-ups, stretches and crunches is miles better than sitting at home doing nothing. Once you get into a routine and get comfortable, then you can push yourself a little further and up the pace. Baby steps are better. I promise. It's very easy to become a little obsessed but that isn't healthy. Whether you goal is to lose a few pounds or half a stone, exercise and eat in moderation. If you stick at it then you'll definitely be proud of yourself when you see the hard work paying off.

You have to make a decision between what you want to eat there and then, and what you want to look like in the long run. There are lots of great tips and tricks online as to what to replace certain foods we crave with, which contain similar addictive ingredients. This goes without saying, do your research before hand, create a little plan and give yourself small stepping stones to achieve, not one huge goal as it will definitely be more effective. I am by no means an expert as my gym membership was practically wasted for the first two terms of university. It's better late than never as now I'm taking it seriously and making the most of the few weeks I have left. Once I get home I'll be using the Davina Fitness mobile app which gives you a selection of different workouts to follow, offering video tutorials for each exercise. This is also really handy if you can't afford the gym but want to try and get fit. These are just my little tips and a general guide on how to tackle the gym, but everyone's different so find what works for you and stick at it.

Don't complain about things you are not willing to work hard to change.

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