Many of us have these great expectations of getting in shape just in time for the warmer weather. Who wouldn’t want to look great in her new bathing suit? As a result, thousands of people join the gym for a “New Year’s resolution.” But by mid-February, the flocks of people who were hoarding the machines vanish. What are the reasons for abandoning the gym, and how can we do a better job staying on track with our goals? Here are some reasons we quit the gym.
Time constraints. The thought of waking up early to exercise before work can seem rather daunting. Because really, who doesn’t love that extra hour of sleep? However, even after a long day at work, hitting the gym still doesn’t seem too appealing. With a million other things to check off our to-do lists, the gym can easily be pushed aside and turn into an aspiration of tomorrow. Instead we figure out what to make for dinner or what to grab at the store on our way home.
Expenses. Things cost money, plain and simple. Many people don’t want to pay for a gym membership if they’re not going that often. It could be too expensive to join, or maybe they feel as if they’re draining money by not going. Regardless, money is probably one of the most relevant reasons people quit the gym.
Prolonged results. Sometimes when we don’t see results right away, we begin to lose motivation and purpose. Humans tend to want immediate gratification, and it can be irritating when we don’t see it in one of those many mirrors on the wall. (It’s important to note that we are still doing our bodies a tremendous favor by exercising.)
Related: How To Maintain Long-Term Fitness
The commute and atmosphere. Some facilities aren’t the most desirable. There may be only a few machines that the same sweaty person constantly takes up. Or perhaps the commute is too far from home. The thought of driving to the gym and back seems daunting in our busy lives and is easy to skip after awhile. This can leave us with no other choice but staying put where we are.
Despite these causes for abandonment, president and co-founder of MYZONE Emmett Williams explains that it’s important to look at the “value versus the cost” of going to the gym. Williams says that a key aspect to have is motivation.
“It’s about reward,” he says, adding that we need “instant rewards for a behavior to be encouraged.”
Going to the gym is like creating a habit; once we see the results we want to, it becomes empowering, and the habit becomes easier. Instant reward feels good, and we want more. Williams believes that much of our abandonment comes from the lack of result that we see. Our mentality is that if it’s not quick enough, then it won’t work.
However, there are some easy ways we can maintain a gym streak before the results become apparent enough for us:
1) Create a goal, such as a 5K or a half marathon. Give yourself a regimented training schedule that will allow you to achieve that goal.
2) Williams believes that being aware of what lies behind “the intrinsic motivation” stems from the knowledge of what we are doing. It’s important to continually remind ourselves of why we’re doing this. Focus on the long-term health benefits!
3) Although we may have our own individual goals, getting friends or colleagues to exercise with you makes the job a lot easier. If you’re slacking on self-motivation, perhaps someone else will help to reinforce your decision.