How to Go to the Gym When You Don’t Want to

Ugh, last week was rough on my exercise program. My plan this year is to always exercise when my kid is off to school. If the kid is in school, then I need to go to the gym. It’s been working incredibly well since New Year, but this past week was very challenging.

How to Go to the Gym When You Don't Want to

Our son was a little sick on Monday, but we packed him off to school anyway. I went to the gym like normal that day. On Tuesday, he was coughing more so we decided he could stay home until he gets better. That’s when the trouble began. I stayed home with our kid and didn’t do much on Tuesday. We watched TV, played games, and just hung out. Of course, I couldn’t go the gym because they don’t have childcare.

By Wednesday, he was a bit better so he went back to school. I wrote a note to his teacher so she can call me if he got worse. He made it through the whole school day so that’s good. However, it was extremely tough for me to get back on my exercise program. It was rainy and cold, and I just didn’t want to leave the house. My throat was scratchy and I thought I was coming down with something. However, I pushed myself out the door and was able to get a subpar workout. The rest of the week didn’t get much better. I felt weak and wasn’t able to do a good workout on Thursday. On Friday, I had less time than usual so I rushed through a workout. It was a tough week, but at least it’s over with. I made it to Saturday and missed just one workout.

Getting to the gym

We all have those days where exercising is the last thing you want to do. However, we also know we need to keep going. Skipping a few days could derail your whole fitness program permanently. Many people already gave up on their New Year’s resolutions. The gym is getting less crowded everyday as people stop working out. How do you avoid this fate? Here are 3 ways to keep going while others quit.

1. Make it a habit and exercise 5 times per week

Did you know that going to the gym 5 times per week is much easier than 3 times per week? Research shows that doing the same thing every day allows your mind to automate it. The scheduling is easier. Your body respond better. Once it becomes a habit, you don’t think much about doing it. Heh heh, it’s just my own personal research actually.

I really believe it’s true, though. Working out 5 times per week is so much easier than 3 times per week. I go to the gym every weekday at 11 am and exercise is built into my schedule. When I tried going 3 times per week, it was a mess. I planned to go twice on the weekdays and once on the weekend. The whole schedule was a mess and I couldn’t stick to it.

Beside, if you plan to exercise 5 days per week and miss one day, it’s not a big deal. We all lead busy lives and it’s not unusual for something to come up. It’s inevitable to miss a day once in a while. Working out 4 days per week is still pretty good. On the other hand, if you plan for 3 days per week and miss one day, it’s a much bigger deal. It’s 33% vs 20%. And exercising 2 out of 7 days is just not good enough.

2. Get dress while you complain

Here is another strategy I use. I put on my workout clothes while I complain. Once I’m dressed for the gym, I might as well go to the gym. I can whine and cry as much as I want as long as I change into my gears. This always worked for me and I have never skip a gym day after I put on my workout clothes. I already spent the effort to get dress so I might as well go to the damn gym. The process of getting ready will make you want to finish the task. Try it out. Get ready for the gym even if you really don’t want to go. See if it works.

3. Promise yourself an easy day at the gym

Here is my last secret weapon – I tell myself to take it easy at the gym. If I feel weak and don’t think I could get a good workout that day, I will just go and take it easy. I tell myself I could lift a little less weight and do less reps. Once I get to the gym, I’d go easy at first and see how it goes. More often than not, I’d be able to shake myself out of the funk and work out like normal. Even if I don’t work out hard, it is still a lot better than not showing up. Yes, sometime I just do a few sets and then kick back on the cardio machines. That is still a lot better than missing a day.

On Friday, I had to rush through my workout, but I’m still really glad I went. I would have regret it much more if I didn’t go.

Get active even if you don’t want to

Okay, that’s my top 3 strategies for getting myself to the gym on those days I really don’t want to go. The most important one is to get into the habit. If you haven’t been able to keep your fitness resolutions, then you need to schedule it into your workweek. Exercise 5 times per week for 2 months and you’ll be able to stick with it the rest of the year.

How do you motivate yourself to get to the gym when you don’t want to?

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