The hardest part about the gym isn’t the workout part.
It’s the bit that comes before: getting there.
Dragging your arse over when you’re knackered from work and you can think of a gazillion other things you’d rather be doing (… like napping, watching The Sinner, hanging out with your partner or eating peanut butter out of the jar).
I’ve had days where I wake up with the best of intentions but by lunch time, I know the gym simply isn’t happening. Worse? I’d leave work fully meaning to go to the gym, but when I got home to change clothes… Well let’s just say the couch is the devil on my shoulder. Peeling myself off that thing after a long day at work is a job in itself.
And that’s when I realised that’s the phase I had to cut out. Getting home is my kryptonite. And I daresay it’d be a similar situation for anyone who has a couch and a hint of sloth in their spirit. (So, most people.)
Since that realisation, in the last two years, of the 4-5 sessions I do per week the number I’ve skipped has been seriously minimal. And even then, it’ll only be for what I consider to be very valid reasons, like working super late, feeling under the weather or catching up with a mate impromptu.
“SO WHAT’S THE SECRET?” I hear you plead. Ok, ok, ok. I’m actually almost scared to tell you because it’s really so stupidly simple.
Every night, I pack a complete gym bag and carry it with me the next day. After work I will never, ever nip home first. Instead, I go directly from the office to the gym. I did this even when my gym was precisely a four-minute walk from my house, meaning you’d think lugging around a gym bag all day was more of an inconvenience than anything. But I didn't want to give myself an easy way out.
When you have a goal to exercise a certain number of times a week, be it two or six, you want to make sure you go on the days you planned to.
With my gym bag on my shoulder, I don’t have time to make up excuses. I’m already out, with my exercise gear. That’s half the challenge already done for me.
LISTEN: Even Michelle Bridges makes excuses. Post continues...
This tactic - and yes, it is a tactic - means even when I’m not totally feeling it, I can go and just have a light session. At least it’s something. Or, I might find myself perking up a bit 10 minutes in.
Of course, this is just my experience. I'm an evening exerciser and I don't have kids to rush home to after work. So this might not be suitable for everybody. Plenty of people have their little tricks for getting to the gym, whether it's going with a friend or going first thing in the morning - both of which weren't viable options for me. There is plethora of ways to outwit your self-discipline, it's just about figuring out what works best for you.
Do you have any tricks for staying disciplined with your workouts? Tell us in the comments below.