So you’ve made the decision to join a gym and make that important life change. That’s great! Getting a gym membership is a big step in the right direction when it comes to personal health and fitness. It gives you a dedicated, distraction-free space to get your workout in, is an awesome way to meet new people, and get in shape all at the same time.
The road to health isn’t always a straight line. It’s a journey that sometimes takes perseverance and devotion. One of the most difficult parts about making a change for your health is staying accountable. But fear not! As fitness professionals, we know all the tips and tricks to help keep you on track.
Set Realistic Goals
Once you’ve joined a gym, the first step is to evaluate your goals. We all want to lose weight and get in shape quickly, but the speed at which progress comes fluctuates. Just as with any other task, you’ll have good weeks and bad weeks. That’s why it’s important to set realistic goals. You may want to lose 5 lbs a week, but 1.5 might be more achievable. Some gyms, like ATC Fitness, will have staff on hand to help you work out a plan that’s right for you, and can even point you in the right direction on how to begin.
Workout With Friends
Exercising with a buddy is one of the most effective ways to stay accountable at the gym. Making a pact with a friend to workout gives you an incentive to show up and sweat, even when you don’t want to. Staying dedicated takes effort, and if you have trouble promising yourself that you’ll get up and get going, then having a friend to cheer you on as you work together to be healthier is a great tactic. You both get the benefits of a gym, social interaction, and positive reinforcement. The only thing better than working out with one friend is working out with a group of them! When it comes to fitness, the more the merrier. A solid support network will have you well on your way to achieving your goals.
We recognize that COVID-19 protocols and concerns can limit the number of people you work out with in person. That’s okay! If you prefer to work out together, ATC Fitness is equipped to provide you a great workout space, socially distanced and safe. If you have to work out at different times, you can still hold each other accountable. Communicate with your accountability partners through texts and messaging and keep pushing each other.
Plan Your Meals
More often than not, this is where we see people stumble most often. It’s easy to come to the gym, workout for an hour, and then feel like you deserve that cheeseburger you’ve been fantasizing about all day. Depending on how hard you’ve been working out, you might (but probably shouldn’t). One of the keys to successful weight loss is staying in a calorie deficit. That means that you’ve consumed only as many calories or less than you need.
This is where meal planning comes in. If you know you have a tough time eating a healthy breakfast when you wake up in the morning or know that you’re usually too tired to cook after your evening workout, plan ahead! Keeping a journal or even a spreadsheet of what you’re going to eat at what time is a time tested technique that works. You can even take it a step further and prepare your meals in bulk ahead of time so that your food is ready to go when you are.
Join a Fitness Program
Sometimes you need advice, and joining a fitness program is a great way to get guidance while you’re at the gym. Just like bringing a friend, signing up for a long term fitness program is likely to keep you coming back.
At ATC Fitness, we offer our Smart Start program free of charge. Our staff helps you customize your workout, no matter your level of fitness. We begin by helping you evaluate your goals. Then, we walk you through a workout routine that suits your needs. We’ll show you how to use the equipment and give you an explanation of how and why each machine works for your goals. After 15 visits, we sit down with you and check on your progress. If something isn’t really doing the trick, then we make adjustments to help you be successful.
For many people, this is a starting point. Smart devices have so many useful apps that can help you track your progress. Keep up with your calories, steps, and hit goals. Many of these apps even have ways to keep up with your meals, and can offer suggestions on what to cook for every meal! The Apple Watch and FitBit are also fantastic tools to help you track your vitals and let you know when you’ve hit a goal.
Take Lots of Photos
There’s no feeling quite as wonderful as looking in the mirror and seeing your gains live and in person. However, sometimes you might not feel like you’ve made any progress at all. That’s where pictures come in. Take a picture of yourself at the beginning of your journey, and snap one each week. This way you can see appreciable progress from where you began. As we mentioned, you’re going to have good and bad days. Sometimes all it takes to get motivated is to see how far you’ve come.
Share Your Progress
While you’re at it, you may as well share those pictures and milestones with your friends and family on social media. Showing others your progress is a wonderful way to get a boost of confidence. No one is going to shame you for working hard, so drop that selfie! In fact, you never know; your fitness journey may be inspiring others to make a change for the better in their own lives.
When you reach one of your milestones, treat yourself. Giving yourself a reward for a job well done is a totally acceptable form of self-care. We’re not saying you should go out and buy a car or anything. But if you’ve had your eye on a piece of clothing, or have a fun activity in mind, take the steps to make that happen!
Keep Your Eyes On the Prize
Ultimately, your fitness journey is never really complete. Even when you meet your goal, it’s important to continue to make exercise and good habits part of your life. Sometimes it can be hard to see the forest for the trees, but it helps if you can visualize your goal. If you want to look great on the beach next summer, remember that when you’re tempted to skip leg day. If you want to impress your doctor with your increased fitness, imagine that praise. Success looks different for everyone!
ATC Fitness Is Here to Help
Are you ready to get started? We are! ATC Fitness is your home for health, exercise, and a quality gym experience. Check out our membership options and get ready to enjoy benefits like tanning beds and hydromassage on your road to wellness!