I haven't waffled on about my new found love for the gym on my blog yet, so I thought it was about time. And since quite a few people have asked me 'how I do it' concerning my 5-6 days a week gym sessions, I thought I would share with all my lovely readers how I've managed to stay motivated, and how you can too! Obviously I'm by no means a professional, and all this information is from my own research and experience.
So firstly, goals.
If you set unrealistic goals to complete within a short amount of time, you're likely to fail, disappoint yourself and crawl back into bed with a big bar of chocolate. So instead, try small goals, even on a weekly basis. Set yourself a distance to run or a weight to lift. You'll feel good about yourself when you complete these goals, and feel motivated to complete the next one.
Along with goals, you need to know what you want to change.
If you go to the gym holding a photo of Nicole Scherzinger and say 'I want to look like this' you may be disappointed. Look at yourself for your own inspiration. By all means, look at others too to inspire you, but let your body help you decide what goals you want to reach and how you want to look, without a celebrity cut out in your hand. Remember you can't target only one area. To complete your goals, you need to know what you're aiming for. And most importantly, don't compare yourself to other people.
If you say you're too busy for the gym, you're usually lying to yourself. The gym is often a time slot that is sacrificed for an extra hour in bed, a tv programme that just has to be watched, or any other excuse under the sun. If you don't think you have time, assess your day and what you actually do with it. Of course as a student I do have a lot more time than most, but I chose to cut out the time I spend watching netflix or being lazy in bed and dedicate it to the gym. Once you find the time for your gym sessions, it becomes second nature.
Whilst my diet still isn't perfect, I've taken things out that I simply don't need. I still let my body give in to cravings, so if I fancy some chocolate, I'll have some. Diet isn't about restricting yourself of everything, it's about understanding moderation. And seriously understanding it. Also, if your goal is weight loss, don't think that because you're now going to the gym you can eat more or anything you want. If your diet is still bad you're not going to notice changes, and therefore won't feel motivated to keep going.
I believe music is a really under-rated aspect of motivation. With the right playlist you can feel so much more motivated. Before you go to the gym, put your workout playlist on and you'll begin to feel motivated. I go to the gym after hours in lectures and seminars, and sometimes feel as though I just can't be bothered. As soon as I get on the bus into town, I put on my headphones and keep them on until I get changed for my workout. That way I already feel motivated. Make sure you vary your playlist too, if you become bored of the songs you're listening to you'll become bored of the gym too, so keep it updated and full of a variety of different songs that motivate you.
Plan a routine
As with your goals, you need to know what you're doing. Go to the gym with an idea or a set routine of what you're going to be doing. If you need any help on machines or just some general advice, don't be afraid to ask gym instructors. If you feel stupid with what you're doing at the gym, you're not going to feel motivated to go again. Once you're used to your routine mix it up a bit, set higher goals so every time you work out you're pushing yourself that little extra bit. But don't go over the top and aim too high, lifting things too heavy for you or running too fast/far etc will cause you injury.
Rest days are just as important as days at the gym, if you don't give yourself a break you'll find you're likely to give up more easily. Start with just 2 or 3 days at the gym, and if you want, add more as you go. If you attempt 5 or 6 days your first week of going you'll be pooped by week 2 and have no interest in going again for another month! When you have days where one area of your body is hurting, try work out another area the next day or the day after. Try not to have too many days off in a row, as you'll find you'll start the week motivated and end it not feeling up for your second session.
I said earlier that you shouldn't compare yourself to other people, and this is a very important thing in my books. Going to the gym can be nerve racking for many people, and it may take you a few times to really feel comfortable. If you go often enough you'll start to realise no one really cares about you - in the nicest way possible - because they're all doing their own thing. Often people feel like they can't go to the gym alone, but since I started going alone I've felt really motivated. I go with friends or my boyfriend sometimes, and it's nice for a change to have people I can run through a routine with or attend a class with, but to push yourself that little extra bit I find being alone often helps. People often say pairing up with a friend will help motivate you because you won't want to let your friend down, the way I view it, if you skip your workout day the only person you're letting down is yourself, whether you have a friend to meet or not.
I hope all this personal advice helps someone! It's all about finding what suits you when it comes to the gym from my experience, work around your schedule and your body's capabilities. If you'd like to hear more about my life as a gym goer, do let me know!