Disqus for Where Are My Knees

Motivation - How to get from couch to gym.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

We're now into the second week of Where Are My Knees? and I've surprised myself so far by how much motivation I've got when it comes to going to the gym. I'm one of those people who usually makes all these crazy rules and excuses up in my mind such as it's not possible to go to the gym after 11am (even if I am doing nothing else all day) and telling myself that I really do need to spend the best part of the afternoon arranging all my nail polishes by colour more than I need to get on the treadmill, so it's a miracle that I'm actually really enjoying the gym and sticking to my exercise goals so far.

Gym machines

Here are some tips that I've found really help me to get my butt off the couch and go do some exercise:

1. Find a time that slots into your routine on a regular basis. For me, I find that the mornings really do work best as I can lay out my gym clothes the night before and they're the first thing I see when I get out of bed. Previously I found that when I was driving home from Liam's house in the morning I would drive past the gym anyway - so why not take my gym clothes and stop in en route?

2. Go to the gym looking like a slob. Yes, really. I never ever leave the house without make up on - except to go to the gym. If you go with messy bed-head hair, no make up on and generally feeling like you look awful then I find I'm more likely to work hard at my work out because I'm looking forward to getting home, washing and doing my make up. Also: don't let feeling like you look awful put you off - have you ever looked at someone in the gym and thought "god they look terrible?" Nope. I usually find myself thinking more along the lines of "wow look at how hard they're working out - brilliant!" but most of the time I'm too busy to even notice anyone else.

3. Set goals and plan out your workout session before going. A lot of gyms offer personal programmes, but as far as I know mine doesn't. I've made myself a plan that I follow each time, mixing cardio with weights. My plan lasts an hour and it stops me from deciding after 20 minutes that I'm finished for the day because I'm feeling lazy. It's a nice thought that you've done W, X and Y and all that's left is Z and then you can go home. I also use the notes app on my ipod to track my progress and it's always a good feeling to see that you've improved.

source: we heart it

I find that some days I do get bored or that I'm not really feeling up to exercising once I'm at the gym. Sometimes I'm just too tired and sometimes I feel a bit out of place amongst the bodybuilders and athletes that seem to spend their lives in the gym. However, I have discovered some things that get me through my work out on those days.

1. Plan something rewarding for when you're finished. Whether it's asking your flatmate or a loved one to run you a nice hot bath with your favourite bubbles to be waiting for you to get home, catching up with your favourite TV show or taking yourself shopping, it always helps to know that once you're finished working your ass off there's a reward waiting for you.

2. Use the time to really think about things. I find myself drifting off into my own thoughts all the time, un-tangling situations that have been getting to me, thinking of new blog posts and the best one - getting really really angry at someone/something that has been bothering me and letting all my rage out. It really does help pass the time!

3. Take your iPod! I have no idea what I'd do without mine. Listening to your favourite music really does make time go faster. If I put on a good album I can just zone out and before you know it you've reached the end of the album and that's an easy 30 minutes gone. Just make sure you don't get too engrossed and start singing or dancing. ;) I've not tried it myself but audiobooks might also be good for passing the time.

A healthy lifestyle with a clean, healthy diet helps to improve and maintain your Body Mass Index (BMI). You can calculate your body mass index using this nifty calculator found on the official BMI Private Hospitals in London site.

Hopefully this will help anyone who needs a little push to get themselves to the gym. Honestly, the feeling you get after exercising makes all that effort worth it. Please feel free to comment with what works for you too, I'd love some more ideas for any days where I'm struggling.


  1. The problem I have with the gym is fear of other people there! I always get the feeling everyone else would be really fit and healthy and then there would just be me chugging along on the treadmill, ahaha.
    Loved this post! :)

  2. Aah this is fantastic! I'm in such an unmotivated mood for everything at the moment- the last time i went to the gym was during the christmas hols, and i felt so much better for it. I think I might give it a visit/go for a run in the morning...and i'll be laying out my clothes tonight as part of the persuasion! x

  3. Such a great post! I've been working out since January (well, working out regularly since last month haha) and it was really hard at first! But now, I go 5-6 days a week and I just feel off when I don't.
    I was lucky enough to join a women's only gym and it really helped me. It's so clean and spa-like, it really made me want to go more because I enjoy the environment.
    I'm kind of the opposite of you, I find that putting a little more effort into my look motivates me to go the gym more. I bought some cute work out clothes and stuff and it helped motivate me a little more :)

  4. Great post :)
    I really need to go an arm strap for my ipod so that I can take mine with me, I think I will be much happier there in my own little zone with my own music
    At the moment I'm like a talking book of gym excuses!

  5. Alex - I get that too and some days it really puts me off but I just tend to get so absorbed in my music and exercise that I don't really pay attention to others. Even if your gym is full of fitness freaks (which I'm sure it isn't) everyone has to start somewhere, right? :) x

    Ellieand - I love the feeling you get from going to the gym, it's brilliant. It's just getting up and going that I find/found tough. Enjoy your work out in the morning! x

    Prettyinthedesert - Wow, that's amazing! 5-6 days a week is such an achievement. I'm hoping I get to that stage where I feel bad if I don't exercise. My gym isn't that nice but it's 5 minutes from my house and it's always empty. x

    Stundon - I know the feeling of being a talking book of gym excuses - some of mine were ridiculous! You could even put your ipod in the pocket of your joggers if you wear them, that's what I do :) x

  6. This is such a great post - it took me ages to finally rid myself of the idea that those svelte, non-sweaty people in the gym were somehow better than me, and were staring at my sweaty, pink visage with horror. Then I realise, as I got better at my workouts, that they were just a bit further on in the gym journey than me... x

  7. I really couldn't cope at the gym without my iPod! It is my worst nightmare that my battery runs out or something. I try to increase the resistance or time on machines so i gradually improve my fitness and tone up. I haven't been to the gym since saturday because I'm not well and I'm really missing it!

  8. THANK YOU for your motivation tips. I kind of hate my gym at the moment as it is just so busy inthe evenings that there isnt' a free machine, and you have to wait for ages, so I am trying to use my evenings for running, and the weekends and maybe mornings for the gym before the office. I find that if i plan togo in the evening i have to go straight from work, as if i get home first i then can't be botehred to go out again.

  9. great tips! motivation is always needed. i really love #2. i also go with messy hair and only a bit of moisturizer on my face. hah. & i can't workout with an audiobook, mainly because i might gasp or laugh out loud and scare people.

  10. Great post! I am going to the gym for the first time EVER tomorrow. Scared but excited!

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