Parts 3 & 4: Workout Motivation, Tips & Tricks


PART THREE: Reason to Choose a Gym

In my last post, I talked about the benefits of choosing to workout at home and described some basic equipment and tools that I enjoy having in my home workout space. Today, I want to talk about the benefits of working out in a gym and why you might choose to go somewhere rather than workout at home.

Going to a gym:
There’s not much say here. I love going to a gym mainly because of what if offers in terms of equipment and amenities. I also find that I’m a lot more motivated to workout and push myself when I’m at the gym; the minute I walk in, I’m excited to be there. When you’re in the right space, it’s easier to get in the right frame of mind and be motivated and focused.

What I love most about going to a gym:
Lots of equipment: While I love that I’ve created a positive workout space at home with some basic equipment, I really enjoy being able to go to a gym and choose from a variety of cardio machines (elliptical, stair climber, rowing machine, treadmill, etc.) and strength training options: free weights, kettlebells, machines, decline/incline benches, plyometric boxes, and specialized pieces of equipment.

Sauna: Not every gym has a sauna, but many do. While there are a lot of reported health benefits to sauna, the thing I love the most about it is the stress-reducing effect it has on me. I enjoy the heat and quiet atmosphere; it helps clear my mind and relax every muscle in my body.

People…but not too many! I find it motivating to have a few people in the gym working out hard alongside me. It’s always nice to know there are other people choosing to make the same commitment to their health. But, I don’t like it when the gym is overcrowded, so I’m careful about choosing what time I go to the gym.

Environment: I’ve touched on this multiple times now, but I can’t stress enough that if you have the right environment, it will be easier to get motivated. Not all gyms are the same, however. If you’ve shopped around for a gym before, you’ve surely noticed how different each can be–both in personality and offerings. At different times in my life, I’ve been a member of Anytime Fitness; Planet Fitness; Golds; Spectrum; L.A. Fitness; and a number of local, independent gyms. Each one has its own vibe. Choose the environment you enjoy.

Classes: Sometimes it’s easier to view a fitness class as more of an appointment than if you just go on your own. Classes are also great if you’re the type that needs someone to keep you going through the workout and extra motivation to push harder. I’ve found that I’m very particular about what classes I do and it mostly depends on the instructor. I have to like the instructor and how they run the workout to be able to fully enjoy and feel like I got what I wanted out of that session. So, try a bunch of classes if your gym offers them and see if there’s one that you might really look forward to.

PART FOUR: Get Moving

Once you’ve decided when and where to workout, the final piece is to choose an activity and get moving! Over the past 20 years, my workouts have ranged from 30 minute weight-lifting sessions combined with hour-long cardio sessions to just one 12-minute High Intensity Interval Training session a day. Understanding where I’m at in life during any particular point, helps me to decide what I’m going to do for my overall program. Be sure to choose something that will help get you to your goals (losing weight, building strength, improving function, increasing range of motion, etc.) and be sure you know what your goals are before you decide!

Now, if you’re looking for a few ideas, here are some of my most favorite activities I’ve enjoyed in the past. As a side note, I’m going to break these out in more detail in future blog posts:

  • Walking (sometimes with a weight vest)
  • Jumping rope
  • Rebounding (mini trampoline)
  • High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
  • Kettlebells
  • Yoga
  • Kickboxing
  • YouTube workout videos
  • Weight lifting


Final Thoughts

Start Small
Have you made it this far and still find yourself thinking: “I don’t want to do any of that!”

If so, remember to start small. It’s taken me 19 years to reach this point. My diet and exercise habits and activities have SLOWLY evolved throughout this time. I remember when I started college, my diet was so bad that the first step for me in cleaning up what I ate was to simply swap out the two cookies I ate everyday for lunch and replace those with a yogurt; later I replaced the yogurt with an apple and everything evolved from there. So if you’re a complete beginner, don’t be afraid to just do a few squats and lunges in your kitchen and a few pushups (even if they’re on your knees) before you go to bed. Don’t feel like you have to change everything overnight, go at your own pace and enjoy the process along the way.

Don’t be afraid to adapt your program and diet as the years go by. Many things in life change and you might find yourself with more or less time, a changing taste for foods, or different obstacles now that you didn’t have one, five, or 10 years ago. Focus on the moment and if you need to change things up, do it.

Rest and Listen
One thing that Crohn’s has finally taught me is that I need to listen to my body. This was hard to do at first, because my brain told me to not miss a workout or I felt I let myself down if I took an unscheduled day off. But as I’ve learned to focus on why I’m working out (better health and immune function and staying agile as I grow old) and what my body needs, I’ve started to understand what it’s telling me. Now, I’m not saying to make 364 days a year a “rest” day…but, if you miss a workout you planned to do, don’t let it derail all the progress you’ve made and plans going forward. Just pick right back up the next day.

Finally, just pick something that gets you moving and that you enjoy! If you do that, you’ll stick with it.
What are the challenges you face in staying motivated to make fitness a part of your life? Comment below and I’ll see if I have some ideas to share!

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