Convenience will dictate best option

For those living in the countryside, scarcity may dictate the best gym choice. For those of us living that city life, you may be in the position where you need to make a choice. This is the logic that my girlfriend and my decision – you may find it informs yours too. This is with the understanding that one of you likes going to the gym, while the other is a little bit reluctant.

Paramount is convenience above equipment or space or peak time demand. This is under the pretext you or your partner are finding it difficult to leave the comforts of home, especially during the week and after work. When short of motivation, a close, convenient trip to the gym will increase the chances of attendance and reduce the excuses. 

If it isn’t far, you can be there and back within an hour and that reduces the intimidation of the whole event. The greatest part of the battle is getting started to begin with, getting dressed and getting out the door. In building regular attendance or in the early stages of regular attendance it’s actually ok to arrive and go through the motions as long as you’ve successfully turned up. Turning up is more than half the battle. Compare this to the alternative; you can’t even pretend to go through the motions, or build up to real exertions, if you’ve stayed on the bed all evening playing on your phone or laptop.

What do we do when we still aren’t making it for our target sessions per week? This is a difficulty I’m still having as our target is four sessions a week and we’re probably only making it to 3 or less. I would fall back on the knowledge that three sessions, while below target, is a vast improvement over zero. One session is a huge improvement over zero. Be patient, keep pushing for exercise sessions and lead by example. If your efforts to go together aren’t working, go alone and enjoy yourself, just make sure you are back quickly to avoid creating the impression that it is a major, time consuming event.

One pushup, one squat or one sit up per day is a huge improvement over a sedentary lifestyle and that improvement is purely mental.

You can always apply a little carrot and stick methodology to the motivation problem. For us, buying summer watermelon on the walk home is the carrot that works well. I don’t currently have a stick except to nag a little. Results will yield higher quality intrinsic motivation to exercise.

There is also the option to stay home and follow a video or create some other home workout. This can be a good solution as long as you stay focused and within the time limit. Eventually you may find that there is no substitute for the equipment and space at the gym. If home workouts are your cup of tea, do you need a gym membership at all? It’s certainly worth experimenting. You can have some basic equipment at home to help you.

For us, the gym helps frame us in the exercising mood and the equipment offers enough challenge and variation to make it worthwhile. People often split gym workouts into two simplified groups – cardio and weights. For a beginner coming from a sedentary lifestyle, the cardio equipment will offer up enough resistance and variation to fulfill both strength and endurance goals initially.

That’s why the convenient option will raise your weekly attendance and help you build habits. What is the alternative? A quality gym that is too difficult to attend? A cheaper gym that you never use each month? Value for money can’t be underestimated and having a gym that is usable will make it easier to get the hours in.