Optimum Nutrition ambassador and busy dad Shaun Stafford tries his best to find the time to workout. Signing up to a gym and making the commitment to get fit is no mean feat in itself, so making sure you are putting your time and money to good use needs to be your top priority. Here are some easy tips from Stafford on making sure that you get the most “bang” for your buck when it comes to buying a gym membership!
1. Have a PLAN
There is an old adage that “Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail”, and this is nowhere more relevant than when hitting the gym. In order for you to workout with any form of intensity, you need a plan to follow so that you aren’t aimlessly meandering from one piece of equipment to the next! Make sure you have your key exercises selected and that you know how many reps and sets you have for each! Also make sure you know what your rest periods are: keeping these tight will keep momentum in your session and allow you to get through a surprising amount of work in double quick time.
One of the best things about following a program is that you can also see your progress over time. Whether it is the weight you’re lifting going up, the number of reps increasing or your time to complete a set distance on the treadmill going down, all these things show progress. There is nothing more motivating than seeing things moving in the right direction and this will make you way more productive both inside and outside the gym.
2. Convenience is King
When selecting your gym make sure it is close to where you live or where you work: if you want to make hitting the gym a sustainable, long-term habit, it needs to be easily slotted into your daily life. Having a gym that is more than 20mins away from either your desk or your couch means that when push comes to shove, skipping a workout might become too easy. Motivating yourself for a great workout can be hard enough, let alone motivating yourself for a long schlep to even make it in the door: pick a location that is close and easy to use and you’ll most likely use it a lot more!
3. Mix It Up
Adding variation to your workout and keeping things fresh is a key factor in keeping you interested in your training. Sometimes you don’t want to have to think about your training, you just want to train! If this is the case then doing a class is the perfect solution! Most gyms have a huge selection of classes: everything from HIIT to Yoga, Spin and Kettle-bells.
If you just want to turn up and turn on, jumping in on a class can be the perfect way to get your workout in for the day. The high-energy in a class can add a new dimension to your session and might just be the mix up you need to come back to your program even more motivated the next time you are in the gym!
4. Hire In the Help
Nothing is better than getting somewhere quicker than you thought you were going to! This is doubly true when it comes to your own training results! Hiring help in the form of a certified PT might just be the kicker you need to get fast tracked to some amazing results: it is not that you are doing things wrong, there might just be a more optimal way of getting there.
It might be a slight tweak in your program, it might be an adjustment in your form or an overhaul of your nutrition. The added expertise might take you to the next level! Most gyms offer a free trial with a trainer so why not take advantage of this? Ask them how they think they can help you, and ask to try before you buy! If they do their job and add serious value to your workout, hiring them could be one of the best investments you ever make!
5. Get Involved!
Now this may sound cheesy, but getting involved in your gym community can reap massive rewards! Enter competitions that the gym put on: you’d be surprised how few people enter these and therefore how high your chances are of winning if you do! Being a proactive member of the community is fun too! We all love walking into a bar and the barman automatically knowing your favourite tipple or the barista in the local coffee house having your order ready before you walk in! You can get the same treatment in your local gym: be friendly to the staff and other members and you’ll get help with your lifts when you need it, your post workout shake might be ready and waiting after your shower, or your favourite bike in the spin class might get reserved for you by the diligent instructor!
If the gym feels like a home away from home, you will no doubt use it more and enjoy the process too: if you enjoy your time in the gym, you are guaranteed to get the most out of not only your training but your gym membership as well! Don’t forget to fuel your gym workouts with Optimum Nutrition Pre Workout and recover with Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey or Gold Standard Plant.