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Staying Dedicated (ft. Coach Mike)

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Staying Dedicated at the Gym

It’s no secret that for most people, buying a gym membership is likely to be a short-term investment. It’s why “globo” gyms will either lock you in to long-term contracts or charge you such a minimal fee they hope you won’t notice it dinging your checking account every month. They know that while almost every one of their members that signs up has the best intentions to stay, most will end up cancelling or stop using their membership within the first few months. According to an article by some website called Credit Donkey (so it obviously must be true), up to 80 percent of people cancel or stop using their memberships within the first five months.

In order to keep you from becoming just another statistic, I’ve come up with some solutions to help combat three of the bigger factors in gym membership cancellation (or at least the three I personally struggle with most often).

  1. Life Gets in the Way

As most of you know, or will soon find out, it’s hard to cram everything you want to do on a daily basis into the measly 24 hours we are given each day. Between work, errands, chores and every other “adulting” activity, we are left with precious few minutes to do the things we want or enjoy. Usually when this happens, things get chopped, and all too often, the gym (or rather, the dedication to a healthier lifestyle) is the first to go.

Fighting this is certainly easier said than done, but it is definitely possible. The first step is to decide how often you want to go. If you have a calendar or schedule you use, mark those days. If you start considering your gym visits as non-optional like you consider work, you can begin to plan out the rest of your week and all that you need to get done. This will not only help you balance your time better, but get you into a rhythm, which will help establish the habit.

  1. My (blank) Hurts and the WOD Will Only Make it Worse

This is one I’m personally guilty of more frequently than I’d like to admit, but I know I’m not the only one. Whether it’s tightness in my low back, a bum shoulder, sore wrists, etc., I’ve looked at a WOD way too many times and thought, “This will just make it worse, it would probably be best for me to skip it.” But what I really should have been thinking was, “the WOD as written may aggravate my (blank), but how could I modify this to make it work without causing further damage?” Even if you can’t personally figure it out, talk to a coach; that’s what we’re here for.

(Side note: If you are really, truly injured, you should seek medical advice on how to precede with your fitness goals. It’s always better to take a few weeks off to recover than going too hard and having to be out for months or longer. Also, this isn’t advocating a seven day a week routine, everybody needs their rest. But if you usually go four times a week and you’re finding excuses to only go twice, you may want to take this into consideration.)

  1. Ego/Competitiveness Gets in the Way

This may sound like it’s a guy-centric problem, but it happens to both sexes. All too often people will quit their fitness routine (CrossFit or otherwise) because they are either not seeing the results/performance they wanted, are getting “beat” by people they think they should be beating, or it just becomes too challenging for them. They get frustrated to the point they forget why they are at the gym in the first place (to become a healthier, better person) and eventually give up.

I can personally attest to this; it’s not easy. After taking my hiatus for studying, I was (foolishly) optimistic that I would be able to just step back in and pick up where I left off. Instead, it’s been filled with frustration with myself and how I’m doing. Each time I have to remind myself that every day in the gym is progress and that it won’t come in a day. Hell, it may never come. Each day I’m getting older, slower (and grayer and balder), my metabolism is slowing down and my body aches more. It sucks. But it’s something I – and all of us – will have to deal with.

The best way I’ve found to deal with this is to check my ego at the door and eliminate any expectations. I don’t go in anymore with the expectation to be atop of the white board or set PRs, but to put in work and become just a little bit better each day. I still get frustrated when I get laps run around me, but at least I can take solace in knowing that I put in the work and left the gym being just a smidgen better than I was when I entered.