The hardest part of going to the gym is actually getting there.
Sure, the whole sweating-through-your-clothes thing presents its own set of challenges, but once you're on the premises, you might as well. The trick is getting yourself onto those premises.
As a compromise between the miserable outdoor running and living-room floor pushups and wonderful-but-unrealistic $36 boutique workout classes, I belong to an awesome Manhattan gym chain, which includes an appealing variety of classes. It costs me $90 a month. So I have to go.
I've found two phrases to be invaluable when it comes to hitting the gym instead of sloping off to the couch after work. Lately, I've begun telling myself:
1. 'There's always a reason not to go'
I once wrote about how "there's always something" in reference to planning out your spending and your budget. It's the same for the gym. I'm not sure there has ever been a night where I couldn't think of multiple reasons not to go.
For instance, here's a list of reasons I considered not going to the gym in the last week:
- I'm tired.
- My calves are sore from a new class I tried.
- I don't have the shorts I prefer to wear for spin class.
- I got stuck at work and won't be able to make my preferred Tuesday night class.
- It's dark.
- It's raining.
- I forgot my headphones.
- I'm going to miss the express train home.
- I'm coming down with the cold that's been going around the office.
- I need to pack for a weekend trip.
- My gym buddies all bailed on me.
Just because you have a reason doesn't make it a good one. Go anyway. If my reason is (well, seems) really persuasive, I reassure myself ...
2. 'You can decide whether you want to go afterward'
This tactic has worked brilliantly.
Instead of spending the day fighting myself over whether I "feel like" or "want to" go to the gym, I postpone the internal debate until after my workout.
That way, I can have a nice, indulgent mental back-and-forth and bask in indignation and reluctance for as long as I want — on the train home, having already done my workout.
I've never been sorry.