As 2011 was year four of my gym challenge (in which I aim to go to the gym 150 times a year AKA 3ish times a week), it marked my 600th gym trip.
But hey, who's counting? I certainly frickin' am.
So pulling together what I've learned, for anyone who's joining a gym and is aiming for the '3 times a week' schtick to stick, here's what I've learned:
- Join the gym that's closest to you
That's the one you'll go to. The slightly crappy gym you pass on the way home from work always trumps the one with better facilities that's a 10 minute drive in the opposite direction. The easier your gym is to get to, the more likely you are to go to it.
- Spend the first month trying out all the classes
Even the ones that sound a bit rubbish that you don't think you'll like or sound too hard. Do them all at least once. Do the ones you like twice. Don't worry about being the worst in the class - every class will have beginners in it, no matter what the time of year. And none of the regulars are judging you, unless you're wearing really bad harem pants, in which case you brought it on yourself.
- Go 4 times a week
Look, I didn't promise it was easy. There will be months when you'll be away, busy or simply can't be arsed. So to make your over all average 3 times a week, you need to aim for more than that as often as possible. From last year's stats, I had 4 months with less than 12 gym visits, 3 of 12 exactly (4 weeks, 3 times each) and 5 months where I went more than 12 times. It all evens out in the end.
- Write it down
Keep a diary where you note down all the exercise you're doing, and review it regularly.
Otherwise I can guarantee you'll be kidding yourself about how much you do, and telling yourself you go around 3 times a week, when you only really went twice last month.
- Accept that you will never get fit
Fit isn't something you 'get' and then stop and feel pleased with yourself when you've got it. It's a journey, not a destination. A lifelong journey at that. If deep down you hate your gym time and can't face doing it for the rest of your life, find another fitness journey to travel on. If you're doing it right, it should be enjoyable, not a chore. Otherwise, what's the point?