From Gym Dropout to Fitness Enthusiast: My Journey to Enjoying Exercise
Admittedly, I have a unique talent (and I say this with a hint of pride) – I'm a master at signing up for gym memberships and then promptly quitting them. It's almost an art form for me.
So, here's the inside scoop on how it typically unfolds:
1. Sign up for a gym membership.
2. Go every day for one month.
3. Go sporadically for two months.
4. Don't go for three to four months.
5. Ponder if I should cancel.
6. Don't cancel.
7. Remain a member for another three months.
8. Spend one week hyping self up to call and cancel membership.
9. Ask husband to call and cancel for me.
10. Repeat until I die.
See! It's effective every time.
And look, it's not because I hate exercising but I invariably end up doing classes that get boring.
Repetitive. Shout-y. (Why do they yell so much??).
I'll then usually fall into the 'I can just do it myself' trap and try to structure my own workout program through 45 thousand five-second videos I've saved on Instagram.
But then I remember I don't really know what I'm... doing.
And my left knee kinda hurts a bit. And... why does it feel like everyone in the gym is always staring??
In any case, you'll be proud to hear I didn't sign up for a new gym membership this year.
Not because I'll end up quitting (okay, that too) but because I've discovered a way to finally start enjoying exercise.
And it doesn't involve going into a crowded room full of sweaty, yell-y gym bros and feeling like poo.
Wanna hear what they are? Here are three things that have genuinely changed the way I exercise.
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1. I realised you don't have to spend an hour in the gym every day.
You don't! You really don't. One of the biggest things that held me back from staying consistent on the workout wagon is the mentality that there's just not enough time.
I'd wake up at 6am, and while I'd have plenty of time to go to the gym and workout, I'd still try to convince myself it would be too tight.
I'd start trying to factor in things like traffic time, if I'd get parked, sorting out what I'd wear, etc.
and would just end up feeling overwhelmed with ALL of the obstacles and deciding not to exercise.
In reality, of course, most experts will tell you that you don't need to slog it out at the gym for hours on end - more isn't necessarily better.
In fact, science actually tells us that a 20 to 30-minute workout is enough to gain the benefits of exercise.
For me, this makes the whole getting back into exercise thing actually doable because approximately no one wants to spend hours on end in the gym. Show me who.
2. I made it part of my routine.
Another thing I started doing?
Making the conscious decision not to make plans over my designated 'workout time'.
Because it's something I used to do all the time! And often I was the one making the plans! So I didn't have to workout! Ha!
In all seriousness, I started realising that the time I set aside to workout was like an appointment or a work meeting.
And while it's okay to miss it every now and then, continuously prioritising other things over my designated workout time just derailed my fitness routine and made me feel like poo.
While it can be really tricky to build new habits, making regular exercise one of those non-negotiable things I just needed to complete throughout the week meant that instead of throwing it in the 'don't have time' basket.
So, now I carve out regular times throughout the week when I'll exercise.
It's different for everyone, but this is just one way that works for me in keeping myself accountable without having to overthink it (or make excuses!).
3. I found something I enjoyed.
While finding the motivation to work out can sometimes be a slog, it really bloody helps if you actually enjoy whatever kind of exercise you're doing.
If you don't (see above: me quitting 45 gyms every single year), the chances of you creating healthy habits long-term are not... promising.
I finally realised that in order for me to stick with exercising regularly, I needed to find a type of fitness routine that fit into my lifestyle and made me actually excited and motivated to workout.
Along with going to a regular boxing class on the weekend
I've been using MOVE for the past few months and I love not only how easily the at home workouts fit into my life but also how enjoyable it is which is something I never thought I'd find.
Meaning? I'm more likely to stick to it.
As someone who has never tried Pilates, I've been dipping my toes into different things and mixing it up.
It's exciting, different and surprisingly fun.
Better yet, I'm feeling stronger after each session and my mental health is way better for it.
The best part? I don't even have to leave the house.
The opinions shared in the GymNation blog articles are solely those of the respective authors and may not represent the perspectives of GymNation or any member of the GymNation team.