The new year often means a packed gym, and while it’s easy for the regular gym-goers to get frustrated by the new crop of patrons ready to get healthy, we need to congratulate them for wanting to make a change. Also, we can’t use this as an excuse to not go to the gym. Hear that, self?
I’m full of excuses. Here are my favorites:
- It’s just too cold outside (to get into a car and go to a warm place.)
- My muscles need rest (from sitting on the couch for the last few days.)
- My iPod isn’t fully charged, and I can’t work out without a new podcast to listen to (yes – technically, I can.)
And finally, #4: I’m bored and haven’t seen improvement recently.
While this excuse is definitely the most valid, it shouldn’t be a reason to throw in the towel. If you’re feeling less than motivated to go to the gym, it’s possible that your workout just needs to change. Here are ten signs that’ll tell you if you’ve fallen into this trap, as well as ways you can get creative with your workouts in 2014.
1. You go to the gym and leave the gym at exactly the same time. While this is a sign that you’ve built up quite the routine, it could also mean that you’ve mentally checked out of going. If you’re used to hitting the elliptical after work, try taking an early morning jog around the neighborhood instead. Who knows – maybe it’ll be the boost of energy you need that you figured you could only get from coffee. (But go ahead and drink that coffee anyway.)
2. You can never “feel it” the next morning. While it’s totally important to not overdo it while at the gym, there’s a satisfaction that a tiny bit of shoulder soreness can give you. It’s a physical cue that your body is truly getting stronger. (Keep in mind, a lot of pain or exhaustion is a negative!) While all exercise is good, maybe try to push yourself a little bit. If you need inspiration, watch an episode of The Biggest Loser and imagine Jillian Michaels screaming at you to keep running.
3. You don’t know what half of the machines at your gym do. Sure, you got the full tour of the place when you signed up – but you figured that you were just in it for the complimentary spin classes, and not for the metal slabs that look like they’ll crush your torso, so you didn’t pay too much attention. Maybe it’s time to mix things up a bit, and at least figure out the benefits of branching to the “other side” of your gym.
4. Your workout DVDs are hilarious. If you find yourself laughing at how silly some of the routines look on screen from your couch, there’s a good chance that you might not have found your workout guru yet. Get some recommendations from friends, and check out a few reviews online to find out which tapes will be the most beneficial.
5. You have one outfit you work out in, and it might resemble your high school gym clothes. Back in my high school, we didn’t have gym uniforms – and I get silently jealous at every fictional school from movies and TV shows that features them. Every day I wore an old pair of sweatpants and a free t-shirt from my neighborhood block party, circa 4-years-earlier. I barely participated in whatever sport I was enrolled in. When you look good, you feel good. Every girl should have the right gear. I recommend a polyester Patagonia shirt (it won’t make you feel sweaty!) a pair of yoga pants, and a supportive sports bra. It also never hurts to get a great sports bottle – my Camelbak is my favorite.
6. You’re just plain miserable. Maybe you found some routines that promise quick results, but they just bore you to tears. Exercise can, and should be, fun if you choose something that makes you happy. Keep in mind that exercise isn’t limited to running and yoga – if you love swimming, find a gym with an indoor pool you can use all season. If you love dancing, try to find a salsa dancing class. While I’ve personally never taken part in Zumba, I haven’t had one friend tell me they didn’t have a blast while shaking their butts off.
7. Your workout mix is stuck in the 90′s. As a big fan of the 90′s, I can sympathize. However, if you have the same ten songs on repeat, you’re probably exercising at the same exact pace every time while neglecting the opportunity to check out new, fun music in the process. Certain songs can make you work out harder. I mentioned podcasts earlier, since I’ve learned that I’m just way more productive while listening to them. My favorites are WTF with Marc Maron and The Nerdist – and since they upload new episodes for free on iTunes pretty regularly, they’re always fresh.
8. You’d love to run a marathon, but you’ve talked yourself out of it. Talking yourself out of your fitness goals – even if they’re a year away! – is a sign that you’re not confident with your ability to totally rock. By wanting something and refusing to acknowedge that you’re capable of getting it, you’re pretty much admitting to yourself that you’re settling for comfort. You’re too young for that. Sign up, train, and remember how crazy-proud you’ll be when you finish.
9. Your personal goals have changed. All it took was one look at a picture of Halle Berry’s abs last year to get you to join. All of a sudden, you’re taking a kickboxing class – since supposedly, that’s what Halle did. A year has passed, and you attended maybe 5 kickboxing classes. You kind of lost motivation, and abs? Eh. Now it’s about the arms, baby. While exercising all of your muscles is smart, make sure you know what goals you have going into your workout. Not all machines are created equal.
10. Whatever you’re doing just isn’t working. It sounds mean when you say it out loud, but I’m sure we’ve all been there. If you have a weight goal, you can be working your butt off to see no change at all. Sometimes the pounds will come off and the muscles will define in the beginning, but then you’ll realize you’ve reached a plateau. It’s frustrating! Try and change up your routine, and see if things move forward again. It’s super easy to give up when goals aren’t met – and while you might not see those changes on the outside, they’re definitely happening on the inside. So try to remember that when you’ve hit a wall with your results.
Keep in mind, exercise doesn’t always need to be hardcore. Even taking a walk around a local park on a nice day is much better than sitting around watching TV. Healthy means being active, so try and mix up your routine this year!
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