Updated: Aug 19
Six tips to becoming a regular gym-goer and love every minute of it.
Photo Credit: @emilyoberg
Movement is essential for a healthy mind, body, and spirit. Movement is medicine. It's also a form of self-love - so why do so many people think of it as something they have to do or something that feels like a punishment for overeating or something they do for a season to have a good bikini body? First, it's time to shift that perspective. Working out is not a punishment. It's a way to show yourself love, kindness, and respect. It's also one of the best ways to lift your mood, shift your energy, clear your mind, and feel good everyday. I never hated working out, but I found it hard to be consistent for a long time - especially with a full time job.
So here's a quick round-up of how I transformed a weekend workout practice to going 4-5 x a week and loving the results.
#1 - Find an activity (or a few) you like and truly enjoy.
For a long time, I liked cardio - I was a big SoulCycle fan, but it was hard on my adrenals. I would feel a high after, but my body would be exhausted later. I also went to high-intensity group classes, did the elliptical machines at Equinox, dabbled in barre, or would meet up with a friend at a class. My practice was 1-2 x per week at best. But 4 years ago, I started Pilates and fell in love with it. I find the low-impact workouts much more gentle on the body. The movements are small, but you can feel the burn. Other times, it feels like a nice long stretch.
I was also interested in tennis, so I started taking tennis lessons (once a week on the weekend was enough cardio for me). Plus, it's a nice way to get outside and be in the sun or spend time with someone you have fun with.
Oh, and walking counts too - I've always loved going for long walks. When I lived in San Francisco, I would go for long walks around the beautiful neighborhoods and up the steep hills. Now, I love a good beach walk or walking my dog if it's my day off from Pilates.
"Pilates is the complete coordination of mind, body, and spirit." – Joseph Pilates
#2 - Find a studio with a vibe you like & something convenient for you.
If the gym or studio isn't close enough to your house or office, it will be hard to be consistent. But make sure it's a place that makes you feel good. Do you like the music? Do you like the machines? Is it clean? Do you like the people? It has to feel like a place you want to be.
#3 - Try out the teachers to see which ones you enjoy the most and stick to their classes.
How can you enjoy yourself if you don't like the instructor? Do they have uplifting energy? Do they make you laugh? Do you like their movements and routines? Do they pay attention to you and make corrections? If the vibe is mutual, then it's a match.
#4 - Figure out if you are a morning or evening workout person
Self-awareness is key here. When do you have the most energy? What time works with your schedule? Once you know what works best for you, stick to that.
#5 - Invest in yourself by purchasing an unlimited package or membership
This will keep you consistent, and it will also save you money because studios offer a discount when you buy classes in a package or sign up for a monthly membership. Also, many studios offer a free first class or a discounted package at a very affordable rate, which is a great way to try them out before you commit. Once you commit, download their app and book your favorite classes/instructors in advance, so they don't fill up before you get in. While there may be days you aren't in the mood - you'll feel great after and thank yourself for showing up.
#6 - Take rest days
Rest days are just as important. You need to give your body a break and time to recover. Always stay tuned to how you are feeling and listen to your body.
The more you go, the more you will see results (including the mental/mood benefits) and feel encouraged to go.
Keep in mind if you are starting something new, be patient with yourself. It may take some time to build up your practice, but the more you go, the more confident you will become.