Using routine to find motivation at the gym

I get asked quite a bit about what people should do in the gym, how they should structure their diet, how often they can have cheat days etc. I am more than happy to help people plan out what they need to do in the gym and what to eat as far as diet. If you are just starting out then there is some basic advice you have probably read over and over. I will make a post about what to do later. Right now, I want to focus on what to do BEFORE you start dieting and exercising. Over the years I have seen people succeed and fail various parts of their fitness plan. The ones that succeed seem to have one thing in common, they plan a routine before they start. It may sound rudimentary and boring, but I believe it is the one part of a fitness plan that is not emphasized enough. I hear people say "just go and do it" all the time, but I find that works for very few people.


Before you start, this is what I want you to do.

1. Write down your goal.


2. Now write down a much smaller, easily achievable goal, this will be your first step. This will change once you achieve it.


3. Plan your meals. Whatever diet you decide to do, plan it out. It can be very specific each day, or a general idea for the week.


4. Schedule your gym or exercise time. Don't just say you are going to go, make an appointment with yourself and keep it, even if you are a little late, keep it.


5. Get a partner. We tend to keep appointments with other people, and a partner will help you push that little extra to get you results.


6. STICK WITH IT FOR 2 WEEKS! From what I have seen, this is the point when forcing it starts becoming routine. After 2 weeks people have a much easier time making the time.


7. Motivate yourself, and if you have a partner, motivate them. Talk about your goals to yourself in the mirror reaffirm that you can do it. If you have a partner talk about it with them, motivate each other.


8. Don't quit! I know this should go without saying, but once you make the commitment to yourself, keep it. Once you start you will see it was much harder to think about doing it, then just getting up and doing it.


Just saying "I need to go to the gym" or "I am going to start working out" isn't enough. In fact, from what I have seen, this is where most people start to fail, and they haven't actually done anything yet. So sit down with yourself and write down what you want to achieve and write down a plan to achieve it. Whether it is Insanity, HIT training, Cardio or just planning out your sets and reps, write down what you want to do and schedule it in your day. Do this before you start doing anything and then stick to it once you start. As you get more educated about what you want and what works for you, you can change things up. But getting started and actually plan that you will do something every day is the first step.


Even if you are just walking 15 minutes during the day window shopping at the mall, or walking the dog around the block is good. You do not have to jump into a full heavy routine that will probably make you quit anyway. You also don't have to go onto a strict diet right away either. Plan to stop drinking soda every meal or eat a salad for dinner, or any small change to reduce your caloric intake is good. Just plan it, then start it. As you get farther along modify your plan and stretch your goal a little. I promise you, once you make it part of your routine, it will be much easier to stick to. Once you plan it out, it will be much easier to make part of your routine.


What are you waiting for? Grab a pad and pencil and get started!