On finally finding my way in the gym

On finally finding my way in the gym

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Fitness is something that I have struggled with for years.

As a kid it never really bothered me – Sure I’d rather watch The Powerpuff Girls or learn about henry the eighth and all his wives than play sports but I still spent most of my free time running around on the green outside with my friends or riding my bike through the village for hours on end. I played netball through primary school and when I moved up to big school I was selected for the netball team, regularly going to other schools or competing in tournaments. I still DESPISED running and athletics but I would try my hardest in hockey and football.

Then I got dropped from the netball team for better, stronger players and our PE class got merged with another – and a girl who took a dislike to me for no apparent reason just so happened to be in that class.

I began to dread PE, often forgetting my kit or standing on the edges refusing to get stuck in.

In year ten my Mum wrote me a note accusing me from PE permanently and I instead used that time to get ahead with my art coursework.

Since leaving school I haven’t really bothered with fitness.

I joined the gym in 2013 and trying weightlifting for a while but a trip to Orlando soon broke my routine and I cancelled my membership.

I’ve tried various classes over the years and even though I enjoyed them, none of them ever really stuck as I would end up aching for days afterwards and couldn’t be bothered going by the time the next class rolled around.

My recent foray into the world of the gym started in September (I think). I was convinced that this was it this time, I was going to get buff as hell, I would be fit as a fiddle and I would be one of those women who frequented the gym three times a week.

Well, dear readers, that’s not what happened.

I half heartedly went to the gym, occasionally paying for a personal training session in the hop that it would give ma burst of motivation…And it did for all of five minutes.

Over Christmas – when I had two whole weeks off – I didn’t go to the gym once, something that I continued into January and February.

Then March rolled around, my tummy was feeling a little wobblier than usual and I decided to go back to the gym.

This time I bypassed a 45 minute weights routine and decided to face my biggest fear – The Treadmill.

As I go to the gym on a dinnertime I usually flying han solo in there so I thought there was no better time to climb aboard than then.

On my first try I went super steady, doing 2.75 kms in half an hour (I have a time limit as I have to get back to work). I thought that that would be it and I wouldn’t go back but the following Wednesday I found myself back on the treadmill, determined to do a bit more. This time I managed 3.15kms. I ached and I was sweaty but I did it. And you know what? I went back Friday too, completing 3.3 km.

Mate, that’s more exercise in a week than I’ve probably done since the year began.

The next week I went back and again, managed M-W-F.

Then I did it again.

And again.

And I even went at 8am a couple of times (still no weekend visit though).

I KNOW!

All this time I’ve been avoiding fitness and the gym and it turns out I’ve been doing the wrong sort of exercise the entire time.

Weights are good sure, but I found them super boring meaning I avoided my gym sessions. Deciding to do a mix of cardio and weights has left me feeling motivated, energised and excited to see how I progress over the coming weeks (I’ve even looking into doing a charity 10k – !!!!!!!!!).

I’m feeling amazing now that I go to the gym regularly and according to my husband I seem a lot happier and sparklier than I did pre-gym. He says that he can tell that I’ve been working out (he might just be saying this though, I dunno) and that spurs me on to keep it up and to work even harder. Every time I go, I’m running that little bit further for that little bit longer and even though sometimes I can’t be arsed, or I’m exhausted, I still drag myself there and have #NoRegrats once I’m done.

Right now I’m loving going to the gym but I am a realist so I know that there is probably going to be a shelf date on this new found passion so I’m making the most of it whilst the motivation is still there. I hope that it becomes a part of my day to day life but who knows if I will keep it up or not. In the meantime though I thought I would finish this post by sharing a couple of tips on how I motivate myself to go to the gym:

Experiment with a whole host of different exercises and classes

In the past I’ve tried going to the gym with a buddy, I’ve tried a variety of different gyms, I’ve been to Barrecore, circuits, meta fit and I’ve even had a couple of personal training sessions to give me the kick up the arse that I so badly needed. As much as I enjoyed classes and exercising with a partner I’m much better going solo and doing my own thing – Dunno why, it’s just what works for me. I like putting my headphones on, blocking out the rest of the world and just getting on with it. A cardio/weights mix is what’s working for me at the moment but I’m tempted to get another PT session scheduled so I can learn some workouts for my core. If you HATE exercising then it could just be that you are doing the wrong exercise – The one for you might be swimming, boxing or even a dance class. It’s worth trying loads of different options and figuring out what works for you.

Bribe yourself to go

Okay, by bribe yourself I don’t mean buy yourself a new high end lipstick or go to McDonalds every time you go to the gym (although every now and again is totally okay). I just mean that to get you in the routine of going you should find an incentive to go – For me, it’s an opportunity to listen to all of my favourite podcasts as I can never seem to find the time to listen to them unless I go to the gym. Just find something that works for you and roll with it – It could be that you just want to have a Dominos meal deal for lunch on Friday or that you have a new album to listen to from your fave artist. Anything that gets you there really.

Find a time to exercise that is right for you

I’ve tried going to the gym on a morning, after lunch, straight from work and later on an evening but my favourite time to go has to be a lunch time as it’s dead at that time. I’d rather stay in bed on a morning and if I plan to go on an evenings one of two things happens – either A) the gym is jam packed and I can’t get on anything or B) I talk myself out of it by 5pm and can’t be arsed going. Lunch times work much better for me, especially as Jody’s parents look after Bruce a couple of times a week now, meaning I don’t have to rush home to let him out. I personally think that finding the perfect time for you to exercise is vital, cos otherwise you just won’t enjoy it as much.

Set yourself some small goals

Obviously big goals are never a bad thing but when you first start working out smaller goals keep you much more motivated. Yes, wanting to run a 10k in just over an hour can only be a good thing but it takes a lot of time and effort to get there. Instead break it down to something more attainable – For example I average around 3.5kms in 30 minutes: By the end of April I would like to be able to do 4kms in half an hour, Completing a 5k in at least 40 minutes. Basically I’m just trying to run that little bit further every time I step on to the treadmill. Eventually I would like to run without stopping for 20 minutes but that’s a long way off just yet. Big goals are fabulous but if you don’t see progress straight away it can really dampen your spirits so start small – You’ll get there!

Don’t let anyone else get in your way or in your head

A lot of people don’t like going to the gym because they’re worried that people will stare at them but the truth is, noone cares. They really don’t. People go to the gym to achieve their own goals and 9 times out of 10 they aren’t paying attention to anyone else in there – I know I don’t. So get it out of your head that other people are watching you because they most certainly aren’t. Once you stop giving a shit about the other gym-goers things get a lot easier and you’ll find yourself enjoying your workout. And outside of the gym? If the people surrounding you are taking the piss out of you trying to better yourself then balls to them, at least you’re trying.

I’m gunna finish this post off now because we are at 1600 words – quite possibly the longest post I’ve ever written and it’s about fitness! I’m so glad that I’ve finally found a routine in the gym and I really hope my tips on how I managed that help at least one of you.

What’s your number one motivator for going to the gym or engaging in a physical activity?
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