I believe 2020 is my fifth(?) year of consistently going to the gym. Since the beginning, I found myself almost quitting every few months, but there were a few things I believe that helped me keep going. In this article, I want to share those things in the hope of helping others wishing to make working out an important part of their lives.
Everything has a price
First things first. You must acknowledge and accept the pros and cons that come with consistently going to the gym. Everybody is thinking about the advantages: get in shape, improve your health, look muscular and ripped, but often overlook the price one has to pay for all of these.
Transforming your physique requires patience, grit, time, and money. Make sure you internalize and completely accept these costs; otherwise, you will turn them into excuses the first time you miss a workout.
Frequency is important
Most beginners can get good results with dieting and going to the gym 3 times per week, but that won’t be frequent enough to help make a habit out of it. It would be best to go 4 to 5 days a week. This way, you also increase the odds of befriending someone at the gym. They don’t have to become your best friends, but going from “Hello” to “Hey, you also come on Friday?” goes a long way in terms of accountability.
You most likely need a personal trainer. Although most of them suck, there are at least two big wins you get from hiring a personal trainer:
1. You get someone to explain you the basics.
A lot of people get all pumped out, go to the gym only to find out they have no clue on how to perform the most basic of exercises. They get embarrassed and use their self-induced shame as an excuse to go home. Don’t be that person. Hire a personal trainer.
No, your cousin that has been training for years won’t be enough. He has his own workout to focus on. You need someone dedicated entirely to you. To be there to correct your mistakes and prevent you from getting injured.
2. An accountability partner.
A bond is created when you start working with a personal trainer. He will encourage you when you’re down and shame you when you miss workout sessions. It doesn’t matter if he wants you to succeed or not – he could just be doing it for the money. As long as he keeps you going, it doesn’t matter why he is doing it.
When to workout
Ideally, you should schedule your sessions after work. Leave the office, hit the gym, go home. Rinse and repeat. If you are a morning person, work out in the morning. But there is one thing you must never do.
Do not come home after your workout. Find a gym with decent showers and shower there! Going from home to gym from gym to home creates too much friction – and you will use it as an excuse to stop. Go to the gym, shower, go to work, then home.
That extra wiggle room you create by going home is the perfect space for you to suddenly decide you are tired. Or that you have chores to do. Or to get stuck working on this side project you have going. Don’t give you room to make bad choices, because you will.
When you are about to quit
Most of the times you will think about quitting because you are nOt sEeIng pRoGreSs. Unless you’ve been hitting the gym for a few years and you have an old photo to compare with, you will see little progress at best.
That’s how it works! It takes years to transform your body. And even after a few years have passed, you won’t be overly impressed with yourself, unless you used to be obese and got lean.
One good way to go against this “not seeing progress” problem is to see progress as skill and remind yourself of how weak and dumb you were when you first started. To remember you couldn’t even keep the bar straight when bench pressing. That you thought deadlift is lifting something lifeless from the ground and skull crushers is some exercise you do for your head.
Set yourself up for success. Acknowledge the costs, get a personal trainer, make it hard to miss workouts, and always remember how ignorant and weak you were when you first started. It’s hard, but I promise it will be worthwhile.