How to Stay Motivated in the Gym
Confession: it’s hard to stay motivated in the gym. As a child, I was very active. I loved to climb trees, bike and rollerblade. Mosquitoes didn’t bother me (they do now, ha!) and neither did getting scrapes and bruises from hitting the pavement many times. My active lifestyle continued throughout high school and a third of the way into college with dance. With schoolwork piling on and life getting busier, I unconsciously put my health on the back burner.
I find it fascinating that I hadn’t noticed my poor food choices nor did I attempt to stay active because I was that distracted.
Until one morning when I was getting dressed and couldn’t fit into my clothes was when I first noticed my weight gain. I really realized it when I saw myself in a group photo with my college friends. Hello muffin top with extra thick icing piped on top! Where did you come from?
I instantly felt bad that I had “let myself go” and yet, I continued to ignore the state of my health until spring/summer of 2013. I accidentally found my friend Jordan on Instagram and connected him with my friend to help her with some weight loss goals.
When I saw her results, I decided to give the products a shot, changed my lifestyle and invested in my health for the last five years.
My mindset became more positive and grew stronger each day. My food choices were improving, I was sleeping better and my energy was crazy high. As a result, I had worked my way back down to a size 2 from a size 6. And for reference, I was a solid 110 pounds of muscle with little body fat percentage and wore XXS/XS/ size 0 in high school. So, to go from a size 0 to a size 6 unnoticed was weird for me.
Today, I’m around a size 8/10. For some, I know it’s hard to believe that I’m that size when you see posts about my outfits. Trust me, I look small because I accepted that I’m no longer the sizes I once was and choose to wear sizes that fit my current body.
Is there anything wrong with being a size 8/10? Absolutely not.
For me, however, I miss my old body because I miss my old clothes that are sitting in my closet waiting for me to wear them again. My goal to get back to a size 2/4 is not for vanity purposes, but to fit into clothes I already own that made me feel confident when I first realized how much I loved fashion. That and I really don’t want to rebuild my wardrobe from scratch nor I want to get rid of clothes that are a ’10’ in my book.
Personally, it’s been a long and hard health journey for me, especially for the last two years. Eating healthier fell by the wayside with so much family stuff going on that at certain times, I ate because of stress. I worked out here and there, going to bootcamps, taking a pilates class, did some yoga, but was never consistent. I had no motivation to exercise all the time.
Going to the gym was a struggle because to me, it wasn’t fun. That and I had and still have no desire or motivation to go to the gym alone. However, if I had a choice between cardio and lifting weights, I’d definitely choose the latter half.
Anyway, I’m proud to say that I’ve been consistently going to the gym at least three times a week for the last eight months. This has been the longest time I’ve ever been consistent in working out. And I’m so proud of myself because it’s hard to stay motivated in the gym. Oh and by gym, I mean anywhere you choose to get your workout in: dance studio, park, boxing gym, etc.
If you’re like me, today, I’m going to give you some fitness motivation and tips on how to stay motivated to work out and release those pesky pounds. Look at me, I sounded like an infomercial there for a second, ha!
First things first, here’s the truth about how to stay motivated in the gym: it’s a daily battle. You will always be fighting this every day.
Newsflash: you’re GOING to fall off the horse. And I have two words for this: Oh well! Get back on the horse and keep going! Here’s the deal, once you’re aware and understand this concept, getting healthy is less stressful.
Another question is, are you really aware of what you’re doing when you do it? If not, those pounds will creep up on you like it did me. Yes, it’s important to recognize when you’re taking negative steps, but more important when you’re aware of the positive steps you’re taking.
How you motivate yourself matters.
How you motivate yourself really matters. Are you the type to be jealous when you see someone with a smokin’ body or can you look at another woman and use her hard work as motivation to improve your body and health? Same action, different perspective. And just because you see a skinny person doesn’t mean that they’re healthy.
We ALL have health struggles. “Skinny people” like me included.
Don’t torture yourself.
Why workout in ways you hate? If you hate running, so? You can get your cardio in through brisk walking, dancing or playing a sport like tennis. And if you really suck at tennis like my friends and I do, I promise you’ll get your cardio in for sure! Don’t forget to mix things up to keep yourself from getting bored. Take a class on the weekend, go to a fitness event. Also, a part of not torturing yourself is giving yourself grace.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, giving yourself grace is one of many ways to stay motivated in the gym.
Progress over perfection. Always.
Staying motivated in the gym is hard when you’ve had long gym breaks, but easy tricks to stay healthy really do exist. It took years for the pounds to pile on so don’t expect it to come off in weeks or months. If I woke up, ate a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner, worked out, but forgot to drink my water, it’s still progress!
Your daily progress is the goal no matter how small your wins are!
More than just a number.
Numbers on a scale doesn’t matter. Your sleep and energy levels do. Everyone’s body is different so instead of looking on the outside, focus on what’s happening on the inside. Are you sleeping better? Are your energy levels rising? If so, that’s amazing progress! If you need further proof, here are women with different body types yet weigh the exact same. Keeping this perspective has been one of the top ways on how I’ve stayed motivated in the gym.
Once you stop caring about the numbers on the scale and start paying attention to your energy levels, that’s when things change for the better.
Set yourself up for success.
Rule of thumb: Don’t wait until January 1st or a Monday to start changing your habits. There’s nothing special about January 1st. Whatever changes you need to make, do it NOW. Take baby steps and start off by creating yourself a workout music playlist. I made mine on Spotify so I can switch out songs any time I want. It’s much easier to throw iron around now (so funny for me to say that) when the playlist is matches my energy level.
Another thing I do is tell myself, “Do it now! Do it now! Do it now!” and physically move. Whether it’s putting my workout clothes on to getting ready for the next set, I never let too much lag time occur otherwise procrastination will set in and I’m done for.
Here’s a tip: understand and know about intentional living and about the 5-second Rule and you’ll be improving on epic levels!
Good workout clothes really do help.
I seriously don’t know what it is, but a great set of workout clothes that make me look and feel good really makes me feel like I can conquer my sweat sessions. I’ve always been a firm believer in what you wear really affects how you feel. If a zombie apocalypse ever happens, put me in the best layers of workout clothes and watch me slay!
Investing in a set or two of workout clothes that lasts a long time and makes you feel great is worth the money.
I hope you’ll take these tips and apply them to stay motivated in the gym because the side affect of consistent action is weight loss, better sleep quality and increased energy.
And who wouldn’t want that?
I hope to fall in love with exercising some day. Wow, that was a really weird sentence to type out, haha! I’m not there yet, but I secretly hope to get motivated in the gym and love it like crazy.
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On a side note, can you believe this is my 300th blog post here on She Sweats Diamonds?! Thank you for your support and for following along on my journey. Without you, this blog would not be possible. Here’s to the next 300 posts!